Exiled from the court of Queen Elizabeth for accusing a powerful nobleman of treason, swordsman-turned-spy Mal Catlyn has been living in France with his young valet Coby Hendricks for the past year.
But Mal harbours a darker secret: he and his twin brother share a soul that once belonged to a skrayling, one of the mystical creatures from the New World.
When Mal’s dream about a skrayling shipwreck in the Mediterranean proves reality, it sets him on a path to the beautiful, treacherous city of Venice – and a conflict of loyalties that will place him and his friends in greater danger than ever.
File Under: Fantasy [Skrayling Dreams | Pound of Flesh | Venice in Peril | The Dark Lady]
From the Paperback edition.
About the Author
What People are Saying About This
"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
“There’s a lot of intrigue and a great sense of adventure in this sequel to The Alchemist of Souls."
-SciFi Fan Letter
“This may be one of the best historical fiction/fantasy novels of 2012. 5/5"
-The Founding Fields
“…a historical fantasy that is as light-hearted and entertaining as it is deep."
“Gorgeous prose, stunning ability to weave a story, and likeable, moreish characters—Lyle is a winner. 5/5″
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Merchant of Dreams starts out with a scene that could have come from one of the best thriller movies - all haunting atmosphere and trepidation - and digs its hooks in deep. Set a year or two after the events of The Alchemist of Souls, this second book in the Night’s Masque series is a worthy successor to it. At over 500 pages, I still managed to finish the book roughly three days after I started it. Court intrigue and battles abound as Mal Catlyn and his page - the cross-dressing (by necessity) Coby come upon a chance rumor that the Skraylings from the new world are interested in an alliance with the Venetian Republic. Sent there by the dying Sir Francis Walsingham, Mal takes ship with Ned Faulkner on The Falcon, captained by no less a seafarer than Sir Walter Raleigh himself. Mal’s twin Sandy becomes a real character in this book, with Erishen taking the lead in injecting a personality into the man he possesses. Nearly as forceful as Mal, Sandy leads Coby astray from her orders to watch out for him and through a series of misadventures they - with the actor Gabriel Parrish - make their own way to Venice to meet up with Mal and Ned. Venice, with its canals and twisted streets, is as convoluted as the English Court, and more surprises abound, not the least coming from the Skraylings themselves. Mal learns how to do some of the things that his brother, having more of the soul of Erishen than he, can do from a hidden Guiser. This training leads both to disaster and deliverance for Mal and his friends. Anne Lyle neatly ties up a few open threads from the first book, and the ending was perfect. I suspect many fans of the Night’s Masque series will cheer at the resolution, and I particularly enjoyed the reminding touch of Coby’s dab hand with mechanicals. It also sets up the concluding volume of the series, which I, for one, am looking forward to.