NESFA Members' Reviews

coverIn Pursuit of the Green Lion

by Judith Merkle Riley

A book review by Mark L. Olson

Delacorte, 1990, 440 pp, $19.95

In Pursuit of the Green Lion is a direct sequel to A Vision of Light. Master Kendall, Margaret's merchant husband, is dead and Margaret (a rich young widow) is married against her will to a younger son of a near-penniless knight. Love flourishes in spite of its inauspicious start and when her husband is lost in a siege in France, Margaret refuses to believe him dead.

Her conviction is strengthened when she gets advice from the ghosts of her former husband, Master Kendall and her mother-in-law (both have started hanging around), who assure her that her husband is not dead, though they don't know where he might be. Margaret returns to London and gathers the help of her friends from the road in A Vision of Light and sets off to France.

This takes her, ultimately, to the castle of a count (who it turns out dabbles in black magic) who is holding her husband in retribution for mocking poetry he wrote as a student in Paris. With her own wit, the aid of her friends (especially the con-man friar and alchemist) and the ghost of her mother-in-law, she vanquishes the count.

Then they must heal her husband and still get home across a war-ravaged France.

Recounted thus bluntly the story sounds like a third-rate fantasy novel, but it's not at all. It's an excellent historical novel, a well-written love story as well as a superb fantasy.

Highly recommended.

See also my reviews of other books by Judith Merkle Riley: The Master of All Desires, A Vision of Light, and The Oracle Glass

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