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García Y Robertson, R. 1949–

García Y Robertson, R. 1949–

(Rodrigo García y Robertson)

PERSONAL: Born 1949. Education: University of California, Los Angeles, Ph.D.

ADDRESSES: Home—Mt. Vernon, WA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Forge, 175 5th Ave., New York, NY 10010.

CAREER: Writer. Taught history of science and technology prior to becoming a full-time writer; has also taught at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Villanova University, Villanova, PA.

WRITINGS:

NOVELS

The Spiral Dance, Morrow (New York, NY), 1991.

American Woman, Forge (New York, NY), 1998.

Firebird, Tor Books/Tom Doherty (New York, NY), 2006.

"LADY ROBYN" SERIES

Knight Errant, Forge (New York, NY), 2001.

Lady Robyn, Forge (New York, NY), 2003.

White Rose, Forge (New York, NY), 2004.

OTHER

The Moon Maid and Other Fantastic Adventures (short stories), Golden Gryphon Press (Collinsville, IL), 1998.

Contributor of short stories and essays to anthologies, including The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fifth Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1988; Dinosaurs II, edited by Jack Dunn and Gardner Dozois, Ace (New York, NY), 1995; and Tomorrow Bites, edited by Greg Cox and T.K.F. Weisskopf, Baen (Riverdale, NY), 1995. Contributor of short stories to magazines, including Amazing, Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, Pulphouse, Tomorrow, and Weird Tales.

SIDELIGHTS: R. García y Robertson had already established a reputation as a gifted writer of short stories by the time his first novel, The Spiral Dance, was published in 1991. The Spiral Dance is a historical fantasy set in England and Scotland in 1569, the year of an uprising of the northern Celts against England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Anne Percy, Countess of Northumberland, and her husband, Thomas, were historical participants in this rebellion, and the novel follows them as they flee England for Scotland after a military defeat. Having been robbed by border bandits, they are forced to take shelter in a hovel, where Anne sees a haggard crone who somehow resembles her. The old woman, evidently a witch, claims to be Anne's alter ego and makes predictions that include the downfall of the rebellion. Accused of witchcraft and condemned to death, Anne and her maid are rescued by a shepherd named Jock O' the Syde, who turns out to be a werewolf.

The religious context of the story includes both Catholic and pagan elements: Anne has visions of the Virgin Mary, but sometimes those visions show Mary garbed as a pagan huntress. Anne also becomes involved in the "spiral dance," an ancient Celtic rite that celebrates death and rebirth by mimicking the journey to and from the womb. Having escaped from her Catholic pursuers, Anne realizes that she must fulfill the old crone's predictions. As a result, she travels to the ends of the earth, through the magic land of Faerie and back, gaining new wisdom in the process.

The novel garnered enthusiasm from several reviewers. A Publishers Weekly contributor, for example, called it "vivid and entrancing" adding that the author "skillfully persuades readers to suspend disbelief." Booklist reviewer Roland Green perceived an inability of García y Robertson to empathize with the traditional religions described, but concluded that "the pacing, characterization, and setting are all superior." Additionally, Green commended García y Robertson for his thorough historical research. Washington Post Book World critic Gregory Feeley also praised García y Robertson's research, observing that the novelist was evidently well versed in geology. However, Feeley noted that the author used geological terms, literary allusions, and other figures of speech that were anachronistic for the sixteenth century. Nevertheless, Feeley admired the novel for its compact scope and its "ability to take an intelligent look at traditional material." The legendary material in this "vivid and swift-moving" novel, Feeley noted, is refreshingly "elf-free," and the historical material is treated "with authority and conviction." Feeley concluded that The Spiral Dance is "a distinctly above-average first novel, one that holds the reader's attention throughout."

Knight Errant is another historical fantasy. It involves a heroine who time-travels between contemporary and medieval England. Robyn Stafford is a Hollywood studio executive who has gone on a hiking trip in Wales, partly in order to forget about her failed romance with a married man. As Robyn is out walking, she is surprised by a knight on a white horse, who gallops up to her in muddied chain mail. He introduces himself as Edward Plantagenet, Earl of March, and understands her name to be Robyn of Holy Wood. Although her short hair and long pants initially make him think she is a boy, he falls in love with her. They soon part, but Robyn cannot forget the man and wonders if he was really from another time or simply out of his mind. She finally enlists the aid of a local coven of witches to help her find him, and she is transported back to England in the year 1459, at the time of the War of the Roses. "Fantasy becomes terrific historical fiction," observed Paula Luedtke in Booklist, noting that the novel includes a "deliciously romantic love story." A Publishers Weekly contributor found Robyn a "spunky and inventive" protagonist and predicted that "the unexpected and often delightful turns will keep romance fans happy."

In Lady Robyn the author continues the heroine's story. In this installment, Edward is vying for the throne, and Robyn gets caught up in the political intrigue as she is accused of planning to kill Edward through witchcraft. Further complicating matters is the fact that Robyn is hesitant to accept Edward's proposal of marriage because of all she knows about the rather short lives of many Queens. Luedtke, writing again in Booklist, noted that the author "brings the details of medieval daily life vibrantly to life." A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote: "The well-researched and well-told tale will more than satisfy historical romance fans."

White Rose, the third book in the "Lady Robyn" series, finds Robyn back in the twenty-first century but longing for life in the fifteenth century. Still unaware that she is a witch, Robyn soon finds herself back in the past, but this time with her flighty secretary Heidi. The two are soon captured by Edward's enemies, escape, and then are captured again. Along the way, Robyn learns that she is pregnant. Roland Green, writing in Booklist, commented that "abundant historical detail contributes to … compelling scenes" in this tale, while a Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote that the author "plays entertainingly with the tropes of romance, time travel, and fantasy, resulting in a quick story with just enough humor to keep you from taking things for granted."

Some of the author's short stories have been collected in 1998's The Moon Maid and Other Fantastic Adventures. In a review for Booklist, Eric Robbins called the book "a surprisingly varied and satisfying collection of eight short stories." A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that the "neatly detailed settings and adventurous characters make for entertaining reading."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

St. James Guide to Fantasy Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 15, 1991, Roland Green, review of The Spiral Dance, pp. 126-127; February 15, 1998, Eric Robbins. review of The Moon Maid and Other Fantastic Adventures, p. 990; October 1, 2001, Paula Luedtke, review of Knight Errant, p. 305; February 1, 2003, Paula Luedtke, review of Lady Robyn, p. 979; October 1, 2004, Roland Green, review of White Rose, p. 318.

Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2001, review of Knight Errant, p. 1314; December 1, 2002, review of Lady Robyn, p. 1717; August 15, 2004, review of White Rose, p. 762.

Kliatt, May, 2001, review of American Woman, p. 19.

Library Journal, September 15, 1991, Jackie Cassada, review of The Spiral Dance, p. 11; March 15, 1998, Jackie Cassada, review of The Moon Maid and Other Fantastic Adventures, p. 98.

Publishers Weekly, August 2, 1991, review of The Spiral Dance, pp. 66-67; February 9, 1998, review of The Moon Maid and Other Fantastic Adventures, p. 80; October 15, 2001, review of Knight Errant, p. 46; Jan 20, 2003, review of Lady Robyn, p. 55.

Washington Post Book World, October 27, 1991, Gregory Feeley, review of The Spiral Dance, p. 11.

ONLINE

SFReader, http://www.sfreader.com/ (May 2, 2006), Richard R. Horton, review of The Moon Maid and Other Fantastic Adventures.

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