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This Scepter'd Isle

(Doubled Edge #1)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  1,321 ratings  ·  32 reviews
God Save the Queen! (With the help of the Sidhe of Elfland . . .) Two Masters of Historical Fantasy Join Forces in a New Epic-First Time in Paperback!

The FarSeers among the Sidhe of Elfhame Avalon have seen two visions of the future. In one, an evil queen will take the throne and welcome the Inquisition in, debauching the nation and threatening even the elf strongholds thr
Paperback, 662 pages
Published February 1st 2005 by Baen (first published January 1st 2004)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  1,321 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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Jul 30, 2014 rated it liked it
A wonderful romp through Tudor England. The obsessive categorist will ponder whether to classify this work as historical fiction or fantasy. It’s both. The historical characters and period are presented in fine focus, and the world and peoples of Sidhe just as well. Plot is intricate; the names daunting; the period critical for Underhill as much as Overhill England.

Most of us are passingly familiar with Henry VII and his wives. Here the story is retold from the point of view of the next generati
Dec 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
As a lover of both historical fiction and fantasy, this s my all-time favorite Mercedes Lackey series. Unlike many "historical" novels, this one did not drive me to mutter "but that didn't happen!!" every third page. Lackey and Gellis know their Tudor history, and I love the way some of the historical mysteries are logically explained as "It was elves." It is a favorite re-read of mine, already worn out and replaced once.
Marc *Dark Reader of the Woods*
On the upside, I learned some new words: settle (a type of bench), cortege (a traveling procession), nuncheon (snack time!), chaffer (to haggle).


Overly descriptive, repetitive, poorly paced. I have read so many descriptions of settles now, many of them apparently luminous, that I wish I could voluntary expunge from my memory engrams. For every plot laid, every multi-layered magical protection plan, every action sequence, you can be sure that it will be
Oct 06, 2011 added it
I think I'm going to remember my Tudor history better from this series than from any other books about the era that I've read. Elves notwithstanding!
Mar 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The family life of King Henry VIII was crucial to the direction of European development. To us, those changes look inevitable. At that time, such little things could have tipped the balance.

In THIS SCEPTER’D ISLE, one of those little things is a six year old boy, an illegitimate son of King Henry, named Harry. The Sidhe FarSeers, from the Elven worlds of Seleighe and Unseleighe (bright and dark magickers respectively) have scryed two possible futures. In one, a red-haired child of Henry VIII ru
Feb 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
I had the chance to pick this and the two volumes in this series at a steal ($2 ea.!). It was slow getting into this richly detailed book, but towards the end, I found it hard to put down. Mix the court of Henry VIII and the world of the Sidhe, and you have a fascinating fantasy take on English history. Thoroughly enjoyable, and I look forward to the remaining two volumes. BTW, Mercedes Lackey ought to be one of the cornerstones of anyone's collection of fantasy writers. Prolific and generally e ...more
Gwynne Eldridge
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoy the juxtaposition of Roberta Gellis' well-researched historical fiction with Mercedes Lackey's superbly developed fantasy. A truly enjoyable way to learn about the Tudors. Gellis has been a favorite since I read the Roselynde chronicles. Her attention to historical detail about the everyday lives of her characters; Lackey's elfhames and their characters truly elevate the novel to high fantasy
Jan 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
An intriguing take on the Tudor period of time. Having recently watched the tv series The Tudors, I was certainly open to interpretation of the facts as others saw them.
I found the book to be one of those that you have a hard time putting down till it is finished!
An enthralling read from cover to cover.
Sep 22, 2009 rated it it was ok
I could only manage a few chapters before I gave up. This doesn't seem like Lackey at all. It's overly simplistic, the main characters are flat and idiotic. Overall it reads like bad fantasy. Perhaps I'll give it another chance in the future, but for now it just isn't at all appealing.
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was such a fun read. If you love historical fiction that is more towards the fantasy side of fiction, this is a must read. It will be helpful to have a basic understanding of the Tudors though. Thankfully, I love all things Tudor and was able to jump into the book right away. I’ve already started the second in the series. This isn’t a book for someone who simply wishes for clean historical facts and “realistic scenarios”. This book is about the fae, magick, witchcraft, sorcery, and love. Yo ...more
Mar 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

God Save the Queen! (With the help of the Sidhe of Elfland . . .) Two Masters of Historical Fantasy Join Forces in a New Epic-First Time in Paperback!

The FarSeers among the Sidhe of Elfhame Avalon have seen two visions of the future. In one, an evil queen will take the throne and welcome the Inquisition in, debauching the nation and threatening even the elf strongholds throughout the land. In another, a red-haired child will grow up to take the throne and usher in a golden age of literatur

Edward Butler
Mar 16, 2010 rated it liked it
I'm really looking forward to the sequels, because I think they'll be much better, and I love Elizabethan fantasy. This book feels like extravagant stage setting for the subsequent books; I suspect that the average reader would find it sufficient to start with the second book, especially inasmuch as we are introduced in the first book to many fairies who will (I presume) feature in the sequels, but few of the humans will, and those who do are not major characters here. This is a problem, since m ...more
Aug 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Two sets of sidhe (fairy) twins, one set Seleighe and the other Unseleighe, work behind the scenes to control who becomes Henry VIII's heir. Both sides are driven by FarSeer visions of the future of England. The Unseleighe want Mary to become queen, so the Inquisition and its horrors will provide their court sustenance. The Seleighe work to protect Henry Fitzroy so that a "red-haired infant" (Elizabeth I)can bring a golden age of peace, prosperity, and enlightenment to England.

More likely to app
Deborah Ideiosepius
I love this book and it was a pleasure to re-read. All the political striving and convolutions of the Tudors, but with a twist; the Sidhe have a vested interest in the future of England and the dark and light courts are using princess Mary and Henry FitzRoy, bastard son of Henry the eighth as a battleground...

In this novel, the first of an excellent series two authors I am very fond of come together. All the amazing historical knowledge and deft writing of Roberta Gellis bring the best out of Me
Clare Deming
I honestly couldn't finish this book. I made it about halfway through before I gave up on it. The premise was interesting to start with: the fae/sidhe try to protect the bastard son of Henry VIII. They work against the bad sidhe, who will gain power if they fail.

Denoriel is the main character and is slightly annoying, but this was not what killed the book for me. The plot is simply boring. Denoriel anticipates what his enemies will do and sets up ways to thwart them. The bad sidhe are then thwar
Elvie Doll
My detailed review of this awesome book can be found here, courtesy of the wonderful book blog Paperback Dolls.

"If you mourned when The Tudors went off the air, and occasionally take your fiction spiced with a little fantasy, This Scepter'd Isle is for you. It is a thoroughly enjoyable start to a series that just gets better with every book."
Sep 16, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. I admit, most of my enjoyment of it comes from playing Changeling: the Dreaming, but I respected the way that both authors collaborated to create a well-developed and seamless world from which to tell the story.

I felt that the prose was a little overbearing at times, however, and that put me off from a lot of it. I think that those parts were few and far between, however.
May 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
As a whole, this series did not impress me. It was written more to tell than show, violating a damn good rule of writing, and it told you over and over and over again, as if the reader was expected to forget pertinent facts between page 20 and page 120.

I think this first book was the best of the four.
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful take on the Tudor era in England. This one covers the section of Henry the Eighth's reign when he finally divorces Catherine of Aragon and marries Anne Boleyn - finishes with Anne's death. The Sidhe have taken an interest in the Tudors as what happens in the mortal world affects their lives Underhill and the far-seers have seen that there could be trouble coming once Henry dies.
Jan 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Wow. How wonderful to read a Mercedes Lackey book again. I'm looking forward to the next one in the series. This one kept me turning pages from beginning to end and of course it's about my favourite time in history.
Feb 15, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2008
Enjoyable fluff read about elves in Tudor England. First in series.
I tried. I really did.

I kept going. But I couldn't suspend disbelief enough and the characters all seemed to run together.

Sorry Misty.
This Scepter'd Isle by Mercedes Lackey (2000)
Feb 17, 2009 rated it did not like it
Boring. Just couldn't get through it. Nice premise, but extremely slow start. I fainally gave up after 100+ pages.
Feb 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
One of my very favorite books of all time
Kathy Davie
Sep 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Sorry, I mixed 'em up. THIS is the story that mixes elves and Elizabethan history. A fascinating tale.
Jessica Mahler
Jul 26, 2012 rated it liked it
A solid read, I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the sequel.
Noreen Cournoyer
Dec 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Lovely book. Really well done. Very entertaining blend of Tudor historical fiction and fantasy.
Veronica Lindsey
Apr 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Good fantasy novel. Will read the rest of the series.
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Mercedes entered this world on June 24, 1950, in Chicago, had a normal childhood and graduated from Purdue University in 1972. During the late 70's she worked as an artist's model and then went into the computer programming field, ending up with American Airlines in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In addition to her fantasy writing, she has written lyrics for and recorded nearly fifty songs for Firebird Arts & M ...more

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Doubled Edge (4 books)
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