New York Times bestselling author Kevin Hearne returns to the world of his beloved Iron Druid Chronicles in a spin-off series about an eccentric master of rare magic solving an uncanny mystery in Scotland.
“A terrific kick-off of a new, action-packed, enchantingly fun series.”—Booklist
Al MacBharrais is both blessed and cursed. He is blessed with an extraordinary white moustache, an appreciation for craft cocktails—and a most unique magical talent. He can cast spells with magically enchanted ink and he uses his gifts to protect our world from rogue minions of various pantheons, especially the Fae.
But he is also cursed. Anyone who hears his voice will begin to feel an inexplicable hatred for Al, so he can only communicate through the written word or speech apps. And his apprentices keep dying in peculiar freak accidents. As his personal life crumbles around him, he devotes his life to his work, all the while trying to crack the secret of his curse.
But when his latest apprentice, Gordie, turns up dead in his Glasgow flat, Al discovers evidence that Gordie was living a secret life of crime. Now Al is forced to play detective—while avoiding actual detectives who are wondering why death seems to always follow Al. Investigating his apprentice’s death will take him through Scotland’s magical underworld, and he’ll need the help of a mischievous hobgoblin if he’s to survive.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Al MacBharrais is the kind of hero a bookish person might relate to. As an introvert, he loves his job quietly overseeing the enchanted seals that protect Earth from unwanted supernatural visitors. But then his apprentice, Gordie, unexpectedly turns up dead. Apparently, the young man was secretly dabbling in crime, leaving Al with the inconvenient task of infiltrating Scotland’s magical underworld looking for answers. This delightful spinoff of Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles pops with the kind of fun, creative world-building that the series is known for—though you don’t have to read the other books to enjoy this playful adventure. We loved the downtrodden but determined Al, with his penchant for cocktails and his oddly cursed speaking voice that sends anyone within earshot into a rage. From the clever app he uses to communicate to his unexpected sidekick (one very pink hobgoblin), everything about Al’s adventure makes for a great time.
Hearne (A Plague of Giants) spins off his Iron Druid Chronicles series with this enjoyable urban fantasy and series launch. As one of a handful of magically empowered sigil agents, Scotland-based\n Aloysius MacBharrais (Al, for short) is responsible for enforcing the treaties dictating how and when gods and other supernatural creatures can visit Earth. But after his apprentice, Gordie, dies in a freak accident, Al discovers that Gordie was neck-deep in a supernatural trafficking ring, supplying kidnapped Fae folk to unscrupulous buyers. Intent on shutting this operation down, Al recruits one of Gordie's intended victims cheekily named hobgoblin Buck Foi to help investigate. Together they follow a trail that connects powerful people in both the Fae and human worlds while combating threats from Al's foes. Al, an aging widower who's cursed such that the longer he speaks to someone, the more they hate him, makes for a refreshing viewpoint into an urban fantasy setting, while the sigil-based magic system proves both versatile and meticulously detailed. Though the mystery plot runs a little thin, the touches of humor and dynamic characters are enough to carry the day. Readers will be eager to see what happens next.