"wonderful alternate history"
In 1192 on an Earth much like our own in most respects,
Richard I is leading the third crusade to take the Holy
Lands. His Majesty expects the battle to be fought on the
mortal plane. However, he doesn't know that his mother,
Queen Eleanor, a dark sorceress in her own right, has made
a pact with Sinan, beloved of Ibris and all the other dark
Gods that have ever lived. The Lionheart will win the war
and take Jerusalem but the price will be very high.
Sioned, Richard's illegitimate half-sister is traveling
with him on the campaign. She has the sight and power of
magic that she will learn how to use from Ahmad, Saladin's
half-brother who also possesses the talent. Enemies and
lovers, the pair fights the powers of darkness that
surround them, hoping that Richard will be able to fight
off Sinan's power with the Seal of Solomon that Sioned
stole from the enemy.
Harry Turtledove is well known for his alternate history
novels, but Judith Tarr is his equal in every respect. On
a world that never was but could have been, magic plays a
key role in the affairs of mankind with one woman's burning
ambition capable of destroying an empire. DEVIL'S BARGAIN
is a masterpiece of intrigue, sorcery and romance.
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted September 5, 2002
The year is 1191. The place is the Holy Land, where the
knights of Christ are embroiled in a war with the armies of
Islam. The prize is the holy city of Jerusalem.
Led by Richard the Lionheart, the armies of the West are
conducting a Crusade against the sultan Saladin. In Cyprus,
the king's mother, Eleanor, has struck a devil's bargain to
grant Richard victory at any cost. Only Sinan the sorcerer
knows that victory will cost the king his immortal soul.