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The Shadow of Albion (Carolus Rex, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – February 15, 2000


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Norton (Scent of Magic) and Edghill's (Book of Moons) collaboration shows how British history might have developed had the heirless Charles II been succeeded by his eldest bastard, the Duke of Monmouth, instead of by his unpopular brother James. Three generations after the change, in the early 19th century, the French have had their revolution, but America remains a colony (governed by Lord Protector Thomas Jefferson). Magic and faerie exist, but are even more covert than the numerous political factions and plots that enliven this action-packed novel. The story starts when the dying Marchioness of Roxbury gives her body to the consciousness of an alternate self: Sarah Cunningham, a poor orphan. Sarah must fulfill the marchioness's neglected promises: to protect King Henry IX's throne from the machinations of the spurned James's descendants and the designs of Napoleon, while helping the magical Old People of her estate fight off a Terror-beast that wants them destroyed. Sarah humorously adjusts to her new identity, encounters her dashing but (apparently) cold husband by an arranged marriage and ultimately proves her bravery. The archaic language might test some readers ("a slightly old-fashioned dress of sprig muslin" with "a ruffled lawn fichu") but the ton atmosphere and arch manners are richly described. Fans of the period and certainly of historical fantasy will be pleased by the amusing characters and elaborately plotted intrigue.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

A magical summons draws a destitute Sarah Cunningham from her own world into an alternate Earth where she becomes Lady Sarah, Marchioness of Roxbury, and finds herself caught in the midst of a deadly web of intrigue and unexpected romance. Coauthors Norton and Edghill combine their considerable expertise and skill to create a light-hearted excursion into romantic fantasy, featuring a heroine determined to transform herself from unwitting pawn into active player in the games of politics, love, and magic. With strong appeal for fans of alternate historical fantasy and Regency romances, this title belongs in most fantasy collections.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Carolus Rex (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Fantasy; 1st edition (February 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812545397
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812545395
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #934,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

If you're a Regency romance fan, this book is for you.
Mayfayre
While this is perhaps considerate, it also slows down the narrative, usually has little bearing on the plot, and is tediously written.
Emily Snyder
This story takes place in an alternate reality in which magic is very possible.
Arthur W. Jordin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By M. Allegra on November 8, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This regency/alternate earth collaboration by Norton and Edghill, which looks to be the first of a series, is a winner! Is it perfect? No. The last half of the book is a bit rushed and the use of magic is uneven. Even so, I believed in the characters; their dilemmas are real and not easily resolved. The dialogue is appropriate to the setting and I loved Sarah taking over the rifle and shooting down the French troops, to the amazement of her so-reluctant husband - right before they fly away in a hot-air balloon! This is a merry-go-round of a book with pretensions to be a carousel.
Playing in an alternate earth is always fun: lots of name dropping occurs as real historical figures turn up in new walks of life. Beau Brummell finally finds his proper niche as a valet, while John Adams still loves his wife! This book deserves a sequel - there's lots of room for more intrigue, romance and magic in this world - or in an alternate Carolinian earth! I'm looking forward to our English Prince meeting his Danish bride; Wessex and Sarah consummating their marriage (I don't believe they got that far at the end of this book) and Wessex getting over the "honor" and spying question...Let's enjoy all the benefits of a Regency/Scarlett Pimpernel romance and alternate history scifi whirlygig next time.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 6, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The Shadow of Albion has a lot of promise. Wessex is a fascinating character, a member of a secret spy organization and carrier of such interesting gadgets as a pocketwatch/pistol. And Sarah, although annoyingly perfect as fantasy heroines too often are, manages to be slightly likeable. The little in-jokes are nice, too, especially the Orczy one. Really, I enjoyed the book most of the way through, until the ending. A subplot which had been heavily developed in the middle of the book was suddenly resolved in a flippant chapter I only half understood. Instead of closing the book with a satisfied smile, I felt frustrated and cheated. Additionally, the lack of explanation of how magic works in the world was frustrating. Magic was a convenient device used only to further the plot, while if magic existed, it would certainly affect the undercover operations Wessex takes part in far more than shown. Still, I wouldn't mind reading another book about Wessex and his good-natured partner Ilya. If Sarah has to come along too, then so be it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Arthur W. Jordin on March 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The Shadow of Albion (1999) is the first novel in the Carolus Rex series. This story takes place in an alternate reality in which magic is very possible. In England, Charles II has proclaimed his lawful marriage to Mistress Waters and has accepted Charles, the Duke of Monmouth, as his heir. Upon the death of his father, the Duke became King Charles III and the Stuart dynasty has since reigned over England. The American colonies have remained reasonably content with Stuarts on the English throne, although the thirteen colonies are blocked from expansion by the French lands to their west.

In this novel, it is 1805 and Napoleon Bonoparte rules in France. Sarah, Marchioness of Roxbury, is dying of galloping consumption and Dame Alecto Kennet arrives to confront Roxbury with her dereliction of duty, for she has no heir. They look into the timelines for one to take her place and find Sarah Cunningham from Maryland sailing to England. Roxbury rides to the Saracen Stones to effect the change.

Sarah Cunningham is a child of the new Republic, spending her childhood years between Baltimore and the deep woods. She has grown up among the Cree indian lodges, hunting, fishing, and cooking the game on an open fire. Then, when she is 25, her parents die of cholera and she is taken in by a distant cousin of her mothers.

Sarah Cunningham is aboard ship because a Madame Alecto Kennet has come to America as an agent of the Dowager Duchess of Wessex and Sarah is called to England to right a wrong done to her family. Unfortunately, Madame Kennet dies at sea. Sarah leaves the ship at Bristol and catches the mail coach to London. On the way, they colllide with a strange spidery chariot driven by herself. Sarah falls through the coach window and loses consciousness.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 28, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I quite enjoyed about the first half of this book, but as it started poking its way toward a conclusion, my enjoyment slowly declined utnil at the end I somehoe didn't seem to care. A big part of the problem seems to be that the authors have tried to combine too many different things: alternate history, fantasy/magic, dashing adventure a la Scarlet Pimpernel, etc. In the event, it was all a bit too much and nothing seemed to work out well.
One thing that I thought suffered particuarly badly was the elements of magic in Shadow of Albion. There's a bit at the start to draw the heroine from our world to the alternate world, and then it's pretty much ignored for about 2/3 of the book when it's needed to explain a mysterious disappearance. Personally, I couldn't see the need for any of this. The book could have been a more straight-forward alternate history without it seems too many alterations and would thus have been more focused and the ending more coherent. Perhaps the magic has to be introduced so it can be used in the sequel(s); yeppers, the title-page says this is volume 1 of Yet Another Series.
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