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The Magician's Ward    by Patricia C. Wrede order for
Magician's Ward
by Patricia Wrede
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2002 (1997)
Hardcover, Paperback
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This is a sequel to Mairelon the Magician, an entertaining combination of Regency and fantasy, in which a young female street waif, disguised as a boy, joined up with a traveling magician. He turned out to be noble and she agreed to become his ward and apprentice. But, as this second adventure begins, though Kim enjoys lessons in magic, she finds learning to be a lady boring ...

While Mairelon is out at the Royal College of Wizards, Kim is 'stuck here with a great thick square book and that poker-faced aunt of his', a lady of 'relentless respectability' whose goal is to marry Kim off. This is a notion that she finds oddly repellent. After Kim tangles with a burglar in the night, she and Mairelon apply a kind of forensic magic in search of clues, and an old friend warns her of someone collecting wizards.

As the mystery unfolds, Mairelon's high-handed mother arrives, planning to give Kim a full London season, Presentation and all. Highlights include a monkey called Maximilian, an aggressively magicked book, a missing mindless witch, a Russian prince and a French treasure. But it's not all froth, as soon Kim must save her mentor from a trap that's draining his magic and threatens his mind. In the process, she works out how she really feels about Mairelon.

The Magician's Ward is a delightful regency romp in a fantastic London. Its spirited heroine is reminiscent of some of Georgette Heyer's best, and its charmingly enigmatic hero has an endearing impulsiveness. It's light, fun and very well done.

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