cover image In the Shadow of Light

In the Shadow of Light

Tracy Causley. Amethyst Press, $16.95 trade paper (416p) ISBN 978-0-692-06278-4

Causley’s debut, a solid historical fantasy, takes place in 17th century Florence and pits good witches against bad. With the death of her parents from plague in the summer of 1630, 19-year-old Vittoria Giordano flees the city and meets Marcel Barberini at his family villa when she saves him from thieves. The two quickly fall in love. Later, Vittoria meets the Benedanti, her heretofore unknown witch relatives, and from them learns she is the successor to the Benetrix, the representative of the Goddess, the Lady of Light. Back in Florence, Nerezza Ascerbi is the Malatrix, the avatar of shadow, who, in league with the Pope, has spread the plague to increase her own power. Nerezza has a vendetta against the Benedanti, and she launches a plot to ensnare Vittoria and her cousins with false accusations of causing the plague with witchcraft. Occasional modernisms (“Anything you need, you let me know”) and some overly florid descriptions mar the prose at times. Nevertheless, this should satisfy historical fantasy fans who like magic and romance. (BookLife)