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Lord Darcy (Lord Darcy #1-3)

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  703 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Welcome to an alternate world where Richard the Lion-Heart did not die in the year 1199... where magic is a science and science is an art... where the great detective Lord Darcy and the sorcerer Sean O'Lochlainn combine occult skills and brilliant deductions to bring criminals to the King's Justice and thwart those who plot against the Realm. Welcome to a world where murde ...more
Paperback, 673 pages
Published July 1st 2002 by Baen (first published 1966)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,346)
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Arun Divakar
The English royalty with all their pomp and splendor would have been quite a sight for the sore eyes in their days of glory. All that I have are faded photographs and a big bunch of written material about them. But then looking at some of the newspapers and tabloids having a field day when someone from the royal family is pregnant is enough indication of how it would have been in the old days. Randall Garrett envisages for his characters an England where monarchy never died. His world (even in t ...more
3.5 stars for the collection as a whole. The writing is simple and the characterizations are shallow, but the stories are fun. A little hokey, but fun. I was entertained by the setting and amused by the “scientific” applications of magic.

This 700-page omnibus contains the entire Lord Darcy series: 10 short stories and the Hugo-nominated novel Too Many Magicians. They are straightforward detective stories - mostly locked room mysteries - set in an alternate fantasy world where a large and prosper
IF you haven't seen this, don't feel bad. They ( it is a set) are hard to find unless someone has reprinted them. Imagine a world where Richard the Lion Hearted does not go goosing off to fight the infidels and stays home and tends to business. He ushers in an era of peace and prosperity....and magic. Yes the laws of magic are discovered. Centuries pass and enter Lord Darcy chief investigator for his majesty. Magic aids his investigations and he runs into some characters that are amazingly simil ...more
Mostly short stories containing a well-balanced mixture of mystery and magic. The characterization is painted in broad strokes, the emphasis is on the plot. Each story is intricately plotted with magical equivalents of our world’s forensic tests. (For example, instead of using a microscope to identify a gun as the murder weapon, they use a spell.)

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories lack the magical elements but are otherwise an *excellent* readalike match.
I first read about the Lord Darcy stories probably around 25 years ago, in some popular book about fantasy and SF. The concept -- a detective aided by a forensic sorcerer, solving crimes in a history where the Angevin Empire remained intact and where magic has been scientifically codified into a set of rigid principles -- appealed to me enormously, and has stuck in my head ever since. It's only with the Fantasy Masterworks reissue of all ten stories and one novel in a single volume that I've bee ...more
DeAnna Knippling
A fantastic set of locked-room murder mysteries set in a world where magic, rather than science, has taken the fore (although they do treat magic just as we would science). Lots of love thrown toward Rex Stout, Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, and others.

If you're in the set of people who like traditional mysteries AND fantasy, check it out.
Fraser Sherman
This edition combines two short story collections, one novel and a short story from an unrelated anthology. All concern Lord Darcy, brilliant detective in a world where the scientific principles underlying magic have been defined, and his sidekick, forensic magician Sean O'Lochlan. The stories are entertaining, though I think the greatest strength is his world, where magic is still magical, but comes off as a believable alternative system of science. The characterization is often flat, though, a ...more
A wonderful occult version of Shelock Holmes. The only weak story is the last one.
The long slog is over, and in some ways that is not a fair description of this book. Lord Darcy is the chief criminal investigator for the Duke of Normandy in an AU 20th century where the Plantagents still rule England (and France and parts of North and South America). The fault does not lie so much with Darcy or Garrett's writing, but the collection itself.

Rather my decision to read the collection without taking a break from the book. This tome collects all of the Darcy short stories and the on
This is a tough one. I've been wanting to read these stories for a long time, after having read "The Ipswich Phial" in at least a couple anthologies many, many years ago. And in terms of the premise and setting, the stories lived up to what I hoped they would be. Garrett has constructed an enjoyable world in these stories, and he's put some thought into how they evolved. The laws of magic he uses will be familiar to any reader of Isaac Bonewits (among others), so they mesh perfectly with the Eur ...more
Scott Marlowe
I picked up a copy of Lord Darcy by Randall Garrett a while back as part of my research into a potential future project that would blend the genres of fantasy and mystery. Lord Darcy is just that: alternate historical fiction blended with mystery. It's a world where Richard the Lion-Hearted did not die on the battlefield, but instead went on to build the foundation of the greatest empire the world has ever seen.

Lord Darcy is Chief Special Investigator for the Duke of Normandy and, as such, he's
Brilliant, Absolutely Brilliant. The detail that was put into this work is amazing. The world that Garrett creates and slowly reveals over the course of several short stories and one novel is incredibly detailed and interesting. The alternate history is quite believable, if one allows for the reformation to be focused on Magical Theory instead of the physical world. The Laws of Magic of this world are quite logical and the ways in which they are used are incredible.

The blurb gave me the impress
This was an interesting book to read. It's really a very straight forward series of "whodunits" in a very Conan Doyle style - but there's a quite intriguing twist in that Lord Darcy is operating in an alternate history; and quite a clever one at that.

Randall Garrett's Lord Darcy stories are set in the mid 1960s but in an England, or to be more precise, an Anglo French Empire, that is significantly different to our own history. Garrett's world is one in which the Plantagenet line has ruled unbrok
This is an alternate earth story where Richard I didn't die of the arrow wound in Chalus and the Plantagenet dynasty is going strong in the mid 20th century, having expanded the empire to encompass both the Americas (named New England and New France). Sometime in the 13th Century someone called St Hilary discovered the mathematics of magic and they've since developed it into a sophisticated science. In our terms their technical developments are 19th Century (gas lights, horse drawn vehicles) but ...more
Charlotte English
The Lord Darcy mysteries are comprised of 10 short stories (some longer than others) and one full-length novel. Most of them were written over the 1960s and 1970s. The really interesting part is that these are examples of alternate history; they’re set in the “real” world during those same 60s and 70s, but in this version of reality the Plantegenet dynasty has been ruling wisely and well for eight centuries and England still has a proper monarch even now. Additionally, there’s a form of magic – ...more
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
An interesting book. Probably the spiritual ancestor of The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump and even mannerist fantasy like Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot. (And arguably some of today's urban fantasy.) And perhaps the source of Mercedes Lackey's "invisibility spell without actually making the thing invisible." (It's not invisible, you're just compelled to look away.) So I'd say it's worth reading if you have an interest in the history of the genre. In and of itself ... I dunno. ...more
Michel Clasquin-Johnson
An enjoyable alterate-universe romp. Here, magic works and science is a fringe hobby of eccentrics. Loaded with in-jokes from Agatha Christie to Rex Stout by way of Ian Fleming, but you don't need to catch them to enjoy the stories. I'd love to see someone take this setting, but with a portal to our world.
The premise is wonderful. The execution is lacking.

The premise is that an English-French empire formed with the Plantagenet kings of England and that for 800 years the Plantegenets had ruled this empire. Throw into the mix that this is a universe where magic works but is considered a science and you have the basis for some interesting stories.

The problem is that the mystery element of the stories is lacking. Lord Darcy knows all, almost without effort, though we as the reader never have enough
Colin Birge
A re-read of one of my favorite classic SF series, an alternate modern world in which magic works, the Plantagenets rule a worldwide Anglo-French empire, and a guy who is not repeat not Sherlock Holmes must solve murder cases for king and country.

The biggest challenge for a mystery set in a world where magic works is to play fair with the reader. If there's a magic spell that could affect the outcome, it will be described. If politics or social norms are important, the story will go into detail
It took me a while to read the book, but that wasn't because it wasn't enjoyable. It's a collection of short stories, as well as one novella, all set in an alternate universe of the world we live in. Poland-Lithuania and Norman England have become the super powers. The Holy Roman Empire still exists - under British rule. It's great to try to puzzle out how things fit with what I know of history and what had changed. It's also great to have magic so completely integrated into the world. My sister ...more
Mike Holding
Lovely little snacks a 'la Sherlock Holmes.
Cara M
This was the best!
Stephen Dorneman
This collection of stories featuring the title character, a Holmesian investigator in an alternative universe where magic is the science of the day, is great fun, although if the 673 pages are read all at once, the Xth locked room mystery starts to look a lot like the X minus one story. It is a pleasure to see these all under one roof, however, and in the correct chronological order -- except for the Appendix, the story where Lord Darcy first meets his Sorceror Watson, and a great war story to b ...more
I enjoy the alternate history genre. A world that was mostly ruled by Plantagenet kings was too good to pass up. The world itself wasn't as believable as many other alternate universe books I've read, but the characters were entertaining. I enjoyed the straight forward mysteries and the magic aspect. In the end I would give the entire collection 3.5 stars. It was a little to long to keep me well entertained the whole time. I would recommend reading these stories one at a time.
"Lord Darcy, did you say?" The Armsman lifted his head suddenly from the notebook. "Lord Darcy, the famous investigator from Rouen?"

"That's right," said Lord Ashley.

"The same Lord Darcy," persisted the Armsman, who seemed to want to make absolutely sure of the identification, "who came over from Normandy to help Lord Bontriomphe solve the Royal Steward Hotel Murder?"

"The same," Lord Ashley said wearily.

"And he's gone and jumped in the
Elisabeth Waters
Lord Darcy's world has been my favorite alternate universe ever since I first encountered it. And Randall always had a way with words, from puns to expressions like "chromatically variant equine" to putting Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin into TOO MANY MAGICIANS and calling Mr. Goodwin "Lord Bontriomphe" (which is French for "good win"). Even if you don't get all of his obscure jokes, there's still his solid storytelling, fascinating world, and wonderful characters.
Another big favourite, often got back off the shelf again. I love the world, love the characters and the mysteries are pretty decent. And Randall Garrett had a great way with puns if you know where to look for them!

I wish Garrett had been able to write more of them, and it was a real shame he became so ill and it stopped him writing. It was also a pity that Michael Kurland, who wrote a couple later under licence which hit the right mood, never did any more.
Although I did read quite a few of the Lord Darcy Stories way back in German, there were I few in this complete collection, that I either did not remember or did not read at the time. It is quite amazing that there was not a dull moment in the book, even the stories I already knew, were still a good read. I highly recommend this classic to everyone who enjoys a good alternative world detective story with a touch of magic. Always worth a re-read.
These stories are some of those that I return to when I'm too tired for something new. Garrett obviously plotted out his alternate history in some detail, and the result is logical and self-consistent. Fans of the mystery, detective, and spy genres will find fan-service homages to their favorite characters within these stories, and will generally enjoy these stories in their own right.
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Randall Garrett's full name was Gordon Randall Phillip David Garrett. For more information about him see

He was married to Vicki Ann Heydron

His pseudonyms include: Gordon Randall Garrett, Gordon Aghill, Grandal Barretton, Alexander Blade, Ralph Burke, Gordon Garrett, David Gordon, Richard Greer, Ivar Jorgenson, Darrel T. Langart, Blake MacKenzie, Jonathan Bl
More about Randall Garrett...

Other Books in the Series

Lord Darcy (5 books)
  • Murder and Magic (Lord Darcy, #1)
  • Too Many Magicians (Lord Darcy, #2)
  • Lord Darcy Investigates (Lord Darcy, #3)
  • Ten Little Wizards (Randall Garrett's Lord Darcy)
  • Study In Sorcery
Too Many Magicians (Lord Darcy, #2) The River Wall (Gandalara Cycle, #7) The Gandalara Cycle I Murder and Magic (Lord Darcy, #1) The Gandalara Cycle II

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