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When The King Comes Home    by Caroline Stevermer order for
When The King Comes Home
by Caroline Stevermer
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2001 (2000)
Hardcover, Paperback
* * *   Reviewed by Wesley Williamson

Caroline Stevermer's earlier fantasy, A College of Magics, was a delightful and frolicsome romp through a Ruritanian Europe enlivened with a little magic. This time, her story is set in a vaguely Renaissance country, with a surfeit of art, magic - and magical art.

Hail Rosmer's family is prominent in the wool trade, but Hail is determined to become a great artist. She succeeds in becoming apprenticed to the famous painter Angelica Carriera, in the capital city of Aravis. She also becomes obsessed with the fabled artist Maspero, who lived in the times of the Good King Julian - still fondly remembered after two hundred years. After secretly making a copy of Maspero's famous Siege Medal, Hail is blackmailed by another apprentice, Gabriel, and breaks his skull with her basket. She sets off home in panic, but on the way meets an old man who looks exactly like the long dead King Julian, and her adventures begin.

When The King Comes Home is a much subtler book than A College of Magics but just as entertaining, with very well-drawn characters, an exciting story, a mythical love triangle, and above all, a Renaissance landscape in vibrant colour.

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