is your source for affordable electronic fiction


Powered by FreeFind

Site search
Web search

    Review of FACE DOWN ACROSS THE WESTERN SEA by Kathy Lynn Emerson (see her website)


    St. Martin's Minotaur, April 2002

    The Spanish have pulled untold wealth from the Americas and have prevented the English from doing the same. In response, Queen Elizabeth has tasked Susanna, Lady Appleton and her friend Sir Walter Pendennis to lead a research team to discover some valid English claim to have discovered the Americas before Columbus. The pickings seem slim, but when one of the researchers is murdered, Susanna wonders whether the Spanish have discovered their mission--and have taken steps to prevent success.

    Susanna and Walter investigate the unlikely suspects--a small group of aging scholars from Cambridge and Oxford Universities. Yet what possible motives would they have for murder, and why would any of them be interested in supporting the Spanish claims? Still, there is definitely something going on beneath the surface--one of the scholars has been sneaking out of the manor at night and another has a daughter who has ended up in places a young and single woman shouldn't go.

    Author Kathy Lynn Emerson writes convincingly about this critical period in English history. Elizabeth holds the crown but is surrounded by enemies abroad and by Catholic and extreme protestant enemies at home. Emerson personalizes the mystery making both Susanna and Walter fully developed characters with conflicted desires and motivations that go far beyond simply solving a crime.

    Unfortunately for the novel, Susanna and Walter's personal lives are more interesting than, and not especially connected to the mystery itself. Indeed, the solution to the mystery comes as something of an anticlimax, not resolving the fundamental issues or advancing the personal goals of either primary character. FACE DOWN ACROSS THE WESTERN SEA is a pleasant read and contains intriguing history and historical speculation. Pretty good.

    Two Stars

    Purchase FACE DOWN ACROSS THE WESTERN SEA from (hardback).

    Rather buy it from Barnes and Noble?
    Click this link for FACE DOWN ACROSS THE WESTERN SEA from Barnes &