The Blue Star by Fletcher Pratt

is a fine short fantasy novel. It is set in an alternate Europe, which seems to me to have diverged from our own history sometime after the middle Roman Empire; traces can be seen in the nations of this world of Greek and Roman influence, and the organized Church seems to be descended from the early Christian church after it obtained political power. (There is a frame prologue and epilogue consisting of several fellows talking speculatively about such an alternate history, between which they dream commonly of the story. This is more effective that I would have supposed had it been stated to me so baldly as I just did.) The story focuses upon Rodvard Bergelin, a fellow of high ideals and low morals, a low-ranking member of a revolutionary cabal which plots to overthrow the Dossolan Empire on behalf of 'the people;' and upon Lalette Asterhax, a hereditary witch whom Rodvard is ordered to seduce in order to obtain her powers on behalf of the cabal. This is very well-plotted, with good characterization and fine world-building. I highly recommend it.

%A Pratt, Fletcher  
%T Blue Star, The  
%T (Originally published in omnibus Witches Three)  
%D 1952 (reprinted 1969, 1975)  
%I Twayne (reprinted by Ballantine Adult Fantasy)  
%E Lin Carter  
%G No ISBN  
%P 240 pp.  
%K fantasy alternate history witchcraft Austro-Hungarian Empire  

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