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The Gates of Sleep


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About the Author

Mercedes Lackey is a full-time writer and has published numerous novels and works of short fiction, including the best-selling Heralds of Valdemar series. She is also a professional lyricist and a licensed wild bird rehabilitator. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, artist Larry Dixon, and their flock of parrots. She can be found at mercedeslackey.com or on Twitter at @mercedeslackey.


Adult/High School-Fanciful and winsome, Sleep is a fantastical version of "Sleeping Beauty" set in England at the turn of the 20th century. Taken care of by family friends since infancy and surrounded by mages, Marina lives a charmed life. Befriended by water sprites, nymphs, and the like, she slowly comes to know why her loving parents sent her away. Tragically, just before her 18th birthday, they die in an "accident," and Marina is ripped from her idyllic country home by her coldly beautiful Aunt Arachne. The woman is controlling and harsh, yet even to the magically gifted she doesn't appear evil. Despite the lack of evidence, Marina's instincts gnaw at her, and fortunately she listens. A visit to one of her aunt's pottery factories provides unpleasant revelations both physical and metaphysical. Old-fashioned manners, dress, and speech set the tone in this pleasantly escapist novel. Mixed in are light touches of modern issues such as feminism and eco-awareness. YAs who liked fairy tales as kids will enjoy Lackey's spin on an old favorite.-Sheila Shoup, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Putting a fresh face to a well-loved fairytale is not an easy task, but it is one that seems effortless to the prolific Lackey, best known for her Valdemar series (Arrows of the Queen, etc.). In a brilliant twist, the author sets the classic story of Sleeping Beauty in Edwardian England, imbuing her characters with the power of elemental magic, including the cursed child herself, Marina Roeswood. In an uninvited visit to her christening, Marina's evil aunt, Arachne, arrives in a puff of smoke and delivers a deadly curse, which is mitigated by the blessing of a family friend who imparts one last gift on the baby. Marina's guardians spirit her away to the Devon countryside to grow up. When we next see her, Marina is galloping through her 17th year, pursuing her magical training, though her guardians have tragically kept her ignorant of the curse. The inevitable triggering of said curse, when she turns 18, pits Marina's intelligence, cunning and magic skills against the full force of satanic evil. Beautiful phrasing and a thorough grounding in the dress, mannerisms and history of the period help move the story along gracefully. Marina's character, along with those of her guardians, her friends and Arachne, are fully fleshed out and credible. The fact that a teenage half-trained water mage would even dare to take on a 40ish satanist may be a bit implausible, but only on second thought. This is a wonderful example of a new look at an old theme. (Apr. 2) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Praise for the Elemental Masters series:

"The Paris of Degas, turn-of-the-century Blackpool, and the desperation of young girls without family or other protection come to life in a story that should interest a broad readership." --Booklist "All in fine fairy-tale tradition.... It's grim fun, with some nice historical detail, and just a hint of romance to help lighten things." --Locus "The action and dialogue flow freely, mingling with beautiful descriptions of European countryside and just a hint of romance.... A well-developed heroine and engaging story." --Publishers Weekly "The fifth in the series involving the mysterious Elemental Masters, this story of a resourceful young dancer also delivers a new version of a classic fairy tale. Richly detailed historic backgrounds add flavor and richness to an already strong series that belongs in most fantasy collections. Highly recommended." --Library Journal "Lackey's fantastical world of Elementals, plus her delightful Nan and Sarah, create an amusing contrast for Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes and John Watson.... The mix of humor, history, fantasy, and mystery is balanced in a way that any reader could pick up the book and thoroughly enjoy it from beginning to end." --RT Reviews "The Elementals novels are beautiful, romantic adult fairy tales. Master magician Mercedes Lackey writes a charming fantasy." --Worlds of Wonder "Ms. Lackey is a master in fantasy, and this visit to an alternate historical England is no exception. Vivid characterization and believable surroundings are flawlessly joined in a well-detailed world." --Darque Reviews

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