Firedrake's Eye

Patricia Finney, Author St. Martin's Press $19.95 (263p) ISBN 978-0-312-07749-5
Forget the publisher's misleading comparisons to the intellectual teasers Possession and The Name of the Rose and enjoy this highly colored historical novel on its own merits. Set in Elizabethan England, it sensuously reconstructs the era's visual pomp and splendor as well as the fetid odors and pervasive damp chill of a London winter. Finney ( A Shadow of Gulls ) endows her players with a rich language--essentially modern English lightly laced with fanciful syntax and Elizabethan vocabulary. The plot, in which members of Elizabeth's secret service ferret out would-be assassins of the Virgin Queen, is heavy with coincidence and short on actual sleuthing. These flaws, however, are camouflaged by an exotic, convincing cast of characters, among them a madman; Portuguese Jews who have found refuge behind the English throne; physicians; courtiers; teachers of swordplay; traitors and pretenders. Historical and wholly invented figures mix easily, a tribute to the author's careful research and panoramic vision. 40,000 first printing. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1992
Release date: 06/01/1992
Paperback - 978-0-312-09287-0
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-312-18094-2
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