New Amsterdam Hardcover – 25 Feb 2007
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From the Inside Flap
Abigail Irene Garrett drinks too much. She makes scandalous liaisons with inappropriate men, and if in her youth she was a famous beauty, now she is both formidable--and notorious. She is a forensic sorceress, and a dedicated officer of a Crown that does not deserve her loyalty. She has nothing, but obligations. Sebastien de Ulloa is the oldest creature she has ever known. He was no longer young at the Christian millennium, and that was nine hundred years ago. He has forgotten his birth-name, his birth-place, and even the year in which he was born, if he ever knew it. But he still remembers the woman who made him immortal. He has everything, but a reason to live. In a world where the sun never set on the British Empire, where Holland finally ceded New Amsterdam to the English only during the Napoleonic wars, and where the expansion of the American colonies was halted by the war magic of the Iroquois, they are exiles in the new world--and its only hope for justice.
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I am enjoying them - hence 4 stars. But … the stories are collected in two volumes and, if one wishes to read them in approximate chronological order (not the order of writing) one has to shuttle between both books. This is frustrating. It is even weird that the stories in the second volume are presented in reverse chronological order.
The stories are set in a world where America is still ruled by Britain. This works quite well. The history is not fullyb delineated, so one never quite knows what might be different. It is probable that the American colonies would still develop their own culture and dialects. But it is just not believable that a British aristocrat would use American idioms even if she had just moved to America.
The author narrates as an American, which is fair enough, but this does not excuse bad grammar and missing words. Nor does it explain typos which consist of proper words improperly used. One character's name is suddenly altered by one letter and it is impossible to determine whether the earlier version or the later is the author's intended. None of these errors seem to be due to the Kindle conversion process, thus I wonder whether the author is lazy or simply benefitted from excellent editors and proof-readers when being published in print.
These are good stories marred by poor writing, sloppy presentation and the decision to present them in an odd order.
But this could just be me. I really don't like short stories (usually unsatisfying). If that's not a problem for you then the work is fascinating and well written.
(And oh, BTW, the blurb describing the book is rubbish. Doesn't seem as though whoever wrote the blurb actually read the book.)
There is, I think, a tribute to Randall Garrett's Lord Darcy stories (themselves a tribute; I do love them), and it's a good one. Thank you, Elizabeth Bear.
Note: I purchased a copy out in the real world.