Ill Met by Moonlight
by Sarah A. Hoyt
Category: Fiction / Fantasy
278 pages; ISBN: 0441008607
Rating: 8/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Paul Lappen
One day, a young William Shakespeare comes home from his teaching job to find his wife, Nan, and infant daughter, Susanna, missing. Stick figures have been left in their beds, which means that they haven't just left, they've been kidnapped by elves. Having no idea what to do or who to see, Will starts to think that his wife and child are gone forever.
Meantime, at a nearby elven castle invisible to humans, Titania and Oberon, the King and Queen, have been murdered. Their younger son, Sylvanus, has taken over the throne, leaving Quicksilver, the rightful heir, out of luck. He begins to plot Sylvanus' death, something that can only be done by a human, like young William. Nan has been kidnapped to become the Royal Nursemaid. The infant's mother died in childbirth, and highborn elven women are too frail and fragile to do real work. Part of the deal is that Nan marries Sylvanus, something she refuses to do because of her marriage vow to Will.
Defending Will from an attempt to permanently get him out of the way, Quicksilver is blamed for the death of another elf. Sylvanus permanently bars Quicksilver from the castle, making it invisible to him, and also cuts off Quicksilver from the elven "power source" (for lack of a better term).
Being able to change back and forth between male and female, Quicksilver, as a woman, seduces Will and broaches the idea of killing Sylvanus with what turns out to be a sort of magic knife. It is made of a sepcial metal that that causes any elven wound to be fatal. Sylvanus shows Nan a recording of their lovemaking, and her resolve to not marry Sylvanus begins to weaken. After all, Will has found someone more beautiful than she (Nan) is, and it's pretty hard to give up silks and soft beds.
This one is really good. For those who are into elves and fairies or William Shakespeare, it's especially worthwhile. It's a rather "quiet" story that's part of a series, but it's got good characters, it's easy to read, and it's just strange enough to be good. The reader won't go wrong with this.