The Shadow of Albion

~ 1st Novel in the Carolus Rex Series by Andre Norton

Written with Rosemary Edghill



Synopsis ~

Write-up from the front flap of the 1999 dustjacket ~

Baltimore 1805. When young Sarah Cunningham's father dies, she is left alone in the world. At the behest of her aunt, she leaves behind her few friends and heads across the ocean to the hope of a new life in England with a distant relative.
Little does Sarah suspect that her journey will carry her much farther than a mere ocean's width. For as she crosses the Atlantic, powerful magics are being worked by Lady Sarah Roxbury. Lying on her deathbed, Roxbury casts a spell that will summon her counterpart form the universe-next-door...Sarah.
Waking, Sarah finds herself in a world not her own, a world where the Stuart kings still rule England, where Baltimore and the original thirteen United States are still British colonies, where Napoleon runs rampant on the European continent, a world where she is the Lady Roxbury.
Under the influence of a steady supply of drugs and insidious manipulation, Sarah comes to believe that she is Roxbury, and soon finds herself embroiled deep in the machinations of court intrigue and scandal. She also comes to despise her intended, the Duke of Wessex.
As the threat of a French invasion grows, the only hope for England is a peace treaty with Denmark. But when the Princess of Denmark goes missing and France's agent, the Marquis de Sade, is found in council with Denmark's king, it is up to Sarah and Wessex to put aside their differences.
Together they must find a way to rescue the princess from her captivity deep in the black heart of Imperial France before Napoleon can cross the channel and utterly destroy England.
In a tale as rousing, romantic, and full of intrigue a The Scarlet Pimpernel, Andre Norton and Rosemary Edghill have created an alternate history as real as our own and as fresh as today.


Write-up from the back of the TOR paperback edition ~

England 1805,
Emperor Napoleon had kidnapped the Princess of Denmark in a plot to upset Europe’s tenuous balance of power. Only Lord Wessex, Agent of King Henry IX, can recover the princess and thwart Napoleon’s plans, or all of Europe could fall to France.
But Wessex has an unsuspected ally in his perilous mission. Magic has replaced his fiancée Sarah, the vein and haughty Marchioness of Roxbury, with the passionate and courageous Sarah of another world, one where England’s American colonies are called the “United States.”
Sarah quickly becomes the wild card in a deadly game played out across Europe with players ranging from Sir John Adams to the Marquis de Sale. As Sarah and Wessex tread a path toward destiny, they discover that tyheir mission is more important than they could imagine. For if they fail, Napoleon will control more than Europe – he’ll rule the world….
“A great combination and a great read! Regency devotees will find this much to their liking even if they haven’t ever dabbled in science fiction / fantasy.” – Anne McCaffrey


Write-ups from fans ~

In 1805, in an alternate world, where King Charles II admitted to having married the Earl of Monmouths's mother, thereby making the Earl his legitimate son and preventing James II of Scotland from taking the throne, the whole track of history changes. James II does not rule England and there is no uprising against his harsh and cruel reign. The Hanovers’ never succeed to the English throne and the American colonies do not rebel against restrictive taxes.
In this world the Oldest People, the fay and fairies still exist. In this world Sarah Conyngham, Marchioness of Roxberry, mistress of Mooncign, lays dying having failed to fulfill her obligation to the Oldest People from whom she holds Mooncoign in trust. To prevent this catastrophe, she summons her counterpart from another world, Sarah Cunningham of an independent United States.
Sarah, Lady Roxbury, had been betrothed at the age of 16 to the Duke of Wessex, who spends his time and patriotic efforts to covertly assisting England in its war with Napoleon. He counts on Lady Roxbury to help in this -- he just isn't aware that the Lady Roxbury he knows is not who he thinks she is. Sarah Cunningham of Baltimore, MD. is a whole "nother kettle of fish". Together the Duke and Sarah of Baltimore recover the lost prince of France, King Louis XVII, foil a plot to wed Prince James of England to a Catholic bride thereby returning the restrictive Catholic faith to England. They then rescue Princess Stephanie of Denmark, who is engaged to Prince James to seal a treaty with Denmark, thereby gaining another ally in the fight against Napoleon.
Sounds complicated, doesn't it? But it moves along nicely, with some rather funny moments. ~ SL


Alternate dimensions, different histories, magic, fairy folk, spies and kings and the cream of society chases, and intrigue make this book a joy. Sarah Cunningham of Baltimore in our world is magically transported to another world to replace her dying counterpart, Lady Roxbury. In Roxbury's world, the Stuarts never lost the throne and King George never ruled and there was no American revolution. France still owns what in our world is the Louisiana Purchase. The English Monarchy allow the white witches to flourish and condone contacts with the eldest people (fairy folk). The heir to the French throne is hiding from Napoleon and his henchmen Talleyrand and the Marquis de Sade. There is a proposed marriage of England's crown prince to Princess Stephanie of Denmark to cement a treaty that would deny Napoleon a staging area for an attack on England. Meanwhile, an ambitious Earl tries to match his niece, Lady Meriel, with the prince to sabotage the king's plans. Sarah has been given false memories and thinks she is Lady Roxbury. King Henry forces Sarah to marry the equally reluctant Duke of Wessex, his favorite spy, assassin and member of a secret organization that is dedicated to the king's service. Then Stephanie is kidnapped by the Marquis de Sade, Sarah and Meriel are abducted by her uncle. Wessex and his partner must search for the missing women as well as the missing Dauphin (who would be King Louis the XVII).
Unexpectedly, he gets help from his resourceful wife, Sarah who in our world had been fostered by a tribe of Cree who trained her as a warrior. All in all, it is a wild ride. ~ PG


Reviews ~

Booklist Review ~ April 01, 1999

Norton and her latest collaborator (Edghill is a pen name of the accomplished Eluki Bes Shahar) live up to their reputations in this combination thriller, alternate history, and fantasy romance. The last act of the dying sorceress the duchess of Roxbury draws young Sarah Cunningham from our time into the duchess’ period, the early-nineteenth-century Regency. The duke of Monmouth having won the crown in the seventeenth century, the Stuarts still reign, and there has been a French Revolution, complete with Napoleon, but not an American one. Sarah, magically coerced into believing that she is the duchess, must survive London society, French plots, and the duchess’ fiance, the duke of Wessex. The book has the proper amount of action and the spritely pacing of a good Regency romance. It is quite the best effort in its composite subgenre since Wrede and Stevermer’s fine Sorcery and Cecilia (1988). — Roland Green


Review by Publishers Weekly ~ March 29, 1999

Norton (Scent of Magic) and Edghill's (Book of Moons) collaboration shows how British history might have developed had the heirless Charles II been succeeded by his eldest bastard, the Duke of Monmouth, instead of by his unpopular brother James. Three generations after the change, in the early 19th century, the French have had their revolution, but America remains a colony (governed by Lord Protector Thomas Jefferson). Magic and faerie exist, but are even more covert than the numerous political factions and plots that enliven this action-packed novel. The story starts when the dying Marchioness of Roxbury gives her body to the consciousness of an alternate self: Sarah Cunningham, a poor orphan. Sarah must fulfill the marchioness's neglected promises: to protect King Henry IX's throne from the machinations of the spurned James's descendants and the designs of Napoleon, while helping the magical Old People of her estate fight off a Terror-beast that wants them destroyed. Sarah humorously adjusts to her new identity, encounters her dashing but (apparently) cold husband by an arranged marriage and ultimately proves her bravery. The archaic language might test some readers (""a slightly old-fashioned dress of sprig muslin"" with ""a ruffled lawn fichu"") but the ton atmosphere and arch manners are richly described. Fans of the period and certainly of historical fantasy will be pleased by the amusing characters and elaborately plotted intrigue.


Various reviews ~ For more info and other listings see Articles Over the Years

1999 by John C. Bunnell in Amazing Stories, Summer
1999 by Carolyn Cushman in Locus, #458, March
1999 by Tom Arden in Interzone, #144, June


Dedications and Acknowledgements ~

I'd like to thank Sherwood Smith for help and quick answers to tough research questions involving the France of 1805; Andrew Sigel for settling thorny questions of proper address; the rest of the SFRT1 gang (of fond memory, alas) for the usual hijinks (hi, Ester! hi, Lois!); Jennera for putting up with the usual fuss; Jane Emerson, for Lt. Stephen Price of the Royal Engineers; and (of course) the Lady herself, Andre Norton, for her endless patience and graciousness during the long, drawn-out, and sometimes downright baffling process of writing a collaboration. It's been a privilege to work with her and learn from her.
- Rosemary Edghill


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1999) Published by TOR, HC, 0-312-86427-2, LCCN 980043790, $23.95, 350pg ~ cover by Thomas Canty {Olive Paper Boards}
  • (1999) Published by SFBC, HC, #20207, $11.98, 350pg ~ cover by Thomas Canty {Black Paper Boards, # 20207 on Rear of Dust Jacket}
  • (2000) Published by TOR, PB, 0-812-54539-7, $6.99, 399pg ~ cover by Thomas Canty
  • (2020) Published by Swallows End Publishing, DM, $5.99, 328pg ~ cover by Thomas Canty


Non-English Editions ~

  • (2000) Published in Poland; by Amber, 83-724-5340-3, 318pg ~ translation by Jan Śpiewak or Robert Pryliński? ~ cover by Steve Crisp ~ Polish title Cień Albionu ~ (republished in 2007 with cover by John Hove)
  • (2003) Published in Moscow, by Eksmo and St. Petersburg, by Domino, 5-699-03700-4, HC, 496pg ~ translation by O. Stepashkin ~ cover by Victoria Poyser ~ Russian title Тень Альбиона [Shadow of Albion] ~ Limited to 8100 copies


 Ukrainian Omnibus Editions ~

  • (2017) Published in Kyiv, Ukraine by Globe (Fanzine) ~ cover by Sandara Tang ~ Ukrainian title Прославляя Короля. Звёздные ко’оты [Praising the King. Star Co'ot] ~ Limited to 10 copies


    • "The Shadow of Albion" as "Shadow of Albion" ~ translation by O. Stepashkina, pp. 5-295
    • "Leopard in Exile" as "Leopard in exile" ~ translation by N. Nekrasova, pp. 297-566
    • "Star Ka'at" as "Star Co'ot" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 567-608
    • "Star Ka'at World" as "The World of Star Co'ot" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 609-657
    • "Star Ka'ats and the Plant People" as "Star co'otes and intelligent plants" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 659-699
    • "Star Ka'ats and the Winged Warriors" as "Star co'ots and winged warriors" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 701-752

View the 2005 Russian contract ~ no publishing data at this time



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