book cover of The Spiral Dance

The Spiral Dance

A novel by

Publisher's Weekly
Set in 16th-century England and Scotland during the last great rebellion against Tudor absolutism, this vivid and entrancing first novel is a fantasy deeply rooted in historic fact. Anne Percy, countess of Northumberland, and her husband, Tom, along with other noble families who practice the outlawed Old Faith--Catholicism--plan an uprising against Queen Elizabeth. Anne encounters a madwoman, claiming to be her alter ego, whose raving predictions include the failure of the revolt. After the rebel forces are defeated, Anne and Tom flee to Scotland where they are taken in and then betrayed by scheming Border lords. But Jock o' the Syde, an amiable-appearing werewolf earning his keep by herding sheep, rescues Anne and her maid after they are accused of witchcraft by Elizabeth's forces, tortured and condemned to death. The countess realizes she must fulfill the the rest of the madwoman's prophesy and travel to the Ends of the Earth to meet her fate, even if it means traversing Faerie, the land of magic. Weaving Celtic legend with the brutality and squalor of the 16th century, Garcia y Robertson skillfully persuades readers to suspend disbelief.

Library Journal
History and legend come together in a splendid mix in this fantasy set in 16th-century Scotland and England. Anne Percy, Countess of Northumberland and leader of a band of anti-Elizabethan Catholic rebels, finds her faith in religion and causes shaken by a chance encounter with a prophetic madwoman who bears an uncanny resemblance to herself. Witchcraft, werewolves, and the faerie world form a harmonious counterpoint to historical events in a gracefully written first novel that will appeal to lovers of period fiction.

Kirkus Reviews
An exemplary historical fantasy, re-creating the colorful landscape of 16th-century Scotland with dashes of witchcraft and lycanthropy. Anne Percy, Countess of Northumberland, joins her husband Tom and his allies when they rebel against the Protestant absolutism of Queen Elizabeth. Among other things, the northern nobles reject the new religion imposed by the Tudors; they remain loyal to the Catholic faith. But the revolt quickly bogs down, and the rebels must flee into Scotland, where they take refuge among the feuding, lawless Scottish clans. Betrayal follows betrayal; Tom is sold off to the English; and Anne barely escapes herself, aided by an ancient Scottish witch and an amorous werewolf, Jock of the Syde. Anne's wanderings carry her from castle to hovel to dungeon, across Scotland to the northern Isles and finally to the Ends of the Earth. While she retains her faith in the Virgin Mary, her experiences among the Scots make Anne far more sympathetic to the even older pagan rites she encounters there. Here's a novel that harbors none of the romantic misconceptions of history typical of most historical fantasies: this Scotland is bleak, dirty, and rough; life is hard and poor, but an authentic sensual joy lives beneath the squalid surface. Garcia y Robertson peoples his convincing historical background with believable, well-rounded characters, and neatly links Anne's personal odyssey with actual events. A fine novel for anyone interested in history or fantasy, and surely the most promising debut of the year.

Genre: Fantasy

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Used availability for R Garcia y Robertson's The Spiral Dance

Hardback Editions

October 1991 : USA Hardback

Title: The Spiral Dance
Author(s): Rodrigo Garcia Y Robertson
ISBN: 0-688-10902-0 / 978-0-688-10902-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: William Morrow & Co
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   

Paperback Editions

February 1993 : USA Mass Market Paperback

Title: The Spiral Dance
Author(s): R Garcia y Robertson
ISBN: 0-380-76518-7 / 978-0-380-76518-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Avon
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU