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The Serpent's Egg (1988)

by Caroline Stevermer

Other authors: John Jude Palencar (Cover artist)

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932233,280 (3.69)11
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33/2021. This was Caroline Stevermer's first novel, and is a fantasy of manners set in a not-Elizabethan not-England. The big baddie is the Duke of Tilbury, who is a caricature of the historical Earl of Leicester, e.g. the suspicious death of his wife. The author demonstrates at least a basic understanding of how her chosen social system would function in practical terms, but the plot didn't work for me and I didn't find any of the characters especially engaging. I don't want to spoiler anything that isn't immediately obvious from the beginning, but I note that the realm would be more peaceful if everyone with a francophone surname was arrested as soon as they appeared, lol, which I don't think was consciously intentional on the author's part.

Quotes

The most affecting moment for me was when a wannabe murderer quotes one of Drayton's love poems, eep: "Since there’s no help, come let us kiss and part." // Nay, I have done, you get no more of me; // And I am glad, yea glad with all my heart, // That thus so cleanly I myself can free.

There's also an erudite Shakespearean in-joke betting "it's a heron to a handsaw" people will misinterpret written messages, lol. ( )
  spiralsheep | Feb 19, 2021 |
An interesting stand-alone. Set in a just post-medieval world and with interesting twists on this world, including what Joan of Arc did. Very political without delving too deeply into the political and with characters that I actaully cared about. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Feb 27, 2006 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Caroline Stevermerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Palencar, John JudeCover artistsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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The members of Queen Andred's court attempt to convince her that the Duke of Tilbury is treacherously plotting to take her kingdom from her, but the Duke has two factors in his favor--the Queen's trust, and the sorcery of a serpent egg.
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