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The Edge of Ruin    by Melinda Snodgrass order for
Edge of Ruin
by Melinda Snodgrass
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2010 (2010)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Edge of Ruin follows The Edge of Reason in Melinda Snodgrass's dark urban fantasy series. Old Ones, who have always used magic to manipulate events that increase religious fanaticism and superstition, feed on mankind's suffering. Standing against them - and supporting science, reason and the technological progress - are the Lumina.

In The Edge of Reason, Officer Richard Oort of the Albuquerque Police Department (who is utterly devoid of magic) rescued powerful physicist/sorceress Rhiana Davinovitch from inhuman hunters, helped by Cross, an Old One siding with the Lumina. Richard and Rhiana joined the Lumina. As that episode ended, the Old Ones - aided by a traitor - bound Lumina CEO Kenntnis behind slow glass and created a dimensional gateway in Virginia that disgorged monsters.

As The Edge of Ruin opens, the world is trying to come to terms with this intrusion, while Richard is struggling with his new responsibilities as CEO of a global corporate empire - and with the constant proximity of his fault-finding father, Judge Robert Oort, and of his sister Pamela, a skilled lawyer who joins their father in putting him down. Richard's coroner lover Angela has also stayed with him, and homeless god Cross shows up at crucial times.

Richard resists his father's demands that he resign from the Albuquerque Police Department. His growing entourage is soon joined by Lumina COO Dagmar Reitlingen, by his once enemy Reverend Mark Grenier (a sorceror until he failed the Old Ones and lost his magic), and by ex-CIA operatives Syd Marten and his feisty daughter Samantha. A late addition is scientist Eddie Tanaka, sole survivor of a Lumina lab in Indonesia that was targeted by the Old Ones.

Richard decides he must free Kenntnis and close the dimensional gateway at Grenier's old compound in Virginia. But to do so, he and his allies must face not only monsters but also another man immune to magic, psychopath Andresson (in the employ of the Old Ones). This episode ends on mixed success, with a big fight still ahead for Richard Oort and all the eggheads and paladins he and his team can muster. It's a dark, gripping series and I very much look forward to what comes next.

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