Goblin Moon by Teresa Edgerton
In which various Gentlemen and Ladies of Society become involved in Fee Occurrences
In an alternate Teutonic land somewhere near an alternate Russia, inhabited by persons of gentility, some craftsmen, tradesmen and such, and by a dirty, uncouth underbelly of peasants and sundry unmentionables, Francis Skelbrooke – Lord of much that is not initially revealed – finds himself entangled in a plot hatched by various nonhuman characters. These latter persons are stock of dwarves, gnomes, and even the Fee (fairy) races, not least a Duchess with an indigo ape. There are also trolls, but they are concealed most cunningly.
Goblin Moon was first published some time ago, but has now been reissued in a smart new cover by the fledgling Tickety Boo Press. The novel received plaudits for its faux-Regency setting, excellent characterisation, and all-round bonhomie and readability.
I generally don’t read fantasy with magic and suchlike, so I approached this novel with slight trepidation, but it turned out to be a most enjoyable romp through various tangled plots, via pale young women with mysterious illnesses, feisty young women elsewhere, lads trying to better themselves, lords and ladies, and, at its heart, a dark plot to create a miniature homunculus carried through by a river worker (read – scavenger) and a book merchant (read – dabbler in dark magics). The characters are all lifelike, well drawn and attractive, with the not so attractive ones also drawn with skill. I sensed a distinct hint of Jack Vance in some of the magic and nonhuman races, and also in the black/white morality of the Fee races, exploited so well in the Lyonesse books; but this, of course, is no bad thing.
There is very little to say against the novel. Perhaps the ending was a little rushed, with Skelbrooke taken off scene temporarily, and the book was a little slow to start, but these are minor quibbles against a whole set of virtues. Fantasy fans who like a bit of medieval-style muck, moon, sass and spit in their milieu (think Terry Gilliam’s early films, especially Jabberwocky) will love this enjoyable read.