Mistress of Mistresses
The first novel in the Zimiamvia trilogy begins with the death of Edward Lessingham in Norway and an overview of his extraordinary life. This Overture provides an explicit link with Eddison’s earlier fantasy work, The Worm Ouroboros, which began with Lessingham’s dream-journey to Mercury to witness the struggles between the Demons and the Witches.
Thereafter Lessingham is reincarnated as Lord Lessingham, the cousin of Horius Parry, the villainous Vicar of Rerek, in the ‘fabled land of Zimiamvia’, where the death of King Mezentius has left a dangerous power vacuum, and the future of the Three Kingdoms of Rerek, Fingiswold and Meszria is in the balance. The king’s son and heir, Styllis, is soon dispatched by the scheming Vicar who sets himself up as regent for the young queen, Antiope. Amid the treachery and intrigue two love affairs blossom, between Queen Antiope and Lessingham, and between the Lady Fiorinda and Duke Barganax. The affairs are strangely linked, and at points interchanged, by the mysterious powers of Fiorinda and her acolyte, Doctor Vandermast.
The Vicar is aided unwittingly in his villainy by Lessingham, who though honourable and dashing, seems strangely bound to the Vicar not only by ties of blood but by a desire to court danger. Lessingham’s efforts to procure a lasting peace among the warring factions are thwarted throughout by the Vicar’s treachery, and the action builds to a bloody final denouement.