No two persons ever read the same book. --Edmund Wilson

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013/36: Newt's Emerald -- Garth Nix

She was uncertain on the theology of whether someone of fay parentage actually had a soul, but thought it better to err on the side of caution. [loc. 2673]
The cover reminds me of Joan Aiken's Hanoverian books: the content, of Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer's Sorcery and Cecilia, though Newt (a.k.a. Lady Truthful Newington) hasn't quite the depth of Kate or Cecilia. On the other hand, she does masquerade as a man -- as the dashing French Chevalier Henri de Vienne -- in order to search Regency London for the Newington Emerald, which was stolen from her father during a storm of magical provenance. Not only is the Emerald her ancient birthright, it's also a magical artifact powerful enough to rescue Napoleon from his immurement half a mile deep in the solid granite of Gibraltar ...

Newt's Emerald has all the ingredients of a swashbuckling romance: mistaken identity, dashing soldiers, women dressed as men, desperate chases and gallant (but impractical) promises from upper-class youths. It's a short, frothy, cheerful read: not especially deep, but entertaining and witty.

I was pleased to note that the author, in his Afterword, notes that "one of the great 'research' pleasures I engaged in during the rewriting of this book was to re-read all of Heyer’s Regency romances, most of Austen, and the entire Aubrey-Maturin series." [loc. 2849]. And I'd still like to read the original novel of which this was part: "[Newt's Emerald] was a book within a book, a thriller set in a publishing house that receives a Regency romance manuscript which contains clues to a criminal conspiracy. "[loc. 2838]

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