Elementary (All-New Tales of the Elemental Masters)

Elemental Masters

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In March 1987, Mercedes Lackey, a young author from Oklahoma, published her first novel, Arrows of the Queen. No one could have envisioned that this modest book would be the beginning of a fantasy career that would span decades and more than a hundred novels, with no signs of slowing yet.

And among Ms. Lackey's many novels, few are as critically-acclaimed and beloved as those of the Elemental Masters. The novels in this series are loosely based on classic fairy tales, and take place in a fantasy version of turn-of-the-century London, where magic is real and Elemental Masters control the powers of Fire, Water, Air and Earth.

Now the voices of other authors join Mercedes Lackey to add their own special touches to this delightful alternate history, in a world where magic is always just around the corner...
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Dec 3, 2013
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9780698143371
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology
Fiction / Fantasy / Collections & Anthologies
Fiction / Fantasy / Paranormal
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The first novel in Mercedes Lackey's magical Elemental Masters series reimagines the fairy tale Snow White in a richly-detailed alternate Edwardian England

Maya Witherspoon lived most of the first twenty-five years of her life in her native India. As the daughter of a prominent British physician and a Brahmin woman of the highest caste, she graduated from the University of Delhi as a Doctor of Medicine by the age of twenty-two.
 
But the science of medicine was not Maya’s only heritage. For Maya’s aristocratic mother Surya was a sorceress—a former priestess of the mystical magics fueled by the powerful and fearsome pantheon of Indian gods.
 
Though Maya felt the stirring of magic in her blood, her mother had repeatedly refused to train her. “I cannot,” she had said, her eyes dark with distress, whenever Maya asked. “Yours is the magic of your father’s blood, not mine....” Surya never had the chance to explain this enigmatic statement to her daughter before a mysterious illness claimed her life.

Yet it was Maya’s father’s death shortly thereafter that confirmed her darkest suspicions. For her father was killed by the bite of a krait, a tiny venomous snake, and in the last hours of her mother’s life, Surya had warned Maya to beware “the serpent’s shadow.” Maya knew she must flee the land of her birth or face the same fate as her parents.
 
In self-imposed exile in Edwardian London, Maya knew that she could not hide forever from the vindictive power that had murdered her parents. She knew in her heart that even a vast ocean couldn’t protect her from “the serpent’s shadow” that had so terrified her mother. Her only hope was to find a way to master her own magic: the magic of her father’s blood. But who would teach her? And could she learn enough to save her life by the time her relentless pursuers caught up with their prey?
Mercedes Lackey's magical Elemental Masters series recasts familiar fairy tales in a richly-imagined alternate Victorian world

For seventeen years, Marina Roeswood had lived in an old, rambling farmhouse in rural Cornwall in the care of close friends of her wealthy, aristocratic parents. As the ward of bohemian artists in Victorian England, she had grown to be a free thinker in an environment of fertile creativity and cultural sophistication. But the real core of her education was far outside societal norms. For she and her foster parents were Elemental Masters of magic, and learning to control her growing powers was Marina’s primary focus.

But though Marina’s life seemed idyllic, her existence was riddled with mysteries. Why, for example, had she never seen her parents, or been to Oakhurst, her family’s ancestral manor? And why hadn’t her real parents, also Elemental Masters, trained her themselves? That there was a secret about all this she had known from the time she had begun to question the world around her. Yet try as she might, she could get no clues out of her guardians.

But Marina would have answers to her questions all too soon. For with the sudden death of her birth parents, Marina met her new guardian—her father’s eldest sister Arachne. Aunt Arachne exuded a dark magical aura unlike anything Marina had encountered, a stifling evil that seemed to threaten Marina’s very spirit.

Slowly Marina realized that her aunt was the embodiment of the danger her parents had been hiding her from in the backwoods of Cornwall. But could Marina unravel the secrets of her life in time to save herself from the evil that had been seeking her for nearly eighteen years?
Mercedes Lackey's magical Elemental Masters series recasts familiar fairy tales in a richly-imagined alternate Victorian world

Eleanor Robinson’s life had shattered when Father volunteered for the Great War, leaving her alone with a woman he had just married. Then the letter came that told of her father’s death in the trenches and though Eleanor thought things couldn’t get any worse, her life took an even more bizarre turn.

Dragged to the hearth by her stepmother Alison, Eleanor was forced to endure a painful and frightening ritual during which the smallest finger of her left hand was severed and buried beneath a hearthstone. For her stepmother was an Elemental Master of Earth who practiced the darker blood-fueled arts. Alison had bound Eleanor to the hearth with a spell that prevented her from leaving home, caused her to fade from people’s memories, and made her into a virtual slave.

Months faded into years for Eleanor, and still the war raged. There were times she felt she was losing her mind—times she seemed to see faces in the hearth fire.

Reginald Fenyx was a pilot. He lived to fly, and whenever he returned home on break from Oxford, the youngsters of the town would turn out to see him lift his aeroplane—a frail ship of canvas and sticks—into the sky and soar through the clouds.

During the war, Reggie had become an acclaimed air ace, for he was an Elemental Master of Air. His Air Elementals had protected him until the fateful day when he had met another of his kind aloft, and nearly died. When he returned home, Reggie was a broken man plagued by shell shock, his Elemental powers vanished.

Eleanor and Reginald were two souls scourged by war and evil magic. Could they find the strength to help one another rise from the ashes of their destruction?

The fourth novel in Mercedes Lackey's magical Elemental Masters series reimagines the fairy tale The Snow Queen in a richly-detailed alternate Victorian England

The letter that introduced twelve-year-old Sarah Jane Lyon-White to Isabelle Harton, who ran the Harton School in central London, seemed quite simple and straightforward. But it was what was not written in the letter that resonated to Isabelle’s own finely tuned “extra” senses: “Sarah has gifts we cannot train,” the letter whispered to her, “nor can anyone we know. Those we trust tell us that you can….”
 
And it was true, for the Harton School was far from ordinary. It was Isabelle’s job to train children who possessed the odd types of magic that could not be trained by London’s powerful Elemental Masters: clairvoyants, telepaths, those with the ability to sense hidden danger, the vision to see into the past, and even that rarest of all talents: the ability to see and communicate with the dead.
 
But Isabelle was uneasy, for though she knew that Sarah Jane had a touch of telepathy, there seemed to be something else about the girl—something that had not yet manifested.
 
And Isabelle was right to be worried, for as soon as Sarah’s full talents became evident, there was an attempt made on her life. For Sarah was that rarest of magicians: a true medium, and for some reason, a powerful Elemental Master wanted her dead.
 
Isabelle knew that to protect her ward she would have to seek help from the Elemental Masters of the city. That meant she would also see Lord David Alderscroft, the man she had once loved, but who had inexplicably chilled toward her and broken her heart long ago—for he was the leader of the city’s Elemental Masters, the man who was now called the Wizard of London.
Mercedes Lackey's magical Elemental Masters series recasts familiar fairy tales in a richly-imagined alternate Victorian world

Ninette Dupond was a dancer with the Paris Opera Ballet. She had been very lucky—if she had not been pretty, and a natural dancer, she could only have become what her mother had been: a washerwoman.
 
But Ninette’s good luck ended the day that the lead dancer sprained her ankle and Ninette was chosen to dance her part at a matinee. Her reviews had been very good—too good. Shortly thereafter, Ninette had been fired in an attempt to soothe the wounded ego of the ballet’s primary soloist.
 
Alone, unemployed, and filled with despair, Ninette had returned to her apartment to find a thin, rangy, tabby-striped tomcat sitting on her windowsill. He seemed like just another stray, until abruptly he spoke to her, mind-to-mind.
 
Ninette though she was going mad, but the cat offered her an alternative to a life of destitution, albeit a very odd one. He proposed that she impersonate a renowned Russian ballerina, Nina Tchereslavsky, and go to work in a specific music hall in Blackpool, England. The cat also told her that he would take care of her in every way—he would somehow convey the English and Russian languages to her, supply her with money, and guide her every move. With no other option open to her, she place her life in his paws.
 
What Ninette didn’t know was that the cat was an Elemental Spirit sent to protect her, and that the music hall in Blackpool was owned by an Elemental Master. But she also didn’t know that the real Nina Tchereslavsky no longer existed. For the real Nina had been “absorbed” by an Elemental Spirit of the darkest kind that was now bent on Ninette’s destruction….
This “first rate anthology of reimagined fairy tales” (Locus Magazine) features an all-star lineup of award-winning and critically acclaimed writers.

Once upon a time. It’s how so many of our most beloved stories start.

Fairy tales have dominated our cultural imagination for centuries. From the Brothers Grimm to the Countess d’Aulnoy, from Charles Perrault to Hans Christian Anderson, storytellers have crafted all sorts of tales that have always found a place in our hearts.

Now a new generation of storytellers has taken up the mantle that the masters created and shaped their stories into something startling and electrifying.

Packed with award-winning authors, this “fresh, diverse” (Library Journal) anthology explores an array of fairy tales in startling and innovative ways, in genres and settings both traditional and unusual, including science fiction, western, and post-apocalyptic as well as traditional fantasy and contemporary horror.

From the woods to the stars, The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales takes readers on a journey at once unexpected and familiar, as a diverse group of writers explore some of our most beloved tales in new ways across genres and styles.

Contains stories by: Charlie Jane Anders, Aliette de Bodard, Amal El-mohtar, Jeffrey Ford, Max Gladstone, Theodora Goss, Daryl Gregory, Kat Howard, Stephen Graham Jones, Margo Lanagan, Marjorie Liu, Seanan McGuire, Garth Nix, Naomi Novik, Sofia Samatar, Karin Tidbeck, Catherynne M. Valente, and Genevieve Valentine.
Locus Recommended Reading List

Open this book to any page and find yourself enspelled by these lush, alchemical stories. Faced with the uncanny and the impossible, Rickert’s protagonists are as painfully, shockingly, complexly human as the readers who will encounter them. Mothers, daughters, witches, artists, strangers, winged babies, and others grapple with deception, loss, and moments of extraordinary joy.

Praise for Mary Rickert's books:

"The Memory Garden is a lovely book of women, friendship, sadness and healing, and it is genuinely uplifting. Like the garden of its title, this is a book to take in slowly, to spend time in, to wander through; you'll likely find your-selves the better for it."— NPR

"This is a novel haunted by mortality—with people who died young, with people now old and dying, with ghosts. But it is often a joyful novel, a novel of life, forgiveness and good meals with friends and strangers."—Los Angeles Review of Books

"I've seldom read a book as gentle, and yet as powerful."— io9.com

"Rickert writes with a blend of poetical language and dark suspense."—The Washington Post

"A poet of the extremes housed within the human heart."—Locus

Mary Rickert has long been an undiscovered master of the fantastic. Her first collection, Map of Dreams, received the Crawford and World Fantasy awards, and stories from this collection of new and selected work have received the Shirley Jackson and World Fantasy awards. She has worked as kindergarten teacher, barista, Disneyland balloon vendor, and in the personnel de-partment of Sequoia National Park where she spent her time off hiking the wilderness. She is the author of two collections and the novel The Memory Garden and she has received the Shirley Jackson and World Fantasy awards. She lives in Wisconsin. See more at maryrickert.com.
Dark and decidedly grown-up stories inspired by fairy tales—from New York Times bestsellers Karen Joy Fowler, Joyce Carol Oates, Susanna Clarke, and more.

 This collection from World Fantasy Award–winning editors Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling proves that fairy tales don’t have to be for little children and that happily ever after doesn’t necessarily mean forever. Here, the plights of Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Rapunzel, and others are reimagined by some of today’s finest literary talents.
 
Hansel and Gretel make several appearances, not the least being at their trial for the murder of a supposedly helpless old woman. The real, shocking reason for Snow White’s desperate flight from her home is revealed. And the steadfast tin soldier, made flesh and blood, pays a terrible price for his love and devotion.
 
The twenty-one stories and poems in this collection run the gamut from triumphant to troubling to utterly outrageous, like Don Webb’s brilliant merging of numerous tales into one wild, hallucinogenic trip in his “Three Dwarves and 2000 Maniacs.” All in all, they mine the fantastical yarns we loved as children for new and darker gold.
 
Includes stories by Michael Cadnum, Karen Joy Fowler, Michael Blumlein, Nalo Hopkinson, Esther M. Friesner, Joyce Carol Oates, Steve Rasnic Tem, Garry Kilworth, Anne Bishop, Gregory Frost, Sten Westgard, Midori Snyder, Harvey Jacobs, Don Webb, Bruce Glassco, Pat Murphy, John Crowley, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Susanna Clarke, Nancy Kress, and Jane Yolen.
 
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