The Armor of Light is an Elizabethan alternate history, in which magic works the way Elizabethan Englishmen thought it should. In this novel, Christopher Marlowe, one of England's greatest poets and playwrights, didn't die in the tavern brawl that killed him in our world, because Sir Philip Sidney, one of England's greatest soldiers and courtiers, did not die of the wound he received at Zutphen several years earlier, so he was in the right place at the right time to save Marlowe. Therefore, when Queen Elizabeth's horoscope reveals a terrible danger from a Scottish wizard, Sidney and Marlowe, both students of magic, are available to travel to Scotland and face the danger. Sidney and Marlowe reach the Scottish court, confront both the magical threat and intrigue from all sides (including dangers from their presumed allies), and receive help from unexpected quarters.
Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Barnett, working from a deep knowledge of Elizabethan history, have built a convincingly realistic and lived-in sixteenth century England and Scotland. It is with great pleasure that The NESFA Press makes this excellent alternate history novel, previously available only in paperback and out of print for several years, available again.
Melissa Scott is from Little Rock, Arkansas, and studied history at Harvard and Brandeis University, where she earned her Ph.D. in the comparative history program. She won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 1986, and won the Lambda Literary Award for Gay/Lesbian Science Fiction twice — for Trouble and Her Friends in 1995, and Shadow Man in 1996 — having previously been a three-time finalist (for Mighty Good Road, Dreamships, and Burning Bright), Trouble and Her Friends was also short-listed for the Tiptree Award. Tor Books published her most recent book, Dreaming Metal, in June 1997. The novels cowritten with Lisa A. Barnett — The Armor of Light and Point of Hopes (Tor, 1995) — are the most use she ever expects to make of her various degrees.
Lisa A. Barnett has spent the past two decades actually putting her college degree in English to work, first as an editorial assistant at Baker's Plays in Boston, and for the past several years as senior editor at Heinemann, publishing books on theatre and writing. Said degree, as well as a background in acting and directing, not to mention having a live-in historian around the house, contributed much to the writing of The Armor of Light. Among the award-winning drama titles she has edited are Teaching Young Playwrights by Gerald Chapman; Improvisation with Favorite Tales by Ruth Beall Heinig; Storymaking and Drama by Nancy King; Drama of Color by Johnny Saldana, and the Lambda Literary Award finalists, T-Cells & Sympathy and Acting = Life, both by Michael Kearns. In addition to The Armor of Light, she has co-authored Point of Hopes (Tor, 1995) and "The Carmen Miranda Gambit" (in Carmen Miranda's Ghost is Haunting Space Station Three, Baen, 1990) with Melissa Scott. She lived in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, with her partner, Melissa Scott, until her death of breast cancer on May 2nd, 2006.