In Ashes Lie, by Marie Brennan

In Ashes Lie [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon] is Marie Brennan’s sequel to Midnight Never Come, which I reviewed here.  Set a hundred years later in seventeenth century England, book two follows Lune, now queen of the Onyx Court, and Antony Ware, the human who rules at her side as Prince of the Stone.

As England falls into civil war, Lune must face enemies both from other faerie realms and within her own court.  Her enemies attack both the Onyx Court and London above.  Intrigue and betrayal and would-be assassins, all leading to the release of a dragon who threatens to burn all of London, and to destroy Lune and her court.

The historical detail in these books is … hm.  Let me put it this way.  Brennan researches the crap out of these novels.  You can see her research bibliography, as well as the details of her trips to London, on her web site.  That work pays off, resulting in a London that feels real down to every last detail.

The first part of the book felt a little slow to me.  Brennan takes us through the beginning of the English Civil War and the execution of King Charles (I assume it’s not a spoiler if it happened over three hundred years ago).  While the story is interesting, this series is most engaging to me when we see the parallels between the human and faerie realms, and the faerie side felt a bit nebulous in the beginning.  (By the end, on the other hand, you couldn’t pry the book out of my hands.)

I loved some of the secondary characters in this one: the giant Prigurd Nellt, the faerie knight Sir Cerenel, the doctor John (Jack) Ellin … and of course, the Goodemeades are always wonderful.

It’s a fascinating world.  The details of the Onyx Court and its magic, the rituals of faerie, the intertwining of human and fae history.  The third book, A Star Shall Fall, comes out on August 31 of this year, but I’m fortunate enough to have an ARC waiting for me to dive into 🙂

Like I said in the review of the first book, if you’re looking for action-heavy page-turning adventure, this might not be the book for you.  If you enjoy richer worldbuilding and historical fantasy, I highly recommend the series.  And if you’re undecided, head over to Brennan’s site and read an excerpt.

If you’ve been reading the series, what did you think?