Thursday, 8 January 2009

Coincidental reading

Have you ever had one of those times when things you read, or watch, seems related? I've mentioned the King Arthur-ness of my life a while ago.

Each year we have a Take 5 promotion - bundles of 5 books, vaguely related, for people to issue. And, reasonably randomly, I managed to find 3 books set in Regency England, but with magic. Perfect for the Georgette Heyer and fantasy fan I am. Then there's a couple of books in Regency England - Napoleonic Wars with dragons! Think Horatio Hornblower with Anne McCaffrey.

The first Regency romance/magic: Patricia C Wrede's Mairelon the magician and its sequel The magician's ward (which is far more romance-y, ie contains balls and marriage proposals). In Mairelon, Mairelon is hiding in plain sight as a travelling street magician. Kim, a street rat, is commissioned to steal something out of his caravan - and thus discovers he is a real magician. And, eventuall, Mairelon's true identity is revealed - as is Kim's. Adventure, detective work, magic, and fun. In the sequel, Kim is now being made into a lady, ready to be presented at court as Mairelon's ward.
Then Wrede joined up with Caroline Stevermer (who did alternative-Victorian era with magic in A college of magics) in a delightful series of epistolary novels. Sorcery and Cecelia, the first of these, is an exchange of letters between two cousins - one in London for her first season, the other rusticating. They become tangled up in magic and mystery and romance.

New to the list is Melissa Doyle's The bewitching season which is just at the end of the Regency period with the young Princess Victoria. Twins Persephone and Penelop are off to London for their first season, with the added need to keep their magic secret. But when their governess disappears before their arrival, they become embroiled in a plot to influence the princess.

Now to add dragons and battles! There's Midshipwizard Halcyon Blithe and Dragonfrigate Wizard Halcyon Blithe by James Ward. Young Halcyon has come late to his magic, and is 16, not the usual 12/13, when he is sent to a Dragonship as a midshipwizard. Not quite Napoleonic War, but similar world and battles.

Then there's the Temeraire series by Naomi Novak which are Napoleonic. Naval captain Will Laurence and his ship overwhelm a French ship and take their cargo as spoils of war - a cargo which includes a soon-to-hatch dragon egg. Knowing that the dragonic aviators are looked down upon by society, Laurence has his officers draw lots to become the dragon's companion upon hatching. Except the dragon ignores his alloted person, and heads straight for Laurence himself. There's intrigue, battle, and world voyaging galore in this series.


  1. Of the books you've listed we hold Sorcery and Cecilia and the Temeraire series which now, thanks to you, I plan to request/read. Gutted we don't have the rest, though. Thanks for the suggested reads!

  2. I so totally hate it when I read a review & no one has the blasted book!!!
    PS - there's 2 sequels to Sorcery, The Grand Tour and The mislaid magician.

  3. Temeraire was such a fantastic read i've already ordered the rest of the series to read


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