Diane Duane

"Stealing the Elf-King's Roses"

(Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer JAN 09, 2003)

"Lee looked at the defendant, and waited, letting the Sight work, concentrating on keeping her own thoughts quiet and making herself a transparent conduit though which Justice could gaze unimpeded. Trained and inured to the Regard as she was, it hurt somewhat. Lee was better than usual at bearing the discomfort, partly because she did so much work in the forensic side of Seeing -- perceiving the truth about things."

Stealing the Elf-King's Roses by Diane Duane

There is not just one Earth. In fact, there are six planet Earths, that, thanks to the discovery by MacIlwain, are connected to each other by gates. Actually there are only five...the sixth one, Terra, hasn't figured out gating yet. This does not concern us; the planets that concern us in this book are Lee's futuristic Earth, and Alfhiem.

Read excerptLee Enfield is an assistant to the DA of Los Angeles County. Through her ability of Sight, she can See the truth and gather evidence. In a slightly creepy example of how this works, at the end of a trial the prosecution and defending teams gather together to let Justice descend on them and to show the members of the jury what really happened before they begin to deliberate. If the jury agrees that the man is guilty, then Justice meets out the punishment. Lee and her partner, the fayhound Gelert, whose ability is his extraordinary sense of smell, have thus far made the perfect team. The murder of an Elf will require all their talents and more, for as they explore the mystery, their senses tell them a great deal, yet only deepen the mystery. When they get to journey to Alfhiem, a place usually forbidden to mortals, they end up saving the life of the King. He has decided that to truly learn to live along side the other planets, that Elf kind must give up their immortality. This plan is not exactly popular. When Lee and Gelert are kicked off the planet, they must sneak back, because they are the only ones between the safety of the intensely likable King and all out war.

This book, from the cover and the title, may sound like a straight fantasy, but it's not. Three genres are effectively and wonderfully combined. Lee and Gelert are PI's, solving a mystery, set in a fantastical land. High tech equipment and space ships speak of Science Fiction. One of the aspects I love in this book is the improvement to police work that Diane Duane creates. Today, it's getting harder and harder to successfully prosecute criminals. Every piece of evidence has to be carefully analyzed and guarded. Duane, with her implants that allow Lee and her partner to talk to each other through their thoughts, the ability to truly see events, has made a much more optimistic future for justice than we usually see. As an aside, I thought it was funny that, even though everyone knew what happened, because they saw it and knew he was guilty, the first things out of the lawyer's mouth was that he planned to appeal.

She also mentions how looking at an elf, at all this perfection and immortality affects humans -- I think she's got a point, that looking at someone who will never die, who is absolutely perfect in looks and calm, could depress or even anger the people who look upon them.

Now, I have to devote a paragraph to Gelert. Lee is a lovely woman, and you care about her...she's really cool, but Gelert is fabulous. He's a terrible smart aleck, Philip Marlow in wolfhound form. He's sensible and smart, and a devoted husband. We avoids all the master and talking dog clichés nicely, because it's obvious that Lee and Gelert are equals.

Diane Duane is an excellent writer. She manages to take some interesting concepts and pull them together to create a book that stretches the boundaries of genre, while keeping all the things that make them a genre -- make them something we love to read -- intact.

  • Amazon readers rating: from 18 reviews

Read a chapter excerpt from Stealing the Elf-King's Roses at MostlyFiction.com

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Bibliography: (with links to Amazon.com)

Forensic Lanthanomancer Lee Enfield, stand-alone novel:

The Middle Kingdoms series:

  • The Door into Fire (1979) (reissued as The Sword & the Dragon)
  • The Door Into Shadow (1983) (reissued as The Sword & the Dragon)
  • The Door Into Sunset (1992)
  • The Door Into Starlight (never in print)
  • Tale of the Five: The Sword & the Dragon (2001) (reissue of first two novels in the series)
  • Tale of the Five: ? (reissue of second two novels in the series)

The Young Wizards Series (Young Adult):

The Cat Wizards series (for Adults):

Stardrive: The Harbinger Trilogy

Space Cops Series (written with Peter Morwood):


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Book Marks:


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About the Author:

Diane DuaneDiane Duane was born in Manhattan in 1952 and grew up on Long Island. high school she won a Regents Science and Nursing scholarship, and her first studies in college were toward a degree in astrophysics. A total inability to handle calculus and other higher math drove her instead into the arms of the biological sciences. She graduated Pilgrim State Hospital School of Nursing in 1974 as a registered nurse with an honors specialty in psychiatry.

She worked as a psychiatric nurse before turning to writing full time in 1980. Since then she has published nearly thirty novels, including several collaborations with her husband, Peter Morwood, some bestselling Star Trek novels, and some Tom Clancy Net Force novels. She also writes screenplays, served as senior writer for the BBC-TV education series "Science Challenge," and writes scripts for CD-ROM computer games.

In her spare time, Duane collects recipes and cookbooks, travels, studies German, dabbles in astronomy, and spends time weeding the garden. Duane lives with her husband in rural Ireland.

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