Science is King, but Magic is Queen . . .
The Royal Society of London plays home to the greatest minds of England. In the century since its founding in 1660, it has revolutionized philosophy and scientific knowledge. Its fellows map out the laws of the natural world, disproving ancient superstition and ushering in an age of enlightenment.
To the fae of the Onyx Court, living in a secret city below London, these scientific developments are less than welcome. Magic is losing its place in the world -- and science threatens to expose the court to hostile eyes.
In 1666, a Great Fire burned four-fifths of London to the ground. The calamity was caused by a great Dragon -- an elemental beast of flame. Incapable of destroying something so powerful, the fae of London banished it to a comet moments before the comet's light disappeared from the sky. Now the calculations of Sir Edmond Halley have predicted its return.
So begins their race against time. Soon the Dragon's gaze will fall upon London and it will return to the city it ravaged once before. The fae will have to answer the question that defeated them a century before: How can they kill a being more powerful than all their magic combined? It will take both magic and science to save London--but reconciling the two carries its own danger . . .
In general, it is much more beneficial to the author to buy from a bricks-and-mortar store (see this note for why), though a sale of any kind is always good.
As in 2009's brilliant Midnight Never Come, anthropologist Brennan strikes a resonant balance between history and fantasy in this new tale of the faerie domain beneath 1750s London. -- Publishers Weekly, starred review
Brennan's historical research is as impeccable as ever, and the twining of the two worlds is the best yet. Fans of the Onyx Court novels, and anyone who enjoys historical fantasy, should like A Star Shall Fall. -- Booklist
This is my favorite of the series so far. The plotting is sharper, the characters are great, and Brennan continues to blend history and magic so smoothly it's hard to tell where one ends and the next begins. -- Jim C. Hines, author of The Stepsister Scheme
A Star Shall Fall is a marvelous, magical novel that evocatively brings to life 18th Century London through interesting and believable characters and a wealth of historical details. The magic is interesting and surprising (the Clock Room is a great concept), as are the details about the dangers Faeries face when in the mortal world. Highly recommended. -- David Forbes, author of The Amber Wizard
Like the other Onyx Court books, A Star Shall Fall owes a great deal to the people who assisted me in my research. In London, that included Mick Pedroli of Dennis Severs House, for advice on living in an eighteenth-century style; Eleanor John of the Geffrye Museum, for answers about house furnishings; Rupert Baker and Felicity Henderson of the Royal Society Library, for fetching out comet books and many dusty volumes of Royal Society minutes; Dr. Rebekah Higgitt and Dr. Jonathan Betts of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, for assistance with the history of the observatory and horology respectively; Susan Kirby, Alan Lilly, and Mimi Kalema of Tower Bridge Authority, for letting me into the basement of the Monument very early on a Saturday morning; and Dr. Kari Sperring and her husband Phil Nanson, for touring me around Cambridge and even taking me punting.
I also needed a great deal of help via e-mail, on a variety of arcane topics. John Pritchard sent me a fabulous diagram of the Monument; Ian Walden advised me about local flora; Farah Mendlesohn was my go-to woman for Jewish history; Ricardo Barros of the Mercurius Company helped me figure out eighteenth-century dancing; Rev. Devin McLachlan did the same for eighteenth-century Anglican theology; and Dr. Erin Smith made the astronomy go. For information on Ottoman Arabic society, the Arabic language, and the nature of genies, I owe thanks to Yonatan Zunger, Saladin Ahmed, and Rabeya Merenkov. Sherwood Smith did the German translations for me, and Aliette de Bodard not only knew what iatrochemistry was, but could tell me how to say it in French.
The late-night conversations this time were with Adrienne Lipoma and my husband, Kyle Niedzwiecki, with an assist from Jennie Kaye. They very kindly let me talk at them endlessly about the book, and provided more than one useful suggestion.