The Serpent’s Shadow: A Penny Dreadful Review
Exotic ancient magic and a progressive suffragette. A secret society and a well-known fairy tale. One of my favorite authors and Edwardian London. The Serpent’s Shadow, by Mercedes Lackey, is the first of her Elemental Masters series. It is an excellent, engrossing story set in a detailed world. It also contains a very subtle rebelling of Snow White, which I did not realize until somebody poisoned an apple. I found that to be a delightful surprise.
Dr. Maya Witherspoon has recently emigrated to London from her native India. She flees from the dark magic that has slain her parents. She opens a women’s health clinic to help the chorus girls and streetwalkers of London’s underclasses. She makes a comfortable home for herself, protected by her loyal servants, her several pets, and her cobbled-together magical knowledge. Though her mother was a sorceress, Maya knows very little. Has the mysterious force, the serpent’s shadow, that her mother feared followed her to this small foggy island?
Mercedes Lackey has a gift for creating interesting heroes. They seem like genuine people. This makes any book by her hand a treat. The Edwardian setting is well-researched and vividly evoked. I feel as if I could take a train to London and actually locate Maya’s clinic.
I rate The Serpent’s Shadow at four and a half gears out of five. I certainly intend to read the volumes that follow, and I recommend you do the same. It is different, intriguing, and scented with all the species of India.
Your Correspondent from the Bookstore,
Penny J. Merriweather