09
Jun
08

Marie Brennan: Midnight Never Come

England flourishes under the hand of its Virgin Queen: Elizabeth, Gloriana, last and most powerful of the Tudor monarchs.

But a great light casts a great shadow.

In hidden catacombs beneath London, a second Queen holds court: Invidiana, ruler of faerie England, and a dark mirror to the glory above. In the thirty years since Elizabeth ascended her throne, fae and mortal politics have become inextricably entwined, in secret alliances and ruthless betrayals whose existence is suspected only by a few. Two courtiers, both struggling for royal favor, are about to uncover the secrets that lie behind these two thrones.

When the faerie lady Lune is sent to monitor and manipulate Elizabeth’s spymaster, Walsingham, her path crosses that of Michael Deven, a mortal gentleman and agent of Walsingham’s. His discovery of the “hidden player” in English politics will test Lune’s loyalty and Deven’s courage alike. Will she betray her Queen for the sake of a world that is not hers? And can he survive in the alien and Machiavellian world of the fae? For only together will they be able to find the source of Invidiana’s power — find it, and break it . . . .

Midnight Never Come is a historical fantasy that’s also an interesting take on faerie lore. I don’t generally pick up historical fantasies or historical anything, for that matter, but this one had what for me was an interesting hook, the twining of the lives of the Queen of England and a faerie Queen.

On that count, Midnight Never Come does not disappoint. The author handles the politics and the intrigue with a deft hand, moving seamlessly from Elizabethan England to the world of evil faeries and then back again.

A book that starts out quietly, Midnight Never Come builds in an elegant crescendo to a powerful finish, much as both Lune and Deven grow as characters into what they finally become. It’s definitely one of my favorite faerie books of the year.

Midnight Never Come rates 4 out of 5.

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