Page 45 Review by Stephen
Queen Elizabeth I of England is old and ailing, and much fixated on the freak weather conditions which afflict her kingdom. The skies are blood red at noon, whilst dry and fiery thunderstorms fill the sky with a deafening noise. Some say it augurs the end of the world, the Queen's physician isn't sure. For the moment he's more interested in what his magics have informed him: that there is an artefact of great power in Jerusalem, the Holy City. It has been offered to the doctor to guard, lest it fall into the wrong hands, yet first it must reach the English coastline safely. Sir Nicholas, the court's intelligencer, takes charge of the affair, and employs the services of a blind balladeer, whose athletic prowess would suggest that he is more than he seems. In Spain a boy with the wings of a swan is held chained in a tower - the Inquisition will see to it that he burns in the morning. After that, there are dealings to be had with King James of Scotland, who, though Protestant, shares their loathing of all things magical, and may be persuaded to take the throne to his south should its sick queen fall.
Meanwhile the first child born in the American colonies is sailing to England with her Indian protector, to attract more investors. But she is worried that her strange condition may manifest itself once more upon arrival...
A fifty-fifty readership of SANDMAN and Marvel readers seemed to enjoy this. For the superhero fans it was working out who was who, and for the SANDMAN fans I imagine it was Elizabethan England that did it for them. I fall into both camps, as is my job, and I thought it worked very well: an imaginatively re-crafted world, moody art and some great covers