Reviews tagged "alternate history"


Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis

In a very-alternate history World War II, a German mad scientist has produced an elite squad of supermen. Rigged with batteries and wires, these young adults have various preternatural abilities: the ability to turn incorporeal, a prescient knowledge of the future, the power of telekinesis, and more. When a British spy uncovers evidence of the […]


The Affinity Bridge by George Mann

This book makes me like the term “speculative fiction” even more than I did before. How does one classify as either science fiction or fantasy a novel which involves robots, zombies, airships, and clairvoyance? Investigator Sir Maurice Newbury and his assistant Veronica Hobbes find themselves attempting to sort out three apparently unrelated mysteries: a horrifyingly […]


Mainspring by Jay Lake

Movie trailers have made the phrase “in a world” cliche, but that’s exactly how a description of Mainspring has to begin: in a world where God is literally a clockmaker, and the Earth orbits the sun on a bronze track; where Christians worship the Brass Christ and pray “Our Father, who art in Heaven, Craftsman […]


Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer

It’s 1817 in an England where one can attend investitures at the Royal College of Wizards. Kate, a young lady of not terribly rich family, is going to London for her first Season, while her cousin Cecy has to remain in the country. Almost immediately Kate is nearly killed when she stumbles into a trap […]


The Grand Tour by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer

In this sequel to Sorcery and Cecelia, Kate and Cecy are headed off to the Continent for a honeymoon with their husbands Thomas and James. They have barely started, however, when a mysterious woman hands Kate a vial of the long-lost magical chrism that can anoint a man true king of France. Soon the four […]


The Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers

One of the main pleasures about Tim Powers’ books is the pleasingly baroque sentences that result when you attempt to summarize their premises. The Stress of Her Regard, for instance, is based on the idea that vampires are really succubi, who are really the nephelim from Genesis, who are really silicon-based lifeforms, who are also […]


His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

It is the year 1805. The Napoleonic Wars are waging, and under the command of Captain Will Laurence, HMS Reliant has just captured a French frigate carrying a dragon egg. Laurence’s life is changed forever when the dragon hatches and immediately bonds with him. Since dragons are necessary to England’s defence, and since they cannot […]


The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

NB: This book was not marketed as fantasy. But it has vampires in it. In my opinion (and let’s hope I’m right!), that means it’s fantasy. Hence, the review. What do you get when you cross Bram Stoker’s Dracula with A. S. Byatt’s Possession? You get The Historian, a book about a pair of obsessed […]


The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers

Words like “uniquely bizarre” are practically clich├ęs when it comes to describing Tim Powers’ books, but they are no less true for that — and, as always, fully applicable to this enjoyable, zany novel about time travel. And Lord Byron, and ancient Egyptian gods, and a body-stealing werewolf, and kas, and a terrifyingly villainous deformed […]


The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

I had difficulty deciding whether to classify this book as fantasy or sci-fi; basically, it’s just fluff with elements of both. But enjoyable, charming fluff, which makes for an entertaining if not extremely edifying read. The book is set in 1985, in an alternate-history England — a world in which England has been at war […]