Book Review: This Scepter’d Isle by Mercedes Lackey and Roberta Gellis (Three Stars)

Book Review: This Scepter’d Isle by Mercedes Lackey and Roberta Gellis

(Three Stars of Five)

A enjoyable romp through Tudor England. The obsessive categorist will ponder whether to classify this work as historical fiction or fantasy. It’s both. The historical characters and period are presented in fine focus, and the world and peoples of Sidhe just as well. Plot is intricate; the names daunting; the period critical for Underhill as much as Overhill England.

Most of us are passingly familiar with Henry VII and his wives. Here the story is retold from the point of view of the next generation and those close to it. Henry struts and panders just off stage and rarely appears (as he apparently did in real life) in the lives of his children. But around those children the future of England (and perhaps worlds unseen) revolve.

The breaking point on assessing only three stars came in the last twenty pages. I can’t even given a hint (masked as a spoiler) without taking too much away from the rest of the story. Just say that, while each characters actions ring true throughout the tale, a major human character makes a decision which, while explained away by the authors, seems more contrived to continue the book series than represent what he would have done in that time and place.

A good tale for readers of both history and fantasy, though the former will require a willing suspension of disbelief when things go Underhill.

A good read.