Mercedes Lackey's magical Elemental Masters series recasts familiar fairy tales in a richly-imagined alternate Victorian world
Rosamund is an Earth Master in the Schwarzwald, the ancient Black Forest of Germany. Since the age of ten, she has lived with her teacher, the Hunt Master and Earth Magician of the Schwarzwald Foresters, a man she calls "Papa." Her adoptive Papa rescued her after her original Earth Master teacher, an old woman who lived alone in a small cottage in the forest, was brutally murdered by werewolves. Rosa herself barely escaped, and this terrifying incident molded the course of her future.
For like her fellow Earth Masters of the Schwarzwald Lodge, Rosa is not a healer. Instead, her talents lead her on the more violent path of protection and defense-- "cleansing" the Earth and protecting its gentle fae creatures from those evil beings who seek to do them harm.
And so Rosa becomes the first woman Hunt Master and the scourge of evil creatures, with a deadly specialty in werewolves and all shape-shifters.
While visiting with a Fire Master--a friend of her mentor from the Schwarzwald Lodge-- Rosa meets a pair of Elemental Magicians from Hungary who have come looking for help. They suspect that there is a dark power responsible for a string of murders happening in the remote countryside of Transylvania, but they have no proof. Rosa agrees to help them, but there is a catch: one of the two men asking for aid is a hereditary werewolf.
Rosa has been taught that there are three kinds of werewolves. There are those, like the one that had murdered her teacher, who transform themselves by use of dark magic, and also those who have been infected by the bite of these magical werewolves--these poor victims have no control over their transforma-tive powers. Yet, there is a third kind: those who have been born with the ability to trans-form at will. Some insist that certain of these hereditary werewolves are benign. But Rosa has never encountered a benign werewolf!
Can she trust this Hungarian werewolf? Or is the Hunter destined to become the Hunted?
Praise for the Elemental Masters series:
"The Paris of Degas, turn-of-the-century Blackpool, and the desperation of young girls without family or other protection come to life in a story that should interest a broad readership." --Booklist
"All in fine fairy-tale tradition.... It's grim fun, with some nice historical detail, and just a hint of romance to help lighten things." --Locus
"The action and dialogue flow freely, mingling with beautiful descriptions of European countryside and just a hint of romance.... A well-developed heroine and engaging story." --Publishers Weekly
"The fifth in the series involving the mysterious Elemental Masters, this story of a resourceful young dancer also delivers a new version of a classic fairy tale. Richly detailed historic backgrounds add flavor and richness to an already strong series that belongs in most fantasy collections. Highly recommended." --Library Journal
"Lackey's fantastical world of Elementals, plus her delightful Nan and Sarah, create an amusing contrast for Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes and John Watson.... The mix of humor, history, fantasy, and mystery is balanced in a way that any reader could pick up the book and thoroughly enjoy it from beginning to end." --RT Reviews
"The Elementals novels are beautiful, romantic adult fairy tales. Master magician Mercedes Lackey writes a charming fantasy." --Worlds of Wonder
"Ms. Lackey is a master in fantasy, and this visit to an alternate historical England is no exception. Vivid characterization and believable surroundings are flawlessly joined in a well-detailed world." --Darque Reviews
"I find Ms. Lackey's Elemental Masters series a true frolic into fantasy."
--Fantasy Book Spot
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