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Name:
Location: Georgia, United States

I am me. More than I was, less than I will be. This is difficult. Facts-female, southern, mother and grandmother. Abstract-a Christian, a loner, intelligent, somewhat arrogant, impatient with stupidity, an unusual sense of humor.

7/02/2005

Lord Darcy

I really love this book. It is actually a compilation of 8 short stories and a novella that revolve around the central character of Lord Darcy.
The author is Randall Garrett, who wrote a number of science fiction novels in the fifties. Lord Darcy is not what I would consider science fiction. Nor is it quite what I would call fantasy. It is definitely different though.
The book in set in England and France in the 1960's. Lord Darcy is an investigator for His Royal Highness, the Duke of Normandy. The character is reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes in the way he solves crimes. He has a sidekick named Sean O Lochlainn who helps him with the technical aspects of the crime.
What really sets this book apart is a change in history. In Richard Garrett's world, Richard the Lion-Hearted, King of England, did not die in 1199. He survived the wound he suffered at the siege of Chaluz and returned home to England to become a great King. John Lackland never became one of the worst kings of England. The Magna Carta was never written. And history took a different turn. England and Europe were united under an English King of the Plantagenet line. There was no French revolution. The continents of the Americas were still discovered, but there was never a American revolutionary war.
And in the 1960's, a large portion of the free world is ruled by "Our Most Serene Lord, John IV, by the grace of God King and Emperor of England, France, Scotland, Ireland, New England and New France, Defender of the Faith.
Catholicism is the religion of the monarchy, since there was no Henry VIII to start the Church of England. And there was no Martin Luther to begin Protestant movement that split the church.
And one more major difference-magic. In Garrett's world, St. Hilary Robert worked out the laws of magic in the fourteenth century. Lord Darcy's sidekick, Sean O Lochlainn, is a master sorcerer. Magic is the science of Garrett's world.
In the story The Eyes Have It, Master Sorcerer Sean has to perform a spell to see if the bullet that killed the victim came from a certain gun. He explains to those watching about "the Law of Contagion"-that being any two objects which have ever been in contact with each other have an affinity for each other which is directly proportional to the product of the degree of relevancy of the contact and the length of time they were in contact and inversely proportional to the length of time since they have ceased to be in contact. Magic as a forensic tool.
The stories are consistently good mysteries, written with humor and surprising twists. I enjoyed.

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