Merchant of Dreams

February 14, 2013 - 6:27 pm 1 Comment

Merchant of Dreams (Night Masque 1)
Author Anne Lyle
Publisher Angry Robot
Pages/size 424pp
Release Date: 16th Dec 20112
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

Starting one year after the events in The Alchemist of Souls, we find Mal and female Coby (still dressed as a manservant looking remarkably like a 15 year old boy), on board a ship searching for some missing Skraylings (alien-like Vinlandic trader race in this world). Mal & Coby find the survivors from the shipwreck on a small island, but they have killed themselves to avoid rebirth as humans and leave only a young boy, Ruviq, alive. Mal suspects that the unease he felt earlier, which lead to finding the dead skraylings, is the skrayling soul trapped in his body responding to those deaths.
For Mal and his twin Sandy share the reborn soul of the skrayling Erishen.

Following the discovery of the skrayling boy, Mal, on Youssef’s ship, sets off to return the boy to his hometown, whilst hoping to convince Ambassador Kiiren to let his mentally unwell brother Sandy return with him to England.

This world that Lyle has created is an alternate Shakespearian history where Mal works for Walsingham as an intelligencer (read spy). The sexual/romantic tension between Coby and Mal is still palpable, as is Ned’s affections for his friend Mal, despite his relationship with actor Gabriel.

This book is far richer if you have read the first novel. The mixed and complex relationships in the novel are vivid; Lyle’s honesty and bravery in creating attraction and love between men and in fact, alien species, does a lot to break down any barriers the reader may have and is realistic. The characters are lively, relatable and we thoroughly enjoy taking part in their adventures. And make no mistake, as the political intrigue increases and the action switches to Venice, this indeed becomes an adventure worth tagging along with.

If you’ve read the first book, this escalates the world and mythology. If you are new to this world, you can read this independently, but if were you, I would buy both books. They are simply brilliant, and I can’t wait for the next installment.

One Response to “Merchant of Dreams”

  1. Darren T Says:

    Very glad you enjoyed Merchant of Dreams Theresa. Prince of Lies will be on UK bookstore shelves in early November (or late Octoer for US/CAN and ebook).

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