book reviews by Althea

Unicorn and Dragon – Lynn Abbey ***

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OK historical fiction with a pagan/psychic element. I have to admit I picked it up due to the lovely Robert Gould cover.
The book is also supposed to be ‘illustrated’ by Robert Gould, but don’t buy this because of that: this edition, at least, has the very worst printing quality I’ve ever seen in a book, and most of the ‘illustrations’ are indistinguishable masses of grey dots.

The story: set in 11th-century Britain, two ‘sisters.’ Allison is blond, beautiful, legitimate and not only that, heir to secret pagan powers, including the ability to influence others’ minds. Wildecent is dark, unassuming, and seemingly without any remarkable powers. She’s also not Allison’s true sister – was she kidnapped? Adopted?
Into their manor house comes a young man, rescued from both wolves and outlaws. Since they don’t get to see new people too often in their sheltered life, it’s not unbelievable that both women develop crushes on him. Conflict and jealousy ensues, mixed in with magic and political conflict between Anglo-Saxon and Norman factions.

Not bad; there’s a sequel which I may pick up one of these days. It has a little bit of a Mists-of-Avalon feel to it.


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