This Scepter’d Isle/ The Doubled Edge, Book 1 – Audiobook Online

This Scepter’d Isle, The Doubled Edge, Book 1, is a historical fantasy novel written by Mercedes Lackey and Roberta Gellis. Published by Baen in 2004, the first edition of the hardcover book contains 496 pages. The story revolves around the Sidhe of Elfland, who have foreseen two possible futures. In one vision, an evil queen will seize the throne and bring about the Inquisition, leading to a debauched nation and a threat to elf strongholds. In another vision, a red-haired child is destined to ascend the throne and usher in a golden age of literature, music, and art. The Unseleighe Sidhe, who derive power from pain and misery, welcome the coming of a human ruler who will strengthen their power and are determined to prevent the red-haired child from becoming Queen Elizabeth I of England.

The novel follows the efforts of the good Sidhe to find and protect the red-haired child from both human and elven dangers. The evil Unseleighe Sidhe are intent on preventing her rise to the throne at all costs. The story takes place in both the human and elven worlds as the race against time unfolds.

The evil Unseleye Sidhe will do anything to prevent the rise of a red-haired child destined to ascend the throne and usher in a golden age of art, music and literature, while the good Sidhe Elhame Avalon’s belly races against time to find the child, protect her from the dangers of the human and elven worlds, and ensure that she will become Queen Elizabeth I of England.

If you accept the idea that the Celtic Elves legend was real and interacted with the mortal world, then the “Doubled Edge” series is faithful to the actual events of Tudor history. The elves of the Bright Court draw their power from human happiness, the Dark Court thrives on human suffering. The series begins with both courts foreseeing three futures – one in which a king brings joy to England, but brings no real suffering, one in which a queen brings terrible suffering and one in which the queen brings joy and creativity. In some ways, the third prediction involves a red-haired royal baby. Since both courts see the same three futures, each tries to come up with the one that best suits its needs and keeps its distance from the other.

This is the first of four books in the series and covers the period from Henry VIII’s infatuation with Anne Boleyn until her death. The human character this volume revolves around is Henry Fitzroy, the illegitimate son of King Henry VIII, who is somehow vital to the red-haired girl’s survival. The Bright Court Elf assigned to protect him, Denoriel, is one of two twins whose lives become intertwined as the series progresses. The book ends with the Dark Court’s attempt to kidnap the “little red-haired girl” (now revealed to be the future Elizabeth I) after Anne’s death. The attempt failed but both Denoriel and Fitzroy were seriously injured. They were taken to an Elven healer and both needed an extended period of healing. Denoriel’s absence from the mortal world can be easily explained, but Fitzroy apparently had to die in the mortal world for him to be healed and live on.

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