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Friday, November 1, 2013

Revenant Eve By Sherwood Smith

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Terrance McArthur

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of this post.

Sherwood Smith has developed her fictional nation of Dobrenica over two previous books (Coronets & Steel, Blood Spirits). It’s a tiny, European monarchy where magic works, vampires lurk, and–if the people are living in harmony–the whole country can disappear from this world for decades at a time. Kim Murray was a California educator until her bloodlines caught up with her and she found herself engaged to Dobrenica’s future Crown Prince. And this is where things get weird (Okay, they were already weird, but this is major “Say-What?” time) in the third book in the series, Revenant Eve.

Two weeks before the wedding, the patron saint of Dobrenica sends Kim’s soul two centuries back in time to the Napoleonic era, to act as a spirit guide in the Caribbean (a duppy) to the girl who would become a great-great ancestor to Kim and many Dobrenican nobles, and to make sure the youngster gets to the magical kingdom by way of England and France. Aurelie is the twelve-year-old daughter of a female pirate and an escaped slave, and Kim can only communicate with her through mirrors, where she engages in much pantomime.

Image source: Penguin

As the girl grows, she is sent to very-British relatives who are horrified when they learn the true nature of her heritage, but thrilled with Aurelie’s fortune entrusted to their care, so they do what they can to get rid of her. Adrift in Paris, the young woman catches hold of distant relations and is soon living with Empress Josephine Bonaparte. All through this, Kim is primarily an observer, looking for a way to steer her charge toward Dobrenica and her destiny, but she eventually gets to be an active participant in the story across many planes of existence.

This is a major change from Smith’s previous plots, and some reader/reviewers don’t approve. I enjoyed the opportunity to explore other cultures, other times and other dimensions. There are sections of differing paces, from slow and thoughtful to “Something strange just happened and I only got a glimpse of it” to “Let me hold on to something! We just shifted into warp speed!” It’s great fun, and it will be interesting to see if Kim’s marriage will cause the Blessing that erases Dobrenica from the view of the world. Of course, with some of the divisive forces in the country, that may take a while to happen–the better for us, because we’ll get to read all about their delicious problems!

To enter to win a copy of Revenant Eve, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Eve”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 9, 2013. U.S. residents only.

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a California-born, Valley-raised librarian/entertainer/writer. He lives in Sanger, four blocks from the library, with his wife and daughter.

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