Ann's Reviews > Gloriana's Torch

Gloriana's Torch by Patricia Finney
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's review
Oct 12, 09

bookshelves: historical-fiction, fantasy-and-sf
Read in October, 2009

I'm not sure I've ever classified a book as both historical fiction and fantasy before. The approaching invasion of the Spanish Armada is seen from the point of view of numerous players, including an English former warrior whose heart is true but whose reputation and strength are in ruins, a Jewish couple who set out undercover to find the Armada's secret plan, a priest turned assassin, the Queen herself, double and triple agents in several countries, an inquisitor with more secrets than even he knows, and the chief narrator, Merula, an African princess who allows herself to be taken as a slave in order to search for her son, also sold into slavery. Through Merula's dreamsight and the prophecy-dreams of other characters, we see alternate versions and visions of history.

This is a real page-turner and while those more knowledgeable than I about the Armada might find fault, I was certainly swept up in its scope and its detail, as well as its exciting plot and characters. I have only a few faults to find. Finney's vocabulary, while colorful, seems to be somewhat limited and redundant (out-of-breath characters repeatedly "crow" for air); and speaking of redundant, I think that as with most books of this length, a little judicious editing would not have been amiss. And speaking of editing, where are the copy-editors of yesteryear? Shakespeare, who makes a brief appearance, made up his spellings as he went - we're in the computer age now, and I expect better. But apart from such quibbles, it's a good, rip-roaring, lusty read.

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