Thursday, December 11, 2014

Forgotten Gems: Elizabeth Willey

A Sorcerer and a Gentleman (1995)
The Price of Blood and Honor (1996)
The Well-Favored Man (1993)

There are a hundred hundred books that are published every year, and it's inevitable that some of them never really find their audience. Which is too bad in this case, as Willey's slyly witty and absorbing books would, I think, sell very well alongside Susannah Clarke, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Matthew Hughes. These are books that blend Shakespearean names with Vancian wit and irreverance, and a dollop of something uniquely her own.
Willey wrote three books and then disappeared.  I've inquired of several longtimes members of fandom and the writing community, and noone knows what happened to her, which is a shame, as she had set up a world with room for growth, and a remarkable cast of characters.
Her first book, 'The Well-Favored Man' is actually chronilogically much later than the later two books, and has a few spoilers.  It's also the weakest of the three books by a significant degree, and I usually tell people to not bother with it.
With her second book, 'A Sorcerer and a Gentleman' we are introduced to Dewar, a remarkably self-assured young sorcerer with a complicated family.  Including his nearly immortal father and schemingly evil but delightful mother. Adventures occur, and intrigue, and betrayal.
With 'The Price of Blood and Honor' the bulk of the story shifts to Dewar's sister, Freia, who is completely ill-suited for the scheming of her family and miserably unhappy around them.  More adventure ensues. More intrigue.  And, of course, more betrayal.
The books are out of print, but you can pick them up used for very cheap. Give them a try, and thank me later!

1 comment:

  1. I agree - this series was such a great read. It is a true shame she never went any further with it. Did anyone, anywhere have any information on what happened to her, where she disappeared to? I'd think TOR, who published her books, would know.