Anne Lyle


Anne Lyle was born in what is known to the tourist industry as ‘Robin Hood Country’, and grew up fascinated by English history, folklore, and swashbuckling heroes.

Unfortunately there was little demand in 1970s Nottinghamshire for diminutive swordswomen, so she studied sensible subjects like science and languages instead. She now lives in Cambridge, where she works as a web developer for one of the world’s largest medical charities

It appears, however, that although you can take the girl out of Sherwood Forest, you can’t take Sherwood Forest out of the girl. She now spends every spare hour writing – or at least planning – fantasy fiction about spies, actors, outlaws and other folk on the fringes of society.

She has a website where she blogs about the fantasy genre, medieval and renaissance history, favourite films and anything else that piques her interest. She can be found on Facebook, and also tweets a bit.

Some interviews with Anne: Terrible Minds (2011)Civilian Reader (2012), Staffer’s Musing (2012), Qwillery (2013)My Bookish Ways (2013)

titles



Night’s Masque Trilogy

Translation Rights Available – Please enquire

  1. THE ALCHEMIST OF SOULS
  2. THE MERCHANT OF DREAMS
  3. THE PRINCE OF LIES

covers

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  • Night's Masque Trilogy
  • Night's Masque Trilogy (Audio Editions)

translations

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Night's Masque Trilogy:
- THE PRINCE OF LIES - Angry Robot (UK & US & Audio, 2013)
- THE MERCHANT OF DREAMS - Angry Robot (UK, US & Audio, 2012)
- THE ALCHEMIST OF SOULS - Angry Robot (UK, US & Audio, 2012)

reviews

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    • THE ALCHEMIST OF SOULS
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      ‘Anne Lyle’s fluid writing brilliantly evokes the heady and gritty atmosphere of her alternate Shakespearean London – from the day-to-day life of theatre troupes to the pomp of official ceremonies.’  —  Aliette de Bodard, author of OBSIDIAN & BLOOD

      ‘Anne Lyle’s THE ALCHEMIST OF SOULS teems with intrigue and magic worthy of the Bard himself, all set against the backdrop of Elizabethan London. The attention to historical detail brings the time and place alive and peoples it with characters I could instantly empathize with. An outstanding debut!’  —  Lynn Flewelling, author of the Tamir trilogy

      ‘Murder, mayhem and intrigue at the court of Elizabeth I. All this and magic too makes for a great read.’  —  Mike Shevdon, author of Sixty-One Nails

      ‘An outstanding debut and Lyle is certainly a name to watch for the future. I thoroughly enjoyed it.’  —  British Fantasy Society

      ‘Anne Lyle’s THE ALCHEMIST OF SOULS… gives Shakespeare’s London an alternate-history twist. The Americas are home to non-human “skraylings”; some have settled here; our hard-up swordsman hero must bodyguard these aliens’ first official ambassador. Intrigue, playhouse mayhem and revelations of strange skrayling powers follow. A lively, readable debut.’  —  Telegraph.co.uk

      ‘… great pace, moving through equal parts political intrigue, bursts of action, and fear of discovery… Mysterious circumstances combined with historical authenticity and the strange, Anne Lyle’s THE ALCHEMIST OF SOULS is a 2012 debut I can strongly recommend… a title with broad appeal across a wide swathe of genre readers…’  —  Staffer’s Musings

      ‘In her debut… Lyle creates an alternate Elizabethan England done right. A world where history meets fantasy in the streets, and where neither emerges unscathed. With a twisting plot, endearing characters, fast-paced action, and truly unique and alien “fey”, Lyle steps up and gives notice to the genre. No wilting faerie queens and tortured knights here: this is how historical fantasy gets dirty. A great first installment in a promising new series.’  —  Douglas Hulick, author of Among Thieves

      ‘A lively cast of actors and their down-at-the-heel associates contrasts neatly with mysterious powers and goals of the inhuman skraylings as a theatrical competition in the ambassador’s honor offers opportunities for both actors and assassins. With an effective mix of espionage, backstage drama, and mystery, Lyle provides compelling drama in an intriguing setting.’  —  Publishers Weekly

      ‘In her terrific debut novel, Anne Lyle conjures up a magical Elizabethan England of seedy glamour, long shadows, pulsating romance and heart-stopping adventure. THE ALCHEMIST OF SOULS is the calling card of a great new talent in the fantasy field.’  —  Mark Chadbourn, author of The Sword of Albion

      ‘As someone who has both a greater than normal interest in history, and is a fan of SFF, this was a perfect novel for me. This novel bridges the gap between the historical and the fantastic extremely well, and I think this story is a great meeting place for fans of Historical Fiction and Historical Fantasy. I have absolutely no doubts about highly recommending it to fans of both genres, and I think Alternate History fans are close to obligated to give it a try.’  —  Weirdmage

      ‘It’s always a pleasure to encounter a debut fantasy novel that combines storytelling verve with inventive turns of phrase.’  —  SFX Magazine

      ‘A rich historical setting, some gloriously ambiguous characters, and a whole lot of unexpected surprise collide to make this unmissable for any fan of historical fantasy.’  —  Drying Ink

      ‘[A] beautifully written story of intrigue, hatred, mystery and love.’  —  I Will Read Books

      THE ALCHEMIST OF SOULS, is a big tankard of Elizabethan ale, foaming with intrigue, hidden identities, secret societies, treachery, plots, swordplay and magic.’  —  FantasyLiterature.com

      ‘If you like good fantasy or historical fantasy, pick this book up!’  —  Sci-Fi Fan Letter

      ‘Anne Lyle’s writing is beautiful, elegant and gripping; be prepared to be swept away to a rich and colourful depiction of a different Elizabethan England, where treachery and danger abound.’  —  Leo Elijah Cristea

      This is a fun romp through Tudor England, filled with mythical creatures, swordsmen, and theatre-types. The characters are well-rounded and compelling, and there is a very real urgency to the plot.’  —  The Ranting Dragon

      ‘Anne’s writing style is beautifully descriptive … I’ll definitely read on in the series!’  —  Death, Books and Tea

      ‘An intricate story of political intrigue in an alternate Tudor London, Anne Lyle’s THE ALCHEMIST OF SOULS is an engaging fantasy novel. I give it 8 stars.’  —  The Book Bundle

      ‘[A] gem of a first novel … I felt as if I walked those smelly Tudor streets as strongly as I’ve felt it reading writers like Mantel or Peter Ackroyd … Anne Lyle has given us the Elizabethan London we know from reading history and Shakespeare; but she’s also created a London that has just enough strangeness in its shadows to keep us anticipating wonder.’  —  Elf Machines From Hyperspace

      ‘My only complaint about this novel is that it was over too quickly. My first read was in one sitting over about 6 hours. It is addictive, the characters make you care, and the setting is beautiful. What more can you ask for from a novel?’  —  Wilder’s Book Reviews

      ‘Mysterious circumstances combined with historical authenticity and the strange, Anne Lyle’s THE ALCHEMIST OF SOULS is a debut I can strongly recommend.’  —  A Dribble of Ink

      ‘Lyle is a superb talent, one I think everyone should be reading. THE ALCHEMIST OF SOULS is very highly recommended.’  —  Civilian Reader

    • THE MERCHANT OF DREAMS
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      ‘Whether you like action, magic, romance or mystery there is something for you here. I never had a reason to put the book down. I am very eager to read the third book in the series.’  —  Mazarkis Williams, author of the Tower & Knife series

      THE MERCHANT OF DREAMS is a fantastic sequel to THE ALCHEMIST OF SOULS… Lyle is a master of blending historical fact and fantastic fiction and she’s only gotten better with her second book.’  —  A Fantastical Librarian

      ‘This may be one of the best historical fiction/fantasy novels of 2012. Venice, Pirates, Skraylings, politics and some epic action scenes in sixteenth century Europe make sure that THE MERCHANT OF DREAMS is a worthy successor to THE ALCHEMIST OF SOULS.’  —  Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields

      ‘Full of vitality and some spectacular sequences, THE MERCHANT OF DREAMS is simply fantastic… A more fully realised world, richer secondary characters, an excellent main cast, and a very moving and emotional story… certainly a stronger novel than its predecessor.’  —  Shadowhawk, The Founding Fields

      ‘[B]eautifully written … THE MERCHANT OF DREAMS will most likely enthrall any reader who loves history.’  —  Books, Bones & Buffy

      ‘One of the things I enjoyed most in this novel was its complexity. Just when you think you know who the bad guy is, it turns out to be someone else. There’s very little good and evil, but almost everyone is wearing a mask of one sort or another and there’s much fun to be had figuring out what’s behind all of them.’  —  Warpcore SF

      ‘Every author has a particular strong point, and for me Anne’s is setting: when her characters walk the dirty streets of Elizabethan London, they feel authentic; when they sail the mediterranean, you feel the salt in the waves and the hot sun in the sky; when they explore the plazas and canals of Venice, you are there… at its heart is a fun adventure story… MERCHANT OF DREAMS demonstrates Anne Lyle’s growing importance in the genre, and I sincerely hope the third and final book in this trilogy will underline this. In the meantime, here’s waiting patiently for PRINCE OF LIES.’  —  SFF Chronicles

      ‘There really is a lot to love in this novel. Lyle gives us a story that has suspense, intrigue, and action. Set in an alternate reality that feels totally real. The characters feel alive, and are very interesting companions on the journey the story takes the reader.’  —  Weirdmage

      ‘It’s a heady world of politics, intrigue, and xenophobia, and Lyle makes creating a vivid and grimy Elizabethan background look easy … I love any book that can combine my loves of both historical and fantasy fiction.’  —  Footnotes

      ‘If you’ve read the first book, this escalates the world and mythology. If you are new to this world, you can read this independently, but if were you, I would buy both books. They are simply brilliant, and I can’t wait for the next installment.’  —  Terror-Tree

      ‘Where Lyle excels is with the amount of accurate historical detail she peppers the book with. She’s careful about using period expressions and terminology, making the book feel authentic.’  —  Sci-Fi Fan Letter

      ‘I loved everything about THE MERCHANT OF DREAMS: it is exciting, thrilling and Lyle’s gorgeous prose drives the story elegantly forwards towards a goal … A fantastic example of historical fantasy going all the way and holding nothing back, THE MERCHANT OF DREAMS is complex and exciting.’  —  Leo Elijah Cristea

      ‘The exploration of gender, relationships (both political and personal) and sacrifice continue in a historical fantasy that is as light-hearted and entertaining as it is deep. Perhaps its most admirable quality is Lyle’s willingness to explore and represent the minority in a realistic and unashamed manner.’  —  Elloise Hopkins

    • THE PRINCE OF LIES
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      ‘The ending to the Alchemist of Souls trilogy decisively builds on the foundation of its predecessors… A good ending to what will hopefully be the first of many trilogies from the author… The relationship building and character growth throughout the novel was enjoyable… The politics of the succession and the future of the English throne feel nicely medieval, reminiscent of the tumult over the succession to Edward VI in its complexity, factional politics and uncertain future for the country. The politics of the future of the crown in medieval times, were always tense, and the author captures that opportunism and danger well in this novel… The action sequences, though, are the best thing in the series, and PRINCE OF LIES continues that tradition. A country house under siege, chases, escapes, pulse-pounding action on the streets of London, and much more awaits the reader. The swordplay and action sequences, while pulse-pounding, are solidly built on real swordplay and gunplay. It never devolves into unrealistic encounters, and the costs and dangers of sword and gun are never soft-pedaled. In particular, the explosive denouement of the novel is a skilled set piece of character beats, well described action, and exciting confrontations in an excellent location for action shenanigans. Its quite probably the best sequence in the entire trilogy.’  —  SF Signal

      ‘… as exciting and action-packed as the previous two volumes, and it picks up all the loose threads that were left hanging at the end of THE MERCHANT OF DREAMS… I highly recommend this book, but don’t start here. Start with THE ALCHEMIST OF SOULS and read them in order or you’ll be floundering. For those that have followed the series so far, this is a tight conclusion…’  —  Fantasy Faction

      ‘I got so carried away by this story that I had to finish the book, it was past 5 am when I finally lay down to sleep. But let’s face it, that is a huge compliment to Lyle’s storytelling ability. This is a book it’s really hard to put down… As the third book in a trilogy goes, this is an excellent one. I mentioned the only point I had problems with above, but that is really a non-issue. Whether you like Alternate History, Historical Fantasy, or Historical Fiction there is plenty to like here. Lyle has given me a great three volume journey through an excellent world that is just slightly skewed from the one we live in. I can state without a doubt that the ~1,500 pages of reading have been very much worth it, and I will not hesitate to encourage others to start on it.’  —  Weirdmage

      ‘An excellent final act, THE PRINCE OF LIES finishes off the trilogy very well indeed, and ending the trilogy in a very satisfying way – Fans of the previous two novels will not be disappointed by what they see here, and once again, Lyle proves herself to be one of the go-to people for good historical fantasy novels with this superb finale.’  —  Founding Fields

      ‘A satisfying ending to a trilogy that blew me away. This series had me hooked from the very first page, and it breaks my heart to say goodbye to these characters that have become so amazingly real to me. Lyle has established herself as a strong and powerful historical fantasy writer. The Night’s Masque was one of the most enjoyable series I’ve read so far this year, and it ended on the perfect note. I sincerely hope that Lyle returns to this world.’  —  Bookworm Blues

      ‘Once again, I find Anne Lyle’s prose to be an enjoyable read. Her stories are not the action packed, read as fast as you can style, but rather, sit back take in the setting and time period and enjoy. It’s a book where the story flows rather races… I enjoyed the story which featured favorite characters from the first two books (Mal, Coby, Ned, Gabriel and Sandy) as well as murder, mystery and, of course, political intrigue. You have to love a book that is enjoyable to read and has all those elements, The ending of the book was handled very well. It wrapped up the trilogy cleanly, but definitely left open doors to allow Lyle to revisit the world again if she chooses. Whether her next book is set in this world or something else entirely, Anne Lyle remains on my list of authors I want to read.’  —  Tenacious Reader

      ‘The conclusion is no means lacking in pace or action and delivers a satisfying finish to the story whilst very much leaving the possibility of future adventures.’  —  Eloise Hopkins