1610: A sundial in the graveGollancz S.F. Series
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You can view this as a fantasy novel – but it is also an alternative history of epic proportions. Set in the time of James I it involves assassins, demons and incorrigible women.
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1610: A sundial in the grave by Mary Gentle
Politicians, magicians, players, kings, swordsmen, samurai, and half a dozen different but equally incorrigible women share the stage in a stunning epic alternate history Valèntin Rochefort, professional duellist and down-at-heels aristocrat, arranges the assassination of Henri IV, King of France. Fleeing from the consequences, he makes for England, on the way picking up two companions: a young boy, Dariole, and a ship-wrecked 'demon'.
Dariole is discovered first to be a girl, and then to be Rochefort's sister; the 'demon' is Tanaka Saburo, a Japanese samurai on ambassadorial mission to England from the Shogun; and Rochefort is found by a pack of Hermetic mages and conspirators, who want him to arrange the same thing for King James I/VI of England as he did for Henri of France.
Rochefort is blackmailed into arranging the death of King James at the performance of a Hermetic magic play. Meanwhile, Dariole is busy making forays into Shakespeare's theatre as England's first (and worst) female actor . . .
1610 really isn't Rochefort's year: And as the play's performance and the assassination approach, Rochefort's dreams of the future that may spring from this crucial year grow increasingly stranger and more contradictory. He realises he must act, but, how? What is the right choice? And how much of the future will depend on what he does?
Reviews1610 - the dawn of science. Trapped into engineering the assassination of the King of France, aging spy and duellist Valentin Rochefort is fleeing Paris, unaware that his every move has been mathematically calculated as he makes his way to England. With him travels the disturbingly fascinating Dariole, a fearless young blade who seems determined to kill or seduce him. No sooner have they landed, then Rochefort is violently summoned to the mysterious Dr Fludd, there to be 'persuaded
that he must play a pivotal role in the future of humanity
- if mankind is not to descend into endless war and eventual extinction, King James Stuart must die! Years of intricate calculations have produced this stark choice and Rochefort is a crucial cog in the mechanism - whether he likes it or not. Trapped by conspiracies, blackmail and the treachery of his own lust, the aging swordfighter has to use every wit to outmanoeuvre the enigmatic brotherhood and thwart their revision of the future. A unique blend of kinky historic fantasy to set the pulse racing! (Kirkus UK)
About the Author
Publication date25th November 2004
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