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The Moon and the Sun
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A successful sf writer takes a stab at alternate history in this Gothic tale featuring a captured sea monster in 17th-century France.

Inspired by tales of ancient sea-monsters, McIntyre (The Crystal Star) spins a marvelous alternative-history fable about greed and goodness, power and pathos set at the 17th century court of Louis XIV, France's glittering Sun King. At breathtaking (and chilly) Versailles, Louis pays for his glory by sacrificing his comfort and privacy. He lusts after bodily immortality and unending treasure, and he hopes to find both by devouring the entrails of a sea-woman trapped by Jesuit explorer Yves de la Croix. Enthralled by the creature's songs and telepathic tales, Yves's musician sister Marie-Josèphe must defy brother, king and pope to save the sea-woman from the court butcher. Marie-Josèphe isn't alone in her proto-ecofeminist struggle. She finds an ally (and lover) in Lucien, Comte de Chrétien, a great-hearted dwarf whose inner pain and essential nobility recall Cyrano and Quasimodo. Drawing on deep research (detailed in an afterword), McIntyre vividly re-creates a Versailles poised on the cusp between alchemy and modern science. Her imaginings enliven her history with wonder, but, as in the best fantasy, they serve less to dazzle by their inventiveness than to illuminate brilliantly real-world truthss‘here, humanity's responses, base and noble, when confronting the unknown. (Sept.)

"Publishers Weekly" McIntyre vividly creates a Versailles poised on the cusp between alchemy and modern science. Her imaginings enliven her history with wonder, but, as in the best fantasy, they serve less to dazzle by their inventiveness than to illuminate brilliantly real-world truths.

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