This was my first introduction into the world of historical science fiction and I have to say I couldn’t have asked for a better guide than Mark Chadbourn.
When John Dee, alchemist to Queen Elizabeth I, goes missing, the English court is filled with terror because missing along with Dee is an obsidian mirror which some claim has the power to set the world on fire. Knowing that the world is at stake, Queen Elizabeth sends spy/adventure/rake Will Swyfte to find Dee and his looking glass. Although the financial gain for Swyfte is massive the stakes turn personal when he discovers that the mirror might hold the answers to the fate of the woman he loved.
Now London is under siege and Swyfte has no choice by to follow Dee to the fortress of the Unseelie court, which is ruled by Fay.
I came into this series without reading the first two books, and while I would have liked to have read some of the events leading up to this book, it wasn’t necessary to understand the book at hand. Although I will be reading the other two as soon as I find them.
The book was rich in detail as were the characters. I wasn’t sure if this was going to be one of my favorite books as I had never dabbled in this genre before but the way that Chadbourn writes the fantasy aspect of the book works and is believable because it’s balanced with a heavy dose of reality.
James Bond adventure in the court of Queen Elizabeth!
1593: The dreaded alchemist, magician, and spy Dr. John Dee is missing. . . .
Terror sweeps through the court of Queen Elizabeth, for in Dee's possession is an obsidian mirror, an object of great power which, legend says, could set the world afire. And so the call goes out to celebrated swordsman, adventurer and rake Will Swyfte—find Dee and his looking glass and return them to London before disaster strikes. But when Will discovers the mirror might solve the mystery that has haunted him for years—the fate of his lost love, Jenny—the stakes become acutely personal.
With London under siege by supernatural powers, time is running out. Will is left with no choice but to pursue the alchemist to the devil-haunted lands of the New World—in the very shadow of the terrifying fortress home of the Unseelie Court. Surrounded by an army of unearthly fiends, with only his sword and a few brave friends at his back, the realm's greatest spy must be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice—or see all he loves destroyed.