The Prince of Lies – Anne Lyle

About the Book

Elizabethan spy Mal Catlyn has everything he ever wanted—his twin brother Sandy restored to health, his family estate reclaimed and a son to inherit it—but his work isn’t over yet. The guisers’ leader, Jathekkil, has reincarnated as the young Prince Henry Tudor, giving Mal a chance to eliminate his enemies whilst they are at their weakest.

With Sandy’s help Mal learns to harness his own magic in the fight against the renegade skraylings, but it may be too late to save England. Schemes set in motion decades ago are at last coming to fruition, and the barrier between the dreamlands and the waking world is wearing thin.

536 pages (Paperback)
Published on October 29, 2013
Published by Angry Robot Books
Author’s webpage

This book was sent for me to review by the author.

I started writing this review the other day, then this bomb was dropped on me and in my epic freak out, I deleted the whole thing. I haven’t really had my head screwed on straight enough to write another review yet. I think I might be up to the task today. It’s time to get back on the horse, and all that.

The Prince of Lies is the last book in The Night’s Masque trilogy, written by Anne Lyle. The interesting thing, however, is that it ends on such a note that Lyle could easily return to the world she’s crafted. I hope she does. It is rare that I come across a trilogy where the world seems to become ever more nuanced and deliciously expanded with each installment of the series. The characters became my dearest friends, and I truly am anxious to see what is in store for them in the next phases of their lives.

That isn’t to say that the series doesn’t tie up loose ends perfectly, because it does. Lyle nicely weaves together all the plot threads in a very satisfying way. She answers all the questions readers might have, but as I mentioned above, she leaves enough open for her to easily revisit the world she’s created sometime in the future.

The main players in The Prince of Lies are the same as the other books, with the added addition of Mal’s son, Kit, who was introduced late in the last book. The Prince of Lies has a more political feel to it than the other books. Many of the main focus characters are members of court and there’s a plot to take the throne. Involved is some magic and many adventures. Like the previous two books, Lyle wastes no time at getting things moving. The book takes off at a run and doesn’t stop until it’s perfect conclusion.

The Prince of Lies takes place over a number of years, which might be a little frustrating to some readers as the time lapse can feel a little awkward in places. This, however, allows Lyle to show readers how each character grows and develops as events transpire. The relationships aren’t all peaches and cream. Her characters have to work for their happiness, and when that is juxtaposed with the events unfolding around them, the characters are reasonably strained and stressed in reaction to it.

Perhaps due to the long period of time covered, or each character living their own lives, or any number of things, the rapport between characters was lacking a little, and some new perspectives might feel a little bland to readers. That being said, each character remains true to how Lyle developed them, and if things might feel a little off at times, the events transpiring around the characters will help readers easily forget their woes.

Too often I feel that characters are easily forgiven for the mistakes they’ve made in previous books in a series. For example, character makes mistake, character and readers see no repercussions from that. I really think Lyle needs some accolades for not making this mistake. Mal makes some pretty hefty mistakes in The Merchant of Dreams, and much of the plot in The Prince of Lies stems from those mistakes. Furthermore, much of the character  personal and interpersonal relationships, stems from the issues and mistakes made in the previous book. This really adds an interesting dynamic to everything that transpires, and serves to cause readers to feel even more invested in the book as a whole.

The Prince of Lies was 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.


4/5 stars

One Responses

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.