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I was pretty bummed to learn this morning that one of my favorite authors, Lisa A. Barnett, died of cancer last May. Just last night, I'd picked up one of her books to re-read, wondering if and when she'd write another one, and then this morning stumbled over an old newsletter with the announcement of her death.

She was a co-writer with her partner, Melissa Scott, on all three of her books. Their first book, The Armor of Light, is set in Elizabethan England, and features a certain Christopher Marlowe--in this book, still alive in 1596. You can see already why I liked her work. :)

Truthfully, I think The Armor of Light is possibly one of the catalysts of my decades-long obsession with Marlowe and his works. Certainly I'd already fallen in love with his writing by the time I read it, but there's no question that Scott and Barnett's portrayal of him fueled the fire of my obsession.

Their next two books, Point of Hopes and and its sequel, Point of Dreams, are set in a purely fantasy world. I admit, I picked up Point of Hopes hoping that it would continue Marlowe's story from The Armor of Light, but I think it says something about Point of Hopes that by the time I was a few pages into it, I didn't care whether Marlowe was in it or not. The world they created was wonderfully realized and intricately detailed, the kind of place I couldn't wait to re-visit. I was so glad to have the chance when Point of Dreams came along several years later, and wasn't in the least disappointed. I've practically worn out all the copies I have of her books (I think I've gone through two copies of The Armor of Light, in fact), and I'm sad to realize that there won't be any more.

Date: 2006-12-18 08:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] smirnoffmule.livejournal.com
Hey, that's a bummer. I'm sorry to hear that. I was actually planning on making a post in my journal asking people to rec good fantasy novels, especially by female authors - I take it you'd rec Point of Hopes? Is the Armor of Light fantasy too?

Date: 2006-12-19 05:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] janegraddell.livejournal.com
Yes to both, you bet! :)

Armor of Light is an Elizabethan AU of sorts, where magic is very much real. It's excellently researched, down to them obviously having read Philip Henslowe's diaries about the theater life, and knowing all the piddly details about Marlowe, too. The book revolves around Sir Philip Sidney, who in this world didn't die in Holland in 1590(?), and also around Marlowe, who likewise escaped his own historical death in 1593.

Point of Hopes and Point of Dreams are not only very good books, the two main characters are also kinda, sorta AUs of Bodie and Doyle from The Professionals. Believe me, the books are really good even not knowing that, because I first read Point of Hopes and loved it before I'd ever seen The Professionals, but when a friend of mine told me I was like, "OMG you're right!" Just a bit of trivia. :)

Date: 2006-12-19 05:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] janegraddell.livejournal.com
Oops. Meant to click "preview," not "post comment."

Anyway, I was going to add that the world-building in Point of Hopes is first-rate. The setting is a large pre-industrial city on the verge of industrialization, and like Armor of Light it's clear that a lot of thought and research went into creating the world. It's also one of the most matter-of-fact portrayals of a honest-to-goodness matriarchal society that I've read. And it's slashy, too. :)

Date: 2006-12-22 02:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] smirnoffmule.livejournal.com
Oh, well if it's slashy... say no more! Thanks for the rec, I will check them out sometime. It's always really daunting trying to buy fantasy books cold, or at least I find it is. You go into the bookstore, pick up a random interesting-looking book and find it's book 2 in the fourth trilogy of the Belblahdedblah series, and Book 1 is out of print, and then you read a random page and just don't get it at all. I usually end up creeping out the store with no book and my tail between my legs, and re-reading all my nice "safe" fantasy books at home instead. My New Year's Resolution is to actually read books I haven't read before ;)

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