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Anne Lyle

Anne Lyle(1962- )
Anne Lyle was born in what is popularly known as “Robin Hood Country”, and grew up fascinated by English history, folklore, and swashbuckling heroes. Unfortunately there was little demand in 1970s Nottinghamshire for diminutive swordswomen, so she studied sensible subjects like science and languages instead. It appears, however, that although you can take the girl out of Sherwood Forest, you can’t take Sherwood Forest out of the girl. She now spends practically every waking hour writing — or at least planning — fantasy fiction about dashing swordsmen and scheming spies, set in imaginary pasts or parallel worlds. Her particular obsession is Elizabethan England, so it helps that she now lives in a city full of medieval and Tudor buildings where the cattle browse on the common land much as they did in Shakespeare’s London. She prides herself on being able to ride a horse, sew a sampler and cut a quill pen but hasn’t the least idea how to drive one of those new-fangled automobile thingies. Paradoxically she is a big fan of 21st century technology, being a Mac geek and full-time web developer. Well, it’s the nearest thing you can get to magic in our own universe… Learn more at Anne Lyle’s website.


Marion chats with Anne Lyle

Anne Lyle’s first novel, The Alchemist of Souls, was released last week. Lyle is pretty busy right now, getting ready to attend Eastercon in England and working on The Prince of Lies, the second book in the trilogy, but she answered some questions for Fantasy Literature.

Anne Lyle

Marion Deeds: I suppose the fact that you grew up in Nottingham partially answers this question, but what inspired your love of swordplay?

Anne Lyle: Mostly it was watching Hollywood swashbucklers as a kid, as they were staple Sunday afternoon TV back in the days before cable. The Adventures of Robin Hood (naturally!), The Crimson Pirate, Scaramouche, The Three Musketeers — I lapped them all up.

One of the best things about The Alchemist of Souls Read More

The Alchemist of Souls: Eager for more

The Alchemist of Souls by Anne Lyle

Anne Lyle’s first novel, The Alchemist of Souls, is a big tankard of Elizabethan ale, foaming with intrigue, hidden identities, secret societies, treachery, plots, swordplay and magic. I can’t think of a much better way to spend a few hours than to curl up with this book.

Maliverny Catlyn is half English and half French, but a loyal English citizen. He has been a soldier, but now is reduced to taking jobs guarding warehouses and teaching merchants’ sons swordplay. Mal’s situation is more desperate than most, because he has to pay for the care of his twin brother Sandy, who languishes in Bedlam. Still, when Mal is pressed into the Queen’s service to be a bodyguard to the skrayling ambassador, he has serious second thoughts.

The skraylings are from the New World, and they bring marvelous inventions that look like magic. Skraylings have tattooed fa... Read More

The Merchant of Dreams: Still interesting, but not as good as the first book

The Merchant of Dreams by Anne Lyle

Anne Lyle continues her Elizabethan sword-and-cipher fantasy series NIGHT’S MASQUE with Book Two, The Merchant of Dreams. This book picks up almost a year after the end of The Alchemist of Souls, and follows Mal Catlyn and his friends on their adventures, which take place mostly on the ocean or in the city of Venice.

In Lyle’s universe, the New World is populated by skraylings, a non-human race who reincarnate and who use magic. The skraylings have a trade agreement with England, but they are distrusted, hated and even hunted down by some humans who think they are demons. Most people do not realize that a skrayling whose body is killed can reincarnate into, or “possess,” a human. Mal and his twin brother Sandy, who already share a soul, are both possessed by the skrayling Erishen, although Sandy is more of a host than Mal. In England and elsewhere in Europe, long-l... Read More

The Prince of Lies: Satisfying, but needed more skraylings

The Prince of Lies by Anne Lyle

Warning: This review may contain spoilers of the previous books.

The Prince of Lies, by Anne Lyle, finishes up the NIGHT'S MASQUE trilogy with plenty of magic, adventure and suspense. I wish it had more skraylings in it. I should be more specific. I wish it had more skraylings in their native form. Instead Mal Catlyn, his wife Coby and twin brother Sandy  must uncover and defeat the skraylings known as “guisers;” humans who are possessed by skrayling souls that entered their bodies instead of a skrayling infant’s, the normal process for their race. This particular group of guisers, who have been in Europe longer than most people realized, have plans to rule England.

Lyle tweaked the historical line of succession in the first book, The Alchemist of Souls, by creating a seventeenth century England where Queen Elizabeth I married Robert Dudley and th... Read More