THE TALES OF HENGHIS HAPTHORN
Henghis Hapthorn is the foremost penetrator of mysteries and uncoverer of secrets in a decadent, far-future Old Earth, one age before Jack Vance's Dying Earth. A superb rationalist, he has long disdained the notion that the universe has an alternative organizing principle: magic. But now a new age is dawning, overturning the very foundations of Hapthorn's existence, and he must struggle to survive in a world where all the rules are changing.
Hapthorn decides to leave Old Earth, seeking to solve the mystery of Hespira, an ungainly off-world woman who has lost her memory. The investigation takes him down The Spray to the rank-obsessed world of Ikkibal and the rustic Shannery, where he unravels Hespira's role in a deadly feud between aristocrats. But behind the scenes an unseen antagonist is plotting the discriminator's destruction.
Praise for Matthew Hughes:
"Criminally underrated" - George R.R. Martin
"Heir apparent to Jack Vance" - Booklist
"Hughes's boldness is admirable"- New York Review of Science Fiction
"Hughes effortlessly renders fantastic worlds and beings believable"- Publishers Weekly
"A towering talent"- Robert J. Sawyer
Hughes continues to carve out a unique place for himself in the fantasy-mystery realm with his superlative third adventure featuring Holmesian "discriminator" Henghis Hapthorn. Still recovering from the events of 2007's The Spiral Labyrinth, Hapthorn is granted a glimpse into the future and learns that the world as he knows it will soon be overtaken by magical forces. Despite the impending catastrophe, the investigator attempts to carry on with his usual assignments, but after he successfully recovers some stolen relics, he finds himself caught in a war between his vengeful client and the criminal he ransomed them from. A way out is offered by a mysterious woman who seems ignorant of her own past. A droll narrative voice, dry humor and an alternate universe that's accessible without explicit exposition make this a winner.