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A Star Shall Fall    by Marie Brennan order for
Star Shall Fall
by Marie Brennan
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2010 (2010)
Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Marie Brennan's A Star Shall Fall follows Midnight Never Come and In Ashes Lie in a historical fantasy series, in which a faerie queendom exists beneath London, England. In 1682, the faeries barely managed to exile the Dragon Spirit of Fire (who almost burned down the city) to Halley's Comet. Now the comet returns to Earth.

What ensues is a lengthy search, employing both faerie magic and human science, for a means to defeat the dragon, and save London from being ravaged again. In addition to this major crisis looming, faerie queen Lune has political problems as well - Sanists plot against her, convinced that previous injuries she suffered (including a crippled hand) weaken her rule. Her human Prince (whose role is to liaise between faerie and his own kind), Galen, desperately loves Lune, but she has guarded her heart since the death of her first Prince of the Stone.

Though Galen worships Lune, that doesn't prevent him from succumbing to the advances of sprite Irrith, who has returned to London from the countryside, and joins the group working to defeat the dragon. Galen attends Royal Society meetings, hoping for inspiration from human scientific advances, and reveals the faerie realm to Dr. Andrews, seeking his help. He also gives in to his father's demands to repair the family fortunes through a wealthy wife - luckily he finds a woman, Delphia Northwood, whose intelligence he can respect. He takes Delphia to the Onyx Court.

The story develops (rather slowly and steadily), with many ideas that either fail completely or only buy time, and with plots and counter-plots involving different faerie and human factions. It ultimately becomes clear that a sacrifice will be required to stop the Dragon once and for all - but who will make it? If you enjoy historical fantasy, then you'll find this an intriguing series.

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