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Strange Devices Sun & Moon [Hardcover]

Tor Books
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 8 1993
A Faerie Queen and her court invade Elizabethan London and fight a magical battle for the reborn King Arthur, in a tale of dragons, faeries, and alchemy.

Product Details


Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In the London of 1590, a band of Faeries wages war amidst the intrigues of Queen Elizabeth's court and in the streets and courtyards among the unseeing populace. Widowed bookseller Alice Wood has no business with the Fair Folk until they come looking for her son Arthur, who claims to be king of England. Christopher Marlowe, playwright and private investigator, has no patience for belief in either God or Faeries, but his search for Arthur leads him to events he cannot explain. Culminating in a magnificent battle between good and evil fought in the heart of London, this lyrically written fantasy by the author of The Red Magician works on every level of intellect and emotion. Goldstein renders London with powerfully historical accuracy, her characters are rich and full, and her Fair Folk deliver both a sense of wonder and a shiver down the spine. A thoroughly satisfying work, worth savoring more than once.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Strange Devices of the Sun and Moon Aug. 30 2002
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I note the positive reviews and blurbs all over the cover, but I didn't think much of this book.
The Faerie Folk have come to Elizabethan London, bringing problems in their wake, especially for Christopher Marlowe and for Alice, whose son turns out to be a changeling.
I found the language use here to be a bit mundane, meaning that a mood was never really developed. Plot events jolted from one to the next, without a sense of flow. Characters, especially secondary characters, seemed faceless and lacking in personality.
I was bored, therefore, and cannot recommend the book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars interesting mix of worlds Oct. 9 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I picked up this book because I thought that a fantasy story set in the London of Elizabeth I would be an interesting read. While I enjoyed it, I soon realized that such an extraordinary mix of genres and themes could not appeal to a very wide audience. One finds in this world a very historical novel trying to merge with a typical fantasy story of the fairy world. In the novel itself the merge is more of a clash than a smooth blend, and the same can be said for the literary style. Given that I am a student of history and literature as well as a fantasy fan, I rather enjoyed the concept and had fun making my way through the process.
In the book, one is presented with a picture of Elizabethan London. Court intrigue, meetings in pubs, bookselling rights, and the scare of the plague all are part of the basic setting. The author has done her homework and seems at times to almost go out of her way to include some interesting tidbits of history. Real figures from history, such as Christopher Marlowe and Thomas Kyd, make their way into the story. (But fear not, while the author does take liberties with these personalities, they are not subject to the same brutal misrepresentation as befell Chaucer in A Knight's Tale!) Amidst this historical cast, one encounters Alice Wood - a widow who is struggling to keep her husband's business of bookselling running. It is her missing son, Arthur, that draws the fairy folk to London and involves her and her friends in the battle between the light and dark fairy.
It took me awhile to really become involved in this story. There are so many subplots at the beginning that one doesn't know which to follow or become attached to. Nevertheless, they all are witty and entertaining and eventually one sees how they all fit together.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting mix of worlds Oct. 9 2001
By Julie Clawson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I picked up this book because I thought that a fantasy story set in the London of Elizabeth I would be an interesting read. While I enjoyed it, I soon realized that such an extraordinary mix of genres and themes could not appeal to a very wide audience. One finds in this world a very historical novel trying to merge with a typical fantasy story of the fairy world. In the novel itself the merge is more of a clash than a smooth blend, and the same can be said for the literary style. Given that I am a student of history and literature as well as a fantasy fan, I rather enjoyed the concept and had fun making my way through the process.
In the book, one is presented with a picture of Elizabethan London. Court intrigue, meetings in pubs, bookselling rights, and the scare of the plague all are part of the basic setting. The author has done her homework and seems at times to almost go out of her way to include some interesting tidbits of history. Real figures from history, such as Christopher Marlowe and Thomas Kyd, make their way into the story. (But fear not, while the author does take liberties with these personalities, they are not subject to the same brutal misrepresentation as befell Chaucer in A Knight's Tale!) Amidst this historical cast, one encounters Alice Wood - a widow who is struggling to keep her husband's business of bookselling running. It is her missing son, Arthur, that draws the fairy folk to London and involves her and her friends in the battle between the light and dark fairy.
It took me awhile to really become involved in this story. There are so many subplots at the beginning that one doesn't know which to follow or become attached to. Nevertheless, they all are witty and entertaining and eventually one sees how they all fit together. I enjoyed the story as it developed and appreciated the rich description and philosophical musings as well. This book is not for everyone, but for those who find Elizabethian London and the fairy realm fasinating, I would highly recommend it.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars She understands the Fair Folk and Elizabethan England Sept. 10 1998
By WeHaveSixFeet - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A marvelously gritty and precise picture of London under Elizabeth I, and a complex and compelling mystery story involving a rare woman member of the Stationer's Guild whose child may be the answer to the battles between the Seelie and Unseelie Courts of Faerie. Lisa Goldstein gets it just about perfect. Also see her exquisite story in Sandman: Book of Dreams.
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elizabethan Faerie Tale Jan. 20 2000
By "silo1013" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Entertaining story of court intrigues, alchemy, magic, poets and playwrights, and the Faerie Folk in Elizabethan London; even Christopher Marlowe makes an appearance. I bought the book because it was listed as recommended in the Alternative Sexualities in Science Fiction and Fantasy online compendium; and it was a good read, but Marlowe is something of a minor character.. in fact, I'm not sure why he's in the book at all: any character could have played his part [ though it did make for flavor and fun reading ].
6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad, bad, bad July 31 2006
By Lilly Flora - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is one of those books that sounds really good but turns out to be boring and stupid. There's just something really appealing about the combination of Elizabethan history, the plague and the fairie world and it's clear this author is attempting to imitate Judith Merkle Riley with a funny, cute blend of fantasy and history. But this book does not manage to combine the elements of fantasy and history its plot relies on together into a realistic picture. In fact, there is so little historical information in this book I'm surprised it was even listed as historical fiction.

The fairies in this book are odd, their story is never explained, and nothing is really said about the great conflict between their two sides and the changeling fairy King they all want back. The people working for them don't make sense, the conflict doesn't make sense, and the whole plot doesn't make sense. The whole aspect of the story that deals with fairies is written as if it was told by an outside observer (who doesn't know much) to the author and then written down, which just means that all in all I understood about a fourth of what happened in this book. And that fourth wasn't even good. It jumps several years forward in time for no good reason, the characters are impossible to care about, and what was Christopher Marley doing in this book? The whole playwright part of this book was weird and awful-like the author just inserted conversations playwrights might have had and threw in some fairy dust. This is just a badly written and poorly executed book.

If you want something about the fair folk look elsewhere. This book probably shouldn't have been published as it is. With a lot of writing work, a clear back story and a less obscure plot, way more explanation on the fairy stuff and better writing it might have been ok. As it is it is just a collection of strange events leading to a rushed conclusion.

One star only. This is a bad book; I was terribly bored reading it.
4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Strange Devices of the Sun and Moon Aug. 30 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I note the positive reviews and blurbs all over the cover, but I didn't think much of this book.
The Faerie Folk have come to Elizabethan London, bringing problems in their wake, especially for Christopher Marlowe and for Alice, whose son turns out to be a changeling.
I found the language use here to be a bit mundane, meaning that a mood was never really developed. Plot events jolted from one to the next, without a sense of flow. Characters, especially secondary characters, seemed faceless and lacking in personality.
I was bored, therefore, and cannot recommend the book.
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