Simon Bisson (sbisson) wrote,
Simon Bisson

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A Sunday evening "Barbeque Season" Review - "The Grand Tour"

Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer's Sorcery and Cecelia is a delightful read, mixing Georgette Heyer-style Regency romance with a plot involving mystery, magic and derring do, all wrapped up in the correspondance between two cousins. It's been a good few years since we first met Cecy and Kate, and at last Wrede and Stevermer are ready to take us back to their world of magic, adventure and romance.

Starting right where Sorcery and Cecelia left off, The Grand Tour is a tale of happy ever after, or at least of life after the bells and flowers...

Now that Cecilia and Kate have married James and Thomas, they're off around Europe on honeymoon, exploring the cities and the antiquities, experiencing life in the wake of the Napoleonic wars, and shopping. Oh, and getting mixed up in matters magical. Someone is stealing royal regalia from across Europe, and someone else appears to be conducting arcane rituals in strange places. From Paris to Rome (via the Alps, Milan and Venice) our happy honeymooners stumble into trouble. Acting as Welllington's unofficial agents, it's up to them to save the day - and Europe - from a diabolical scheme.

In a similar vein to Sorcery and Cecelia, The Grand Tour uses a commonplace book and a piece of testimony to tell the story. It's not quite as effective a technique as the letters of the earlier volume - Cecy's testimony is a little dry, with Kate's commonplace book containing the little touches that added so much life to the first novel, and often the two tales retell the same events from different viewpoints. Building on their earlier works, Wrede and Stevermer also use the story to expound on the basis of the scientific magic in a world exploring the benefits of the Age of Reason.

A fun, light read, promising more to come.

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