Simon Bisson (sbisson) wrote,
Simon Bisson

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A Saturday Morning "I Should Be Packing" Review: Stealing The Elf-King's Roses

Diane Duane is a consistently inventive writer who has managed to put an original spin to existing franchises, as well as producing her own well crafted worlds. Her latest novel, Stealing The Elf-King's Roses, is something of a new departure, mixing SF, high fantasy and a CSI-style police procedural into a coherent whole.

Lee Enfield (an amusing choice of names!) is a prosecuting lanthomancer in a Los Angeles that isn't quite our own. Part of a sheaf of universes that includes ours, hers is a world that mixes high technology with deep magic. Specialist investigators like Lee and her intelligent, talking hound partner Gelert are able to "see" into crimes, effectively re-enacting them, by bringing the all too real spirit of Justice into the world. But her world isn't the only one accessible. Already 6 universes are linked by physical gates that allow someone to walk from one Earth to another. Some worlds are the embodiments of other worlds' myths, while others, like the elf-home Alfheim, have significantly different physical laws.

Called in to help the LAPD investigate the murder of an elven scientist, Lee finds herself caught up in plots that span universes - plots that could lock the worlds into a potentially dangerous configuration. Alternately manipulated and informed, Lee must enter the closed universe of Alfheim as a part of a UN inspection team. It's there that she'll learn the secrets the elves have kept from the rest of the universes, and will find herself in a position to make one of the biggest changes possible.

Duane's light style and deft touch make this a quick and easy read. And yet, there is a deeper story under the light detective story - a tale that explores the questions of whether there is a purpose to the universe, and how our lives reach out and affect those around us, wherever we are, whatever we do. My only real reservation is that at times her elves feel like her revision of Star Trek's Romulans, the Rihannsu.

Well worth reading. And it's fun, too. Somehow I get the feeling we may well see more of Lee Enfield.

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