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Welcome to Fountain Reach
Ancient seat of the Aubuchon dynasty
Majestic setting of the White Stone tournament
Alex Verus's (not necessarily reliable) reputation attracts all sorts. Most are plain bonkers. Yet there's one invitation he just can't refuse.
At Fountain Reach, Alex is perfectly placed among the noted and notorious to figure out why apprentices have been vanishing. But the tournament is a minefield of ancient grudges and new threats, and Alex can't afford to miss a trick as his elusive adversary stays one step ahead in this most dangerous of games.
Jacka's excellent third urban fantasy thriller starring British freelance diviner Alex Verus (after Cursed) features magical dueling with prestige and lives at stake. The White Stone tournament promises to offer harmless combat for eager apprentices of Light and Dark mages as representatives of both groups ask Alex to investigate the recent disappearance of several trainees. As Alex grapples with the mystery, he finds himself protecting one young woman from human thugs and supernatural assassins, uneasily inspecting the remote mansion where the contest will be held, and dodging his own implacable enemies. In short, Alex does what he usually does: look after vulnerable people, skeptically evaluate the Light mages' smug self-righteousness, and keep half a step ahead of violent death. The action is fast and smart, playing with thriller conventions so that while readers get excitement they also are encouraged to think about what magic might mean in human terms. A superb book in an outstanding, provocative series.