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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars

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on 15 May 2000
Shadow of Albion is that most rare of things - a startlingly original fantasy, and a thumping good read. It's a blend of well-researched historical fiction, romance and science fantasy, and I have to admit - I'm hooked! As a long-time fan of both Miss Norton's science fiction books and Georgette Heyer's Regency romances, I can whole-heartedly recommend this to other readers with similar tastes. I loved the in-jokes throughout the book (in particular the references to the Scarlet Pimpernel, one of my favourite childhood heroes). On the negative side, I wished that the magic referred to and used by the characters played a larger part in the plot, I felt this aspect of the book was neglected and could be much more developed - something I hope a sequel will address. I for one will be waiting impatiently for the second volume!
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on 24 February 1999
On an alternate earth where much remains similar, plenty of different individual events have occurred. For instance, on his deathbed, Charles II admits that he married his mistress. This makes the Duke of Monmout the king as opposed to Charles' brother James. Other examples include the Stuart line continues to rule, magic exists, and the American colonies remain part of the British Empire. One major similarity between the two Earths is on both orbs Napoleon plans to rule Europe.
The Marchioness of Roxbury is near death, but still has a crucial role in the future of England. Practitioners of the magic arts manage to switch Roxbury's body with that of Sarah Cunningham, a colonial residing on our Earth. Sarah forgets her past life, believing she is Roxbury. England's spymaster, the Duke of Essex, reluctantly plans to marry her because he needs a Duchess to help him with the bride to be of the Prince Regent. The duo goes from complete indifference to strong passion, but their future is in jeopardy, as they must travel through the heart of the lands controlled by their hated enemy.
THE SHADOWS OF ALBION melds the incredible talents of tow great authors to produce a novel deemed to be a classic. Fantasy, intrigue, and romance merge in a spectacular way that will elate fans of all three genres and fiction lovers in general. Readers will want more novels starring the delightful couple in future adventures. There is a new
talent abroard and Rosemary Edgehill is her name. She is a worthy successor to Andre Norton as well as a brilliant storyteller in her own right.

Harriet Klausner
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on 3 June 1999
And now, as the Monty Python intro says, for something completely different.
I have just finished 'The Shadow of Albion' by Andre Norton and Rosemary Edghill (TOR) and I am absolutely enchanted. I hope there is going to be a sequel. It's an alternative world fantasy set in a world where the Stuarts retained the throne of England, there was no American Revolt and where there are still vestiges of the Arts Magickal. The year is 1805 and Bonaparte threatens to engulf the world. England stands against him.
The young Lady Sarah Roxbury is dying due to her own folly and with a important task unfinished. She summons from our mundane world her double, Sarah Cunningham, to take her place and finish what needs to be done, including marriage to the Duke of Wessex, a secret agent in the service of the Stuart throne.
The authors obviously had a lovely time with this book. Beau Brummell in this world is a valet to the young, impetuous Prince James Stuart, heir to the throne of England. There's a nod to "The Scarlet Pimpernel" in the pseudonym of Citizen Orczy used by the Duke in one of his trips across France-- "The Scarlet Pimpernel" was written by Baroness Orczy, and one of the members of a dinner party given by Madame de Stael in the prison town of Verdun is 'a Belgian Devine named Poirot'. Let us know forget another dinner guest, Sir John Adams from the northern colonies of America who misses his wife Abby very much!
Add the missing Dauphin, the wonderfully villainous Marquis de Sade, a missing Danish Princess, a dungeon and loads of hair raising escapes.
No sex, but some strong emotion. Unfortunately it's not in paperback yet but if you like alternative world fantasy with a nice ironic touch I cannot recommend this book too highly
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on 30 June 1999
The Shadow of Albion was a terrific, fast-paced romp through early 19th century England and France--as it might have been... Sarah and Wessex were extremely likeable characters and the entire book was filled with twists of wry humor. This is entertainment at its finest. Those who liked Shadow should also try Goblin Moon by Teresa Edgerton. If you thought Wessex had a lot of interesting exploding gadgets, wait until you meet Lord Francis Skelbrooke...
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on 29 March 1999
I quite enjoyed about the first half of this book, but as it started poking its way toward a conclusion, my enjoyment slowly declined utnil at the end I somehoe didn't seem to care. A big part of the problem seems to be that the authors have tried to combine too many different things: alternate history, fantasy/magic, dashing adventure a la Scarlet Pimpernel, etc. In the event, it was all a bit too much and nothing seemed to work out well.
One thing that I thought suffered particuarly badly was the elements of magic in Shadow of Albion. There's a bit at the start to draw the heroine from our world to the alternate world, and then it's pretty much ignored for about 2/3 of the book when it's needed to explain a mysterious disappearance. Personally, I couldn't see the need for any of this. The book could have been a more straight-forward alternate history without it seems too many alterations and would thus have been more focused and the ending more coherent. Perhaps the magic has to be introduced so it can be used in the sequel(s); yeppers, the title-page says this is volume 1 of Yet Another Series.
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on 6 June 1999
The Shadow of Albion has a lot of promise. Wessex is a fascinating character, a member of a secret spy organization and carrier of such interesting gadgets as a pocketwatch/pistol. And Sarah, although annoyingly perfect as fantasy heroines too often are, manages to be slightly likeable. The little in-jokes are nice, too, especially the Orczy one. Really, I enjoyed the book most of the way through, until the ending. A subplot which had been heavily developed in the middle of the book was suddenly resolved in a flippant chapter I only half understood. Instead of closing the book with a satisfied smile, I felt frustrated and cheated. Additionally, the lack of explanation of how magic works in the world was frustrating. Magic was a convenient device used only to further the plot, while if magic existed, it would certainly affect the undercover operations Wessex takes part in far more than shown. Still, I wouldn't mind reading another book about Wessex and his good-natured partner Ilya. If Sarah has to come along too, then so be it.
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on 2 May 1999
Excellent book. It takes a bit to get into the highly stylized world within the Alternate History, but if you like Dangerous Liaisons/ comedy of manners/ Georgette Heyer's "These Old Shades" then this is a book you should NOT miss.
Although it's ostensibly about Sara, Marchioness of Coyningham, The Duke of Wessex is the real winner here. He's part James Bond with high-tech gadgetry, part MacGuyver, part Remington Steele, and in truth, slightly Maxwell Smart. (Only slightly). What a winning character! I'd love to read more.
The period style is elegant, and Norton/Edghill do a fantastic job of bringing the era of the obscenely wealthy and obscenely polite to life for us. The ending ties up a little too neatly, but it is a minor point...
I want to read more and more about Wessex's misadventures. Any chance of this spawning a se-/ pre-quel or series?
Well worth the price.
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on 6 September 1999
This was a good book. It was an origional idea, which is unusual nowadays. The only thing is that people wouldn't have practiced witchcraft openly even in an alternative regency. Charles the II wasn't that lax in his opinions on it.
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on 22 March 1999
I really loved the author's scifi novels under her other name. I looked forward to this one because I love old fashioned romantic novels, but what I found was a messy beginning full of unnecessary flashbacks. Once those end, the story gets going, but it's not "Jane Austen meets the Scarlet Pimpernell." There is no Jane Austen and no hint of Wordsworth, or Byron, just a lot of Georgette Heyer slang and characters. Including the heroine and a lower class girl getting on a first name basis in a public shop. Elizabeth Bennet never showed that kind of vulgarity. Why not make up a world instead?
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on 1 February 1999
Just finished SHADOW OF ALBION and marvelled at the wealth of Regency detail and historical knowledge that went into making THIS alternate world believable and readable. I'm delighted to know that there will be sequels from this collaborative pair. A great combination and a great read! Regency devotees will find this much to their liking even if they haven't ever dabbled in science fiction/fantasy.
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