This Scepter’d Isle by Mercedes Lackey and Roberta Gellis

This Scepter'd IslePublished: 2004

Genre: historical fantasy

Length: 672 pages

Setting: England during the reign of Henry VIII

Interest: A random book off my Kindle that I chose mainly because I know I enjoy Lackey’s writing.

Summary: The Seleighe and Unseleighe Sidhe have both received the same Far Seeing vision of the future of England. If a red-haired babe comes to power, England with flower and increase in power, science and the arts. If Princess Mary comes to power, she will bring the Inquisition. The two courts hope the opposite vision comes true and put factions in play in the mortal world to ensure the desired future. Henry FitzRoy, a bastard of King Henry who won’t be king, is nevertheless an important key to the future. Denorial, a Seleighe elf in the guise of a Turkish nobleman, becomes FitzRoy’s fairy guardian and foils several attempts by Rhoslyn and Pasgen (Denorial’s half-siblings raised in the Unseleighe Court) on FitzRoy’s life. The Sidhe learn Anne Boyelyn will be the mother of the child, so there is much politicking to have the child be legitimate or a bastard. When the babe, Elizabeth, is born, FitzRoy becomes her protector.

Final thoughts: An excellent book combining the best of historical fiction with fairy. There was lots of political maneuvering in both the mortal and Unseleighe courts, but the book manages to end with a big battle between the forces of good and evil. We got to follow the characters for several years, watching their relationships (especially that between FitzRoy and Denorial) grow and develop. There was also a strong sense of history and place, since everyone but the Sidhe were actual people. Several times the author’s provided more details about everyday life in medieval England that normally wouldn’t be discussed as a contrast to life Underhill.

Title comes from: Not an obvious one. May refer to the ruler of England, since that was the setting and focus of the book. (And I will say, the cover is particularly lame – not a fan.)

Reading challenges fulfilled: 39/100 in the Read-a-Latte Challenge


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