~ A Novel by Andre Norton
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Write-up from the back of paperback edition ~
Amelia could never have known that the necklace - the delicate filigree butterflies of dead black iron - would become the yoke that could drag her down to her death.
Amelia Harrach lived with a name blackened by scandal. They said her grandmother’s marriage to a captive Hessian officer during the American Revolution had been false. Moreover, they said Amelia’s father was a bastard. Then came the news that her grandfather was indeed alive, and ready to acknowledge Amelia’s legitimacy, and make her heiress to a great fortune in Germany.
And so began a journey into horror and evil that would endanger Amelia and her fortune.
Suddenly she was trapped in a world of drugs and nightmares. But the treacherous way to freedom lay ahead - and so did love...
Write-ups from fans ~
During the Revolutionary War, an American woman marries a captive Hessian soldier, who returns to his home after his release, promising to send for her. When he arrives home, however, he finds that all the other heirs have died and he is now the ruling Elector of Hesse-Dohna, and must make a political marriage. So he is forced to renounce the marriage he'd made by choice and chose a "suitable" bride. Now the American woman is dying and so is the Elector. But he sends a message which arrives after the woman's death, and is passed to her granddaughter. The granddaughter accepts the invitation to travel to Europe to her grandfather's country, hoping to obtain some acknowledgment that her grandmother's marriage was legitimate. The Elector meets with her in secret--they think! But spies in the Court find out he has acknowledged her and has left her a fortune in his will, and they want it. She won't go along with their plans, so she is imprisoned in a castle dungeon, along with the English-descent soldier whom her grandfather trusted to keep her safe. ~ SL
This book is quite good, though it mixes elements from many different sources. At first I thought of The Prince Commands with a young American (female, this time) dragged to Europe to inherit a throne. Lots of palace intrigue, backstabbing and courting favor. Then we come to Wallenstein to remind us of the infamous Chateau D'if from The Count of Monte Christo. Rescue comes with the aid of an insane young woman and a man that Amelia thought was dead. I like the neat twist in the fact that she has to set him free before he can help her. And like many other books of this type, there is a harrowing chase cross-country fleeing an evil, rapacious Baron who insists that Amelia is his wife. Shares trials and tribulations lead to a romantic ending. It would make a nifty mini-series. ~ PG
Bibliography of English Editions ~
- (1980) Published by Fawcett, PB, 0-449-24309-5, 978-0-449-24309-1, $2.25, 287pg ~ cover by unknown
- (2012) Published by Premier Digital Publishing, eISBN 978-1-937957-42-1, DM, $3.99, 246pg ~ cover by Kib Prestridge
- (2014) Published by Open Road Media, eISBN 978-1-497656-33-8, DM, $3.99, 223pg ~ cover by Kib Prestridge
Non-English Editions ~
- (1994) Combined with "Ralestone Luck" translation by V. Shcherbakova ~ Published in Moscow, by Sigma Press, 5-859-49276-, HC, 448pg ~ "Iron Butterflies" translation by Dmitry Arseniev ~ Cover by D. Avvakumov ~ Russian title Железные бабочки [Iron Butterflies]
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