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The Merchant of Dreams: Night's Masque, Volume 2 Mass Market Paperback – December 18, 2012


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The Merchant of Dreams: Night's Masque, Volume 2 + The Prince of Lies: Night's Masque, Volume 3 + The Alchemist of Souls: Night's Masque, Volume 1
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Whether you like action, magic, romance or mystery there is something for you here. I never had a reason to put the book down. I am very eager to read the third book in the series."
- Mazarkis Williams, author of the Tower & Knife series

 “There’s a lot of intrigue and a great sense of adventure in this sequel to The Alchemist of Souls."
-SciFi Fan Letter

“This may be one of the best historical fiction/fantasy novels of 2012. 5/5"
-The Founding Fields

“…a historical fantasy that is as light-hearted and entertaining as it is deep."
-Elloise Hopkins

“Gorgeous prose, stunning ability to weave a story, and likeable, moreish characters—Lyle is a winner. 5/5″
-Leo Cristea

Author is nominee for the Sydney J. Bounds Award for Best Newcomer 

About the Author

Anne Lyle is a website developer and debut author from Nottinghamshire, England. She has an active website, attends UK conventions and is a dedicated Twitter user. The author lives in Cambridge, UK. The author lives in Cambridge, UK.
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Product Details

  • Series: Night's Masque (Book 2)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Angry Robot (December 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780857662781
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857662781
  • ASIN: 0857662783
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.4 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #855,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anne Lyle was born in what is popularly known as "Robin Hood Country", and grew up fascinated by English history, folklore, and swashbuckling heroes. Unfortunately there was little demand in 1970s Nottinghamshire for diminutive swordswomen, so she studied sensible subjects like science and languages instead.

It appears, however, that although you can take the girl out of Sherwood Forest, you can't take Sherwood Forest out of the girl. She now spends practically every waking hour writing - or at least planning - fantasy fiction about dashing swordsmen and scheming spies, set in imaginary pasts or parallel worlds.

Her particular obsession is Elizabethan England, so it helps that she now lives in a city full of medieval and Tudor buildings where the cattle browse on the common land much as they did in Shakespeare's London. She prides herself on being able to ride a horse, sew a sampler and cut a quill pen but hasn't the least idea how to drive one of those new-fangled automobile thingies.

Paradoxically she is a big fan of 21st century technology, being a Mac geek and full-time web developer. Well, it's the nearest thing you can get to magic in our own universe...

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
5 star
31%
4 star
44%
3 star
25%
2 star
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See all 16 customer reviews
I look forward to the next book.
herbalist
Inclusive of all types and kinds of heros, even the unexpected.
Wayne Parton
Very intriguing and unique magic.
Cheryl Detmer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Anne Burner on December 24, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Merchant of Dreams starts out with a scene that could have come from one of the best thriller movies - all haunting atmosphere and trepidation - and digs its hooks in deep. Set a year or two after the events of The Alchemist of Souls, this second book in the Night's Masque series is a worthy successor to it. At over 500 pages, I still managed to finish the book roughly three days after I started it.

Court intrigue and battles abound as Mal Catlyn and his page - the cross-dressing (by necessity) Coby come upon a chance rumor that the Skraylings from the new world are interested in an alliance with the Venetian Republic. Sent there by the dying Sir Francis Walsingham, Mal takes ship with Ned Faulkner on The Falcon, captained by no less a seafarer than Sir Walter Raleigh himself.

Mal's twin Sandy becomes a real character in this book, with Erishen taking the lead in injecting a personality into the man he possesses. Nearly as forceful as Mal, Sandy leads Coby astray from her orders to watch out for him and through a series of misadventures they - with the actor Gabriel Parrish - make their own way to Venice to meet up with Mal and Ned.

Venice, with its canals and twisted streets, is as convoluted as the English Court, and more surprises abound, not the least coming from the Skraylings themselves. Mal learns how to do some of the things that his brother, having more of the soul of Erishen than he, can do from a hidden Guiser. This training leads both to disaster and deliverance for Mal and his friends.

Anne Lyle neatly ties up a few open threads from the first book, and the ending was perfect. I suspect many fans of the Night's Masque series will cheer at the resolution, and I particularly enjoyed the reminding touch of Coby's dab hand with mechanicals. It also sets up the concluding volume of the series, which I, for one, am looking forward to.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By rann on May 7, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed The Merchant of Dreams for it's alternate historical Venice setting. It is beautifully portrayed and provides an interesting backdrop to this tale. The political intrigue and constant action keeps the story going.

However, I didn't think it quite measured up to the level of The Alchemist of Souls. My biggest disappointment was the treatment of the Skralings. The Skaylings' role in the sequel seemed somehow less than it did in the first book. I was looking forward to learning much more about them. They are a fascinating species that draws me to this series.

The best part of this series is the characters. I am enjoying following Mal, Coby, Ned and Gabriel and their escapades and personal relationships. They are human (mostly), fallible, heroic and likable. If I read book three, it will be because I want to find out what happens to them in this fascinating world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Calevey on April 28, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Will I be rushing back to my shelf to read this again? Not necessarily, but Lyle's alternative view of Elizabethan Europe, the intriguing storyline, and memorable characters make it a great weekend read. It is definitely requirement to have read the first book of the Night's Masque trilogy in order to understand the backstory of the characters, and there are occasional points where the details became a bit confusing. Still, a great book overall and I'm looking forward to the next installment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Hatbox Dragon on November 3, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In this second volume of the Night's Masque series, Mal Catlyn is sent to Venice by Sir Francis Walsingham to learn whether the skraylings, a race of non-humans from the New World, are about to make a trade deal with the Republic of Venice. The skraylings are one of England's few allies in the deadly political environment of 16th-century Europe, and the truth of their dealings could prove to be of vital importance to England's future ...

... And that's about the last you'll hear about any of that, because it's just a device to get Mal and his friend Ned to Venice. Just as the highly contrived plotline concerning Mal's brother, a stolen book and a vengeful sea captain is a device to deliver the other main characters - Sandy/Erishen, Coby and Gabriel - to Venice, once sufficient time has passed for Mal to make an unwise connection with a lady of the night, with romantic angst and a new story angle to follow.

This book has travel, intrigue, fights, romance and derring-do in an unusual setting, plus some inventive uses of magic. It's okay for a lazy weekend read, and I was motivated to stick with it to the end, but I was hoping for more. It seems misnamed, as the actual Merchant of Dreams doesn't play much of a role, and while the setting was interesting, the factors that bothered me with The Alchemist of Souls: Night's Masque, Volume 1 featured here as well, magnified by the broader scope of the plot.

I would usually commend an author for keeping their work relatively short (474 pages is getting off pretty lightly in fantasy these days), but in this book the elaboration is in all the wrong places.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By W.M.M. van der Salm-Pallada on December 29, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Merchant of Dreams is the second book of The Night's Masque. Lyle's debut The Alchemist of Souls is one of my top ten debuts of 2012, so I was very excited to be able to crack open or rather tap open my eARC of The Merchant of Dreams to return to her alternate Tudor England and see how the story would continue. In The Merchant of Dreams Lyle deepens her world, allows us to travel to foreign parts, and develops her characters further in unexpected but wonderful ways.

We rejoin Mal and Coby as they travel by ship to Corsica to find a ship-wrecked skrayling vessel that has been haunting Mal's dreams and to rescue its crew. From this point in the Mediterranean we travel back to London, to Skrayling-held Sark, and to Venice and follow on several sea voyages. So Lyle very much broadens the stage on which her story unfolds. The one thing that confused me was the deeding of Sark to the Skraylings as that was something that must have happened between the first book and this one, but to me it came rather out of the blue. However, it is a rather clever substitution of the historical Seigneur who was given the island in fief at much the same conditions as the Skraylings were, that also gave them somewhat of a power base in the regions, which could have interesting consequences in the rest of the series.

This novel's greatest draw for me location-wise was Venice. I always love novels set there, or in cities inspired by Venice, and Lyle does the city justice. She evokes a glittering city, which on closer inspection turns out to be rather tawdry and worn.
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