cover image Lucy's Blade

Lucy's Blade

John Lambshead, . . Baen, $24 (371pp) ISBN 978-1-4165-2121-1

British author Lambshead, a research scientist with many technical papers to his credit, takes an imaginative premise for his first novel, a fantasy set mainly in Elizabethan England, but falters in the execution. After court wizard John Dee, with the aid of Lovecraft's Necronomicon , summons a demon that possesses Lucy Dennys, "a lady of gentle breeding... fair of face and bonny of character," Dee attempts to kill Lucy with his dagger. Sir Francis Walsingham, Lucy's uncle and the queen's spy chief, intervenes just in time, and the dagger later serves as a talisman for Lucy as she faces assorted challenges, including a plot against the queen's life. Rather than presenting the period from the point-of-view of the people living in it, Lambshead intrudes with anachronistic commentary ("Even a small cut could kill in a world without antibiotics") as well as historical exposition ("Elizabeth was the third great Tudor monarch, after her father Henry VIII and grandfather Henry VII"). Hopefully, any sequel will be less heavy-handed. (May)