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The Edge of Reason    by Melinda Snodgrass order for
Edge of Reason
by Melinda Snodgrass
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In The Edge of Reason, Melinda Snodgrass give readers the opening salvo of a new urban fantasy reminiscent of Terry Brooks' dark Knight of the Word series. This is a world in which Old Ones have, from the beginning, used magic to manipulate events that increase religious fanaticism and superstition and allow them to feed on mankind's suffering. Standing against them - and supporting science, reason and the development of technology - are the Lumina.

As the story opens, teen Rhiana Davinovitch flees inhuman hunters, who surround themselves in darkness. Rhiana, a physicist/sorceress with a huge magical aptitude (who uses pennies as a magical focus) had been working with the Old Ones to construct a nuclear bomb until she escaped. Officer Richard Oort of the Albuquerque Police Department, a 'genetic freak, a human utterly devoid of magic', follows their trail and helps Rhiana and a homeless man named Cross to destroy them. Cross, an Old One working on the side of the Lumina, warns Richard to keep Rhiana close. Subsequently, the Lumina leader, Kenntnis, uses his clout to have Richard work with his organization, Lumina Enterprises. Kenntnis enlists Richard's help in the ancient war 'being waged for the spirit of humanity'.

Between frequent attacks from the bad guys - and armed by a most unusual sword given to him by Kenntnis - Richard tracks down the bombmakers, with the aid of elfin chief coroner Angela Armandariz and hardnosed Lieutenant Weber. But the Old Ones seek out his vulnerabilities - within his family and in his past - and do great damage, while a betrayal on the Lumina side paves the way for the Old Ones to create a dimensional gateway that disgorges monsters. The Edge of Reason ends on a cliffhanger - with a world still to save - and I look forward to what comes next in this recommended series.

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