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.
“Ink & Sigil is escape reading, and I loved every word.”—Charlaine Harris, New York Times bestselling author of A Longer Fall
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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A solid hit!
Had me laughing so hard I was crying.
This is the type of writing that I loved so much in his Iron Druid series. Well done sir.!
Warning: will make you want to run out and have a few sips of whiskey
What a lovely book!
It’s easy to read, great pacing, I like all the characters, and it even has some suspense in there too.
The best part about it though is it reads in Glasgow Scotland accent, and as an American I thought that is so charming and creative I am writing this review. If you love the Scottish accent (Glasgow) pick up this book and try reading it out loud to yourself- it will make you smile.
A Terrific New Character in the Iron Druid Universe
I received a free copy of the book in return for an honest review.
Ink & Sigil by Kevin Hearne is a rollicking good read set in the same universe as was the Iron Druid series by the same author. You don’t need to read the Iron Druid series to thoroughly enjoy Ink & Sigil.
The Pantheons are the same, and the Sigil Agents came about because of a shortage of druids.
Aloysius MacBharrais is one of 5 global Sigil Agents, and the protagonist of Mr. Hearne's story. The agents exist to maintain the treaties between the various gods and humankind, at times having to kick the buttocks of demons, minor fae and the like, if they take advantage of (or dine on) humans.
Al finds that his recently deceased apprentice was involved in a fae-trafficking ring, and it’s his job to set things right.
This is a well-imagined world, and, unsurprisingly, given Mr. Hearne’s past work, the writing is spot on. Mr. Hearne throws in a wee bit of a challenge by writing the Scotland-based dialog like it sounds in Glasgow. It took a couple of chapters to get used to the dialog, but it totally worked in the story, and I’m now convinced I could order a whisky in any bar in Glasgow.
Thanks to the writing and the characters living inside, this book was a joy to read. I highly recommend it. (Actually, I've already read the book twice!)
Oh, did I mention the hobgoblin…