Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Alice Borchardt, 1939-2007

Just read on RRA-L (the soon-to-be-defunct list Romance Readers Anonymous) that historical novelist Alice Borchardt, sister of Anne Rice, passed away last week, July 24th, of cancer. Word hasn't really gotten out yet otherwise, I don't think, though her Wikipedia entry has been updated with the news. The next novel in her Guinevere series had been listed on Amazon UK for a while, but it was removed some time ago; apparently due to her ill health, she wasn't able to complete it.

I'd never gotten around to reading her novels, though I own copies of them all. Her obituary is in the Houston Chronicle.

Things may be quiet around here as I try to get my historical mystery chapter completed (I'm almost done, and it's - sigh - quite long), but I'll be posting the first part of my interview with Jane Kirkpatrick next Monday.


  1. How truly sad. It's a strange coincidence that she passed away on the 24th, my birthday; that same day, I was literally in the midst of "Night of the Wolf," the second in her shape-shifting series set in Dark Ages' Rome. I read most of the day and into the night, in fact. I've had the three books in the series for years but never got around to reading them. I picked up "The Silver Wolf" (Book 1) on a whim recently and found that I couldn't put it down. Her writing is rich, textured; the historical details fascinating. I liked the second book even better, because you can really see her love for nature in it. I just finished the third one last week, and loved it, too. She captures the feel, smells, and perils of the Dark Ages brilliantly and still manages to keep the supernatural elements of her story under control, for the most part. I'm not a huge fantasy fan, but I do love wolves and history, so the books were an unexpected treat.

    Sarah, we were just corresponding about her recently, remember?
    May she rest in peace.

  2. Yep - it's quite a coincidence. I've been meaning to get to her novel Devoted. I'm not much into werewolves, but I generally enjoy historical fantasy.

  3. Anonymous9:24 AM

    the world has lost a wonderful author and person. I feel as if she was always in her sister's shadow..... there is not even an interview stating how Anne(howard) rice felt about her death.. all very sad... it is sad the the 3rd book from the guinevere series will never see the light of day, i was looking towards it with much hope... may her soul forever rest in peace

  4. Anonymous12:07 PM

    I just found out she died. She was one of my favorite authors and I'm terribly crushed that the third Guinevere novel will, more than likely, never be released. I've been sitting on the edge of me seat for years waiting for it to come out.

    I suppose it's just another one of those tragic happenings that leaves us all rather sad and disappointed.

  5. Anonymous2:59 PM

    Its so horrible. I have been waiting for four years for that book to come out i was devestated when i found out she died. I really hope that someone will release the book.

  6. Anonymous10:20 AM

    I was very upset when I found this. While scouring the web to find out when the last of the dragon queen books would be released I stumbled upon this site. She has always been my favorite author regardless of the menagerie of books dominating several rooms in my house. What can I say the woman had a grasp on fantasy while giving it logic. I have met very very few writers that can accomplish that to the extent that she did. Even more so disappointed and some what melancholy that her collection will always be one book short of completion.There will always be that one vacant spot on my bookshelf where that last book would have gone. In a way though I think it is the icing on the cake that it will eternally be an open ended story for me. Ever since I got drawn in by that lone copy of the Silver Wolf siting on a rack alone in Wal-Mart. I was probably about 12 and begged my mother to buy it for me. Ten years later I learned there were more to it and every book store I went in Borchardt was the first name i looked for. Say what you will, not everyone can love a certain book. However it was something about her books that made me laugh, cry, and feel all of her characters right down to Hugo in Wolf King. Even in death and that lonely little vacancy on my bookshelf there will always be a large space for her and her work in this writers heart.

  7. Anonymous8:50 AM

    Life is so fickle. I'm grateful Alice was able to share her stories with us before she moved on. She enriched so many lives with her talent! Her stories are like old friends I revisit whenever I get a chance. I wish her final novel would be released- finished or not. Rest in peace.

  8. Anonymous7:41 PM

    This is very sad, if belated news. I only just found out abut the death of Alice. It is a shame, because although i own a great number of boks, many of them fantasy, written by a great number of brilliant authors, i feel there is, ah, was none so takented as Alice Borchardt when it came to blending mystical legend and hard historical fact so perfectly. I was highly anticipating the third bok about Guinevere, and now can only hope someone will do Alice proud and finsih and release it.

  9. Anonymous7:44 PM

    And im sorry for all the above spelling errors. My fast typing is to blame. Apologies.

  10. Anonymous10:11 PM

    I wish I had heard about Alice's death sooner. It's sad how quiet her death was kept. I have been searching for years for information on the release of her final book in the Guinevere series, and tonight, came upon this post. Alice was a terrific fantasy writer. She had such an impact on me as a reader. I was 14, and had just grown out of the saddle club, and thoroughbred young adult books, and was looking for something new. I picked up The Silver Wolf right before Halloween... It was on an end cap at Barnes and Nobles, one of those where they were trying to generate interest in new releases, and I thought it looked interesting, so I picked it up. At the time, I didn't realize I had picked up the book that would shape my future taste in books. The environments in her books were always so well described. I felt like I was actually there, and her characters were beautifully written. For most people, she was always the lesser known sister, but for me, after reading her books, I tried her sisters.. she is why I picked up one of Anne's books. To this day, Alice is still my favorite author. I'll always be sad that I never got to read her last book. May she rest in peace.

  11. Thanks to everyone for sharing your thoughts here.

    The link to her obit from the Houston Chronicle no longer works, but I've found another from the LA Times.

  12. Correction - I fixed the Houston Chronicle link after finding a better URL.

  13. Anonymous9:47 AM

    I just found this out, searching for when the next book in the Guinevere series would come out. I wish I never picked it up because I've read them both and have been aching for the ending which now I know will never come. This woman had such vision and ability to paint a vivid picture in your mind. Oh I am truly heartbroken.

  14. Anonymous9:17 PM

    It really is lame that she passed away and her fans didn't even know. Like alot of you I've been waiting for the third book and only found out she died because I finally decided to try and find the book online. This does bring up an interesting question though, if someone else was to complete the book does it detract from the book because Alice didn't write it? Is is cheating? Or as readers do we not care, as long as there is closure to the series? I don't think I care. I just want to know more about the story.

  15. I believe that Alice had to have been close to finishing the novel as it was slated to be released only a couple months after she passed. However I do not know if it really was that close to being finished or not. It may just needed to be finished with the editing, who know!? My hopes is that Anne is merely holding onto it till she sees fit that it is the right time to release the book. My heart goes out to Anne she has lost so many that she loved. This had to have been hard for her and the loss of Alice as a writer is tragic :(