Tor, 2018 (2018)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
've been a fan for decades of Steven Brust's beguiling
series, with ongoing witty banter between Vlad Taltos and his familiar jhereg. Recently the author has been branching out, with his
novels (about a secret society, whose members carry unbroken memories that go back forty thousand years), and now
his one is filled with Brust's trademark banter too. Our hero, Donovan, was shot by a cop for
arguing while black
(straight out of today's media reports). But he didn't die. Instead he was recruited by the Foundation, which assigns missions to teams with a variety of magical (and other) talents - they believe themselves to be the
opens, Donovan contacts his team (Marci and Susan) about their latest assignment - to investigate a series of increasingly nasty executions involving magic. Marci levitated a paperweight at age fifteen and her magical abilities have been honed by the Foundation, but this is her first assignment. Susan, affectionately dubbed '
' by Donovan, is the muscle of the team, expert in many martial arts.
hey investigate, avoiding traps set for them most of the time, and are targeted in turn by whoever the opposition is. That's the puzzler, as the murder victims are all associated with the other, less ethical, magical organization, the Mystici. But Donovan's crew keep doing their job, which is '
to prevent knowledge of magic from leaking out into the awareness of the general public.
is high entertainment as only Steven Brust can deliver it - a riveting blend of mystery and magic, with a smart aleck hero, a perplexing puzzle based on vengeance, and delightful dialogue throughout. Don't miss this one!
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