Wendy Walker: The Secret Service
Court intrigue and romance abound in this first novel from short-story writer Walker ( The Sea-Rabbit ). Set in a fictional British past, supposedly sometime during the 19th century, the story begins with the discovery of a conspiracy to overthrow the young king by bringing to light scandalous revelations about his bride. His Majesty's Secret Service springs into action: its agents have discovered a Tibetan technique to make themselves appear as inanimate objects, thus able to spy upon the plotters by posing as the things most precious to them. For Cardinal Ammanati, it is classical sculpture; for Baron Schelling, glass and porcelain; and the Duc stet spelling/pk D'Elsir's passions run to rare roses. Unfortunately, while Walker's ornate prose can be beguiling, it is often leaden and obstructs the storytelling. Another problem is the central premise itself. Any book in which the heroes protagonists spend much of their time as flowers, crystal goblets and statues is trapped into offering more observation than action. Still, this rococo blend of fantasy and high romance may find its audience.
Series: Sun & Moon Classics (Book 20)
Paperback: 463 pages
Publisher: Sun & Moon Press; 1st edition (February 1992)