Monday, November 9, 2009

The Silver Skull-Mark Chadbourn

The Silver Skull
Mark Chadbourn
Pyr, Nov 2009, $16.00
ISBN 9781591027836

Will Swyfte may be Elizabethan England's greatest spy, but he is used to thwarting no one as his image is just that, a fa├žade to give the beleaguered people a hero. However, this time his superior Walsingham assigns Swyfte to a real project. He must prevent the Faerie and their Spanish minion from acquiring the Skull, the Key and the Shield; if the enemy obtains the three magical artifacts Britain as we know it will be no more.

The Cold War between England and Spain appears ready to turn hot as Spain and its ally Faerie are posed to invade. However, the Queen's sorcerer Dr John Dee has brought back some balance between the adversaries. It is now up to the swashbuckling showman to prove he is the real deal with Dee providing him the latest in magical and mundane technology.

The first Swords of Albion Elizabethan historical fantasy is a fun swashbuckling thriller with a James Bond in a late sixteenth century paranormal England and somewhat Spain set up. The story line is fast-paced and filled with action while also somewhat reminding readers of Elizabeth Bear’s Prometheus Age series. From Drake with love to the Armada, to a deep connection to modern issues of national security vs. personal freedoms including the torture debate, THE SILVER SKULL is a fabulous Swyfte thriller.

Harriet Klausner

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