7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Arthur W. Jordin
- Published on Amazon.com
By Slanderous Tongues (2007) is the third historical Fantasy in the Scepter'd Isle series, following Ill Met by Moonlight. In the previous volume, Henry VIII died and his death announcement was delayed for two days while Hertford arranged for Edward's crowning. Now Edward has become the King, but actual control lies with Hertford and the Regency Council.
Vidal Dhu learned that Elizabeth had been taken to an Unformed Land near the Unseleighe Lands and he attacked the party. Denoriel held off Vidal, but was losing Power when Oberon appeared and stopped the fighting. Elizabeth irritated Oberon by claiming Denoriel as her own, but Titania appeared and interrupted that conflict. Everybody fled while the Rulers of the sidhe settled their differences.
In this novel, as England mourns for their king, his children are uncertain without his presence. Ten year old Edward is now king and has been taken under the protection of his maternal uncle Edward Seymour, the Earl of Hertford. Mary is now an adult and has her own household. But no one seems to care about fourteen year old Elizabeth. Since her infancy, the King has directed her living arrangements. Now that Henry is gone, she wonders who will take charge of her life.
Her good friend Lord Denno -- Denoriel -- enlists the aid of the Dowager Queen to provide a place for Elizabeth. Catherine eagerly accepts the chance to do something meaningful and asks for permission from the Council to take the youngster into her household. The Council agrees and Catherine invites Elizabeth to live with her.
Denoriel has been Elizabeth's friend for a long time -- in mortal terms -- and is now having lascivious thoughts about her. Since he believes that she would never think of him in a lustful manner, Denoriel tries somewhat unsuccessfully to school his thoughts. Little does he know that Elizabeth is having the same problem about him.
Lady Alana -- Aleneil -- keeps watch over Elizabeth as one of her maids of honor. So does Blanche Parry, a mortal with some ability to sense magic. Both are necessary, because Prince Vidal Dhu of the Dark Sidhe still wants to kill Elizabeth. Even though Oberon has forbidden him, or any other Dark Sidhe, to directly attack the child, Vidal knows that Elizabeth's succession to the throne would lead to a wanting time for the Dark Court.
Rhoslyn -- half-sister to Denoriel and Aleneil -- performs a similar service for Vidal among Lady Mary's household. Yet Rhoslyn is becoming ever more dissatisfied with the Dark Court. Contrary to what she had been told, Rhoslyn has found that the energy that feeds the Bright Court can also sustain her. But she doubts that her brother Pasgen would leave the Dark Court with her, so she continues to follow Vidal's orders, if not quite as he would have preferred.
Pasgen discovers that the mists in one area of the Chaos Lands have developed sentience. Apparently the mists were awakened by Elizabeth's request for assistance and then provided a lion to attack her enemies. Now these mists are inhabited by vaguely humanoid shapes: one with red hair like Elizabeth and the other with gold hair like Denoriel. The mists welcome Pasgen and even solicit his return, but he is afraid of their potential.
Harry Fitzroy, the illegitimate son of Henry VIII, finds a calling in Underhill. The Sidhe domains of Alhambra and El Dorado have been cursed by the Spanish Inquisition and are now infested with the Great Evil and minor malignities. He has been enticing older Sidhe back from the Dreaming to fight against these malevolent forces.
In this story, Denoriel meets Thomas Seymour in Queen Catherine's home and notes that the man is very welcome there. Yet Thomas is a man of lusty desires and selfish concerns. He wants to marry either Elizabeth or Mary to gain political power. Mary has little use for him, but Elizabeth is too naive (and devoted to Catherine) to plainly state her objections to his unwelcome attentions.
Vidal nurtures various plots to increase hostilities in the British Isles and to remove Elizabeth from the succession. He urges the Scots to continue their raids across the border and to repel offers for political settlements. He also encourages the followers of the old religion to instigate slanders against Elizabeth.
Denoriel is kept busy defending himself from personal attacks and trying to protect Elizabeth from political ploys. Even Rhoslyn and Pasgen become involved in defending Elizabeth and Denoriel. Their efforts lead to Denoriel becoming less averse to peaceful relations with his Dark Court siblings.
This story continues the fantastic explanations of English history leading up to the Elizabethan Age. Of course, all the magical effects are hidden from history, but much happens beyond mortal kenning! This volume leaves plenty of unexplored history for sequels.
Highly recommended for Lackey and Gellis fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of magical adventures, Unseleighe plotting and Underhill romances.
-Arthur W. Jordin
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Katherine M. Filardo
- Published on Amazon.com
I really liked this series when it started out, since I was fans of Lackey's Serrated Edge series and I also like historical fiction with twists. The Guardian Sidhe plot line combined with the era of the Tudors seemed like an excellent idea. However, sorry to say, the believability of the novels seem to have gone downhill since This Sceptr'd Isle. In Isle and in Ill Met By Moonlight, Denoriel and Aleniel are presented as trusted friends, protectors, and advisors. Denoriel, especially, is shown to be a father-figure to both Harry and Elizabeth. Makes sense, since he is after all, centuries older, wiser, and is possessed of the Sidhe's love for children.
Which is why I was shocked when Lackey and Gellis decided to present him as Elizabeth's lover, of all things. To me, this just doesn't work. It's absurd to have a man, or elf if you prefer, go from raising a child to suddenly seeing that same child as a potential love interest. Yes, I know Denoriel is unbelievably hot and sexy, but STILL. And the reasoning given, that in order to protect Elizabeth from being attracted to Thomas Seymour, she needs another lover to distract her, and Denoriel is conveniently available and can't get her pregnant, plus she has stirrings of puppy-love for him . . .no this is just ridiculous. They would have done better to go with the original historical line that Elizabeth disliked Thomas Seymour since she saw him only as a stepfather, with Denoriel protecting her the way a father or brother would have. The teenage Elizabeth, from all the biographies, was not the type to have casual affairs with men at ANY age, she valued her autonomy too greatly and she knew that once a man gets a woman in bed, back then it was seen as a powerplay, which was why she always avoided such things. Also she hated marriage because of the dangers it presented to a woman, witness her mother and Henry VIII, because it gave total control to the man. Saying she would never marry because she could have her Sidhe lover and thus never miss out on sex or have to worry about commitment doesn't fit the image of Elizabeth that I know. And what about Robert Dudley, Elizabeth's great unrequited love? He barely gets a mention, Elizabeth is so preoccupied with Denno. Unless they're going to bring him up in the next book and say that the reason Elizabeth was able to resist him for so many years was because she loved Denoriel. Spare me! All in all the whole Elizabeth-Denno affair seemed tawdry and cheap to me instead of tender and loving. It would have made better sense for him to have fallen in love with Elizabeth once she was queen and Dudley had married her cousin Lettice, then she would have been looking at him as a woman who has known love and loss, not as a starry-eyed adolescent. I felt it also diminished the very real danger Seymour's advances caused her reputation, since there was no chance she might respond to them and jeopardize herself, the way there was in actual history. It would have been better if there HAD been a chance, then the book would have had some tension and Denoriel would have been tested as to how he could protect his charge without revealing himself and the whole scene of questioning at the end would have been a lot more dramatic. Yes, i know this is alternative history, but I think Lackey did a much better job with her other series, alternate Venice in Shadow of the Lion and This Rough Magic.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
The prophecy is clear that Princess Elizabeth will eventually sit on the throne bringing an enlightened period to the mortals. The fairy realm remains divided as it has for several years over the now fourteen year old offspring of the late King Henry VIII who is being hounded eternally by a gaggle of executed spouses. The dark Unseleighe Sidhe Prince Vidal Dhu believes that preventing Elizabeth's ascension will mean a return to their glorious Dark Ages filled with horror and misdeeds that fueled these malevolent elves.
However, to achieve his side's darkest objective of insuring Elizabeth's fall from grace, they must remove preferably by death her overly protective guardians, the traitorous Seleighe twin elves, Lord Denoriel and Lady Aleneil. Dhu assigns the elimination of the Princess' protectors to twins Rhoslyn and Pasgen; if anyone can get at Denoriel and Aleneil it is their Dark elven half-siblings. With them removed from the scene the prophecy will fail as Elizabeth will surely find a spouse or some way to alienate her half-siblings the recently crowned boy King Edward VI and the heir their older half sister Princess Mary.
The third Scepter'd Isle Elizabethan historical fantasy (see ILL MET BY MOONLIGHT and THIS SCEPTER'D ISLE) is an excellent blending of mid sixteenth century English royal history and a fantasy thriller. The stakes are high as the rival elven groups battle not only for their future but that of the humans. The key players from the mortal and paranormal realms seem genuine including the target Princess Elizabeth due to the mixing of real events and known facts of her young teen years into the story line. Fans will cherish this top quality collaboration between two distinguished authors from differing genres who prove that adding one and one can surpass two when greatness join forces.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Is there another book to come? It seems as if Lackey and Gellis got a little too wordy and decided it couldn't all fit in one book. This book did not end, it just stopped. Perhaps I'm jumping the gun here, but I'm used to Lackey's three-book series. I enjoyed the first two books immensely. By Slanderous Tongues just fell flat.
I agree with the other reviewer who found the love affair between Denoriel and Elizabeth distasteful. I realize that in that era, it was normal for a girl to be married off in her early teens. However, a torrid affair between our fourteen-year-old heroine and the hundreds-year-old elf WHO RAISED HER took it a step too far.
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Well written as always... Elves in Elizabethan England! What's not to love?