Starting with the premise of four novels based on the phases of alchemy and the four primal elements, Tanith Lee created an evocative fantastical alternate to the historical Italy in her Secret Books of Venus series. In Saint Fire, the chilling second volume in the series, Volpa is a strangely beautiful servant girl who glows with an inhuman inner fire. When her master, an abusive wood seller, is mysteriously incinerated, Volpa begins to discover her power of fire. Church leaders, who see her as a mighty weapon in their holy wars, notice her gift, and unable to determine whether her powers are heavenly or demonic, are nonetheless determined to have Volpa on their side. This gripping fantasy of a mysteriously gifted Joan of Arc figure is stunning from beginning to end.
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July 28, 2003
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