"A purr at the right time can do wonders," says Rhiow, the furry, black heroine of To Visit the Queen,. Diane Duane's mettlesome cats can work wonders with more than their purring: they're wizards, capable of casting spells, walking on air, traveling through space and time, and speaking to humans--if they choose to. In this sequel to the bestselling The Book of Night with Moon, Rhiow and her team are called in to troubleshoot a malfunctioning magical portal in the London underground. Gradually, they unravel a conspiracy that threatens to twist their reality into a nightmarish alternate history--one in which Victorian England gets a boost from future science and uses nuclear technology to terrorize the world. This perfidious design rests upon the assassination of Queen Victoria, and it's up to Rhiow, Arhu, Urruah, and the London cats to save the queen.
Duane has earned an enormous following with her stories of the unending battle between the evil Lone Power and the forces of life, here championed by Rhiow and the other wizard cats. Although her stories are usually lively reads, in To Visit the Queen, Duane takes a long time to build up to the action and burdens the narrative with large lumps of magic terminology that's more than reminiscent of computer programs or mathematical theorems. But there's a lot of fun to be had from the wheels-within-wheels universes going awry, in spotting tidbits of history, and in following the chain of events as the traitor in the pride reveals its claws. --Blaise Selby