Apr 292014

Cover for Valour and Vanity by Mary Robinette Kowal. a white woman with brown curly hair in an up-do stands in the foreground in a Edwardian floral summer dress. behind her is a dark-haired and -goateed man in a white Edwardian suit, his outheld hand performing a glamour of fiery orange lights in the shape of a dragon. A medieval European church can be seen in the background.After Melody’s wedding, the Ellsworths and Vincents accompany the young couple on their tour of the continent. Jane and Vincent plan to separate from the party and travel to Murano to study with glassblowers there, but their ship is set upon by Barbary corsairs while en route. It is their good fortune that they are not enslaved, but they lose everything to the pirates and arrive in Murano destitute.

Jane and Vincent are helped by a kind local they meet en route, but Vincent is determined to become self-reliant and get their money back, and hatches a plan to do so. But when so many things are not what they seem, even the best laid plans conceal a few pitfalls. The ensuing adventure is a combination of the best parts of magical fantasy and heist novels, set against a glorious Regency backdrop.