cover image The Silver Skull: Swords of Albion, Book 1

The Silver Skull: Swords of Albion, Book 1

Mark Chadbourn, Author . Pyr $16 (424p) ISBN 978-1-59102-783-6

Two-time British Fantasy Award winner Chadbourn (the Age of Misrule trilogy) offers a grim and decidedly current take on supernatural Elizabethan intrigues. Will Swyfte, “England's greatest spy,” is charged with stopping the faerie and their Spanish tools from acquiring the Skull, the Key and the Shield, magic items whose combination could devastate all of Britain. Scenes range from squalid London slums to King Philip's monumental El Escorial palace and the mighty confrontation with the Armada in the English Channel. Readers familiar with cold war spy novels will wryly note Swyfte's visits to Dr. John Dee for the latest in spy technology, à la James Bond and Q. Graphic presentations of tortures from the rack to waterboarding recall contemporary issues in national security, carefully contextualized with Swyfte's dilemmas of personal versus professional codes. (Nov.)