Archaeologist Saul Lazenby has been all but unemployable since his disgrace during the War. Now he scrapes a living working for a rich eccentric who believes in magic. Saul knows it’s a lot of nonsense…except that he begins to find himself in increasingly strange and frightening situations. And at every turn he runs into the sardonic, mysterious Randolph Glyde.
Randolph is the last of an ancient line of arcanists, commanding deep secrets and extraordinary powers as he struggles to fulfil his family duties in a war-torn world. He knows there’s something odd going on with the haunted-looking man who keeps turning up in all the wrong places. The only question for Randolph is whether Saul is victim or villain.
Saul hasn’t trusted anyone in a long time. But as the supernatural threat grows, along with the desire between them, he’ll need to believe in evasive, enraging, devastatingly attractive Randolph. Because he may be the only man who can save Saul’s life—or his Soul.
*This book was provided to me by the author
Wow did Charles do it again.
I was initially a little hesitant when I read this — I think because I was reading another of Charles’ series and thought there was no way I could enjoy this one as much, or that it might somehow take away from it. Basically, the universe was asking me to pick my favorite child, it turns out.
You just can’t.
This book contains a lot of special elements. Saul is imminently likable even if the mystery of exactly what he did to warrant the loss of his family and potential career feels frustrating initially. While I wanted to know more right from the get go (same with Isaacs and Barney), it’s clear that the slow reveal had a specific structural purpose: we find the mettle of Saul’s personality, his core strength, his humor and sweetness even, before we find out just how much he’s gotten himself through. We know he’s strong — when we find out just *how* strong, it’s impossible not to respect him. More importantly though, it’s vital in understanding that he is the right person for what he’s tasked with doing (I don’t want to spoil it).
I loved Randolph. Charles managed to walk the line between a character who seems unlikeable or unapproachable and unemotional in some capacities externally – one who even sees himself that way – but who ultimately isn’t. Who ultimately is muddling his way through tragic (staggering) losses and trying to, for all intents and purposes, save the world. Or, well, the London corner of the world.
Saul and Randolph’s relationship really unfolded and hit its peak perfectly — in the middle of some fast paced, fantastically written action — in a way that wasn’t overly flowery or too sappy — but that was just right. Because she built to it deftly; because while the characters are vital to the story — and their developing relationship — there are many factors and forces at play in the series, and pulling them all together is a big task — one that Charles pulled of very well.
I very much enjoyed the paranormal aspect of this book — it was written in such a way that I felt like I was there — seeing and experiencing — rather than being told. I find that’s a hard one to pull off when you’re asking readers to imagine someone exploding ivy from their hands (ok. It’s not quite like that. But you get my drift).
The next book in the series isn’t out until January, during which time I might curl up and cry myself to sleep repeatedly as I wish for it. But. Good news: this book is definitely one packed and nuanced enough that I know I’ll enjoy reading it over and over again.
Jude Sierra is a Latinx poet, author, academic and mother who began her writing career at the age of eight when she immortalized her summer vacation with ten entries in a row that read “pool+tv”. Jude began writing long-form fiction by tackling her first National Novel Writing Month project in 2007.
Jude is currently working toward her PhD in Writing and Rhetoric, looking at the intersections of Queer, Feminist and Pop Culture Studies. She also works as an LGBTQAI+ book reviewer for From Top to Bottom Reviews. Her novels include Hush, What it Takes, and Idlewild, a contemporary LGBT romance set in Detroit’s renaissance, which was named a Best Book of 2016 by Kirkus Reviews. Her upcoming novel, A Tiny Piece of Something Greater will be available in May of 2018.