Land of the Silver Dragon: An Aelf Fen Mystery
Set in the English fen country during the reign of William Rufus, Land of the Silver Dragon can’t decide what it wants to be. Perhaps it’s a fantasy (the heroine is Lassair, a gifted young healer and magician, who has visions), or maybe a mystery (somebody is brutally attacking Lassair’s family, obviously looking for something), or a dissertation on aging Vikings (who need Lassair to heal their wounded souls). Mostly this is a collection of ideas for a novel. Nothing is experienced, only reported. People sit around and fill each other in on the background. The scene shifts from England to Iceland to Sicily like a Jason Bourne movie. A good deal of what action there is takes place off- stage or in the past, and the rambling from place to place leaves the whole story without much focus. What the brutal assailants are looking for is a way to get them to Constantinople, although by this time the Vikings had been traveling to Constantinople for centuries. The Crusades are about to start, which is not a good thing. Since the novel may be a fantasy, perhaps details such as diagnosing syphilis in the 11th century and the use of Guiscard as a family name can be excused, but not the limp execution of the story.