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SHADOW OF ALBION [Hardcover]

Edghill/Norton Norton , Rodemary Edghill
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 14 1999 Carolus Rex/Andre Norton, Bk 1
Baltimore, 1805

When young Sarah Cunningham's father dies, she is left alone in the world. At the behest of her aunt, she leaves behind her few friends and heads across the ocean to the hope of a new life in England with a distant relative.

Little does Sarah suspect that her journey will carry her much farther than a mere ocean's width. For as she crosses the Atlantic, powerful magics are being worked by Lady Sarah Roxbury. Lying on her deathbed, Roxbury casts a spell that will summon her counterpart form the universe-next-door...Sarah.

Waking, Sarah finds herself in a world not her own, a world where the Stuart kings still rule England, where Baltimore and the original thirteen United States are still British colonies, where Napoleon runs rampant on the European continent, a world where she is the Lady Roxbury.

Under the influence of a steady supply of drugs and insidious manipulation, Sarah comes to believe that she is Roxbury, and soon finds herself embroiled deep in the machinations of court intrigue and scandal. She also comes to despise her intended, the Duke of Wessex.

As the threat of a French invasion grows, the only hope for England is a peace treaty with Denmark. But when the Princess of Denmark goes missing and France's agent, the Marquis de Sade, is found in council with Denmark's king, it is up to Sarah and Wessex to put aside their differences.

Together they must find a way to rescue the princess from her captivity deep in the black heart of Imperial France before Napoleon can cross the channel and utterly destroy England.

In a tale as rousing, romantic, and full of intrigue as The Scarlet Pimpernel, Andre Norton and Rosemary Edghill have created an alternative history as real as our own and as fresh as today.


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From Publishers Weekly

Norton (Scent of Magic) and Edghill's (Book of Moons) collaboration shows how British history might have developed had the heirless Charles II been succeeded by his eldest bastard, the Duke of Monmouth, instead of by his unpopular brother James. Three generations after the change, in the early 19th century, the French have had their revolution, but America remains a colony (governed by Lord Protector Thomas Jefferson). Magic and faerie exist, but are even more covert than the numerous political factions and plots that enliven this action-packed novel. The story starts when the dying Marchioness of Roxbury gives her body to the consciousness of an alternate self: Sarah Cunningham, a poor orphan. Sarah must fulfill the marchioness's neglected promises: to protect King Henry IX's throne from the machinations of the spurned James's descendants and the designs of Napoleon, while helping the magical Old People of her estate fight off a Terror-beast that wants them destroyed. Sarah humorously adjusts to her new identity, encounters her dashing but (apparently) cold husband by an arranged marriage and ultimately proves her bravery. The archaic language might test some readers ("a slightly old-fashioned dress of sprig muslin" with "a ruffled lawn fichu") but the ton atmosphere and arch manners are richly described. Fans of the period and certainly of historical fantasy will be pleased by the amusing characters and elaborately plotted intrigue.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

A magical summons draws a destitute Sarah Cunningham from her own world into an alternate Earth where she becomes Lady Sarah, Marchioness of Roxbury, and finds herself caught in the midst of a deadly web of intrigue and unexpected romance. Coauthors Norton and Edghill combine their considerable expertise and skill to create a light-hearted excursion into romantic fantasy, featuring a heroine determined to transform herself from unwitting pawn into active player in the games of politics, love, and magic. With strong appeal for fans of alternate historical fantasy and Regency romances, this title belongs in most fantasy collections.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Maryland Tomboy in King Henry's Court March 26 2003
Format:Hardcover
The Shadow of Albion is the first novel in the Carolus Rex series. This story takes place in an alternate reality in which magic is very possible. In England, Charles II has proclaimed his lawful marriage to Mistress Waters and has accepted Charles, the Duke of Monmouth, as his heir. Upon the death of his father, the Duke became King Charles III and the Stuart dynasty has since reigned over England. The American colonies have remained reasonably content with Stuarts on the English throne, although the thirteen colonies are blocked from expansion by the French lands to their west.
In this novel, it is 1805 and Napoleon Bonoparte rules in France. Sarah, Marchioness of Roxbury, is dying of galloping consumption and Dame Alecto Kennet arrives to confront Roxbury with her dereliction of duty, for she has no heir. They look into the timelines for one to take her place and find Sarah Cunningham from Maryland sailing to England. Roxbury rides to the Saracen Stones to effect the change.
Sarah Cunningham is a child of the new Republic, spending her childhood years between Baltimore and the deep woods. She has grown up among the Cree indian lodges, hunting, fishing, and cooking the game on an open fire. Then, when she is 25, her parents die of cholera and she is taken in by a distant cousin of her mothers.
Sarah Cunningham is aboard ship because a Madame Alecto Kennet has come to America as an agent of the Dowager Duchess of Wessex and Sarah is called to England to right a wrong done to her family. Unfortunately, Madame Kennet dies at sea. Sarah leaves the ship at Bristol and catches the mail coach to London. On the way, they colllide with a strange spidery chariot driven by herself. Sarah falls through the coach window and loses consciousness.
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4.0 out of 5 stars When is a Regency Not a Regency? Oct. 7 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
THE SHADOW OF ALBION, described as the first volume in the Carolus Rex Trilogy, includes many elements of the traditional Regency romance: a concentration on the "ton" (British nobility) and its manners and activities, a marriage of convenience (by order of the King!) that turns into something more, a cold-hearted hero and tomboy heroine, and lots of research, including a rich use of period-appropriate language ("abigail" for "lady's maid," for example). But--as might be expected of a book co- written by one of the best-known names in science fiction and fantasy--it's not *just* a romance. First, it takes place in an alternate world where the Stuarts never lost the British throne: in 1805 England is ruled by Henry IX, great-great-great-grandson of the Merry Monarch, Charles II, through his legitimized son the Duke of Monmouth. With no overbearing Hanovers to push them to rebellion (though Henry's daughter Maria is married to a member of that family), the North American Colonies are still just that--colonies, though loosely ruled and in many ways autonomous--and the Mississippi Valley remains a French possession as Napoleon Bonaparte storms across Europe, with dark ambitions for the entire world. Sir John Adams is the British envoy to the Danish court, the Marquis deSade is a supposed sorcerer in Napoleon's service, Talleyrand is the head of French internal security, and nobody is quite sure what became of Louis-Charles, son of Louis and Marie Antoinette, after his parents were guillotined. In England, plots are afoot to return the country to Catholicism, while the Dowager Duchess of Wessex (the hero's grandmother) and a network of helpers seek to keep humanity in a peaceable relationship with the Oldest People--the Faery Folk. Read more ›
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very fun July 30 2002
By Ishtar
Format:Mass Market Paperback
And not all that light. The book caught my attention because I had recently learned quite a bit about Stuart and Georgian England. The alternate scenario is inventive and the world created is plausible and tangible. Some of the descriptions tended to be too detailed, but I think that's a strong point of the book as well. I see the settings and rooms and costumes very vividly. I didn't quite like the several pages narrated from Meriel's p.o.v. I found myself wanting to get back to either Sarah or Wessex. Wessex, with his 'sword-blade' looks and 'cat-footed' walk is charming and reflective, sometimes annoying. He's a rather fun character. I've never read a real Regency, so I guess I can't tell how much he may resemble those characters, but I really liked the notion of a 19th century spy. As to the interactions between him and Sarah, I wish there were more, because I loved seeing them clash. Despite their initial reactions toward each other, they really are quite compatible. I also liked the subtle use of magic...a world in which magic doesn't dominate the lives of people, but plays a stronger and tangible role than in our universe.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing as the spring rain May 14 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Other reviewers have griped that this book is basically fluff. Well, yes, it's light, but that's part of what I liked about it. I've read a lot of serious (and sometimes depressing) books lately, and this one was a much-needed cool breeze of just plain fun.
The Marchioness of Roxbury, a vain and vapid woman, is on her deathbed, having failed to fulfill a promise made to the Fair Folk. She lives in an alternate England where magic exists, though it's subtle. The only way she can keep her word is by switching places with Sarah Cunningham, her double from our world, an independent woman who was raised in the wilderness and knows her way around a musket. Sarah's memories are jumbled by magic, and now she has to figure out who she is.
She and her new husband, Wessex, get caught up in a deadly game of espionage, kidnapping, and murder. When Sarah becomes friends with the Crown Prince's new sweetheart, the game gets even deeper. Danger, betrayal, and unexpected allies are around every corner. While the love story between Sarah and Wessex is never developed really well, the adventure is fun and movie-like, and the end leaves me wanting more. Gotta go read the sequel now.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Attention All Regency Fans!
If you're a Regency romance fan, this book is for you. It's a great introduction to the alternate history/fantasy genre that combines the familiar aspects of Regency society with... Read more
Published on April 20 2002 by Mayfayre
5.0 out of 5 stars Carla Kelly & now Norton & Edghill Keeping the Regency Alive
The regency romance is in a state of decline except for some huge talents who are managing to breathe new life into it. Read more
Published on March 17 2002 by carol irvin
3.0 out of 5 stars Ambiguous
~I've never been a fan of alternate histories, but this one kept me interested long enough to finish--and I'm considering buying the sequel. Read more
Published on Oct. 9 2001
3.0 out of 5 stars Great start, slow finish.
I'm afraid I must agree with the reviewers below. The plot was promising, but ultimately unsatisfying. Read more
Published on May 27 2001
2.0 out of 5 stars too silly..
A bunch of aristocrats with long and silly names run around playing at James Bond in cravats. If Regency Romances, excruciatingly detailed accounts of attire, and sentences... Read more
Published on Aug. 4 2000 by "silo1013"
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't wait for the sequal
I have read books by both author's previously and enjoyed them so but find this novel even more satisfying than either on their own. Read more
Published on July 25 2000
3.0 out of 5 stars A Regency-less Regency Romance
Good. I could not put it down when I was reading it. Nice alternate history. A bit of the "Regency romance" feel to it, except in the alternate world there was no Regency... Read more
Published on May 23 2000 by Celeste Chang
2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly realised, although ambitious, alternate history
In a time when the word "Regency" is almost exclusively associated with "Jane Austen" and her drawing room romances, "The Shadow of Albion" an... Read more
Published on April 26 2000 by Emily Snyder
4.0 out of 5 stars James Bond and Bond Street! What fun!
This regency/alternate earth collaboration by Norton and Edghill, which looks to be the first of a series, is a winner! Is it perfect? No. Read more
Published on Nov. 8 1999 by M. Allegra
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