A Tor.com Reviewers' Choice Best Book of the Year
Sparks fly in this enchanting fantasy novel from the author of Unnatural Magic when a down-and-out fire witch and a young gentlewoman join forces against a deadly conspiracy.
Dellaria Wells, petty con artist, occasional thief, and partly educated fire witch, is behind on her rent in the city of Leiscourt—again. Then she sees the “wanted” sign, seeking Female Persons, of Martial or Magical ability, to guard a Lady of some Importance, prior to the celebration of her Marriage. Delly fast-talks her way into the job and joins a team of highly peculiar women tasked with protecting their wealthy charge from unknown assassins.
Delly quickly sets her sights on one of her companions, the confident and well-bred Winn Cynallum. The job looks like nothing but romance and easy money until things take a deadly (and undead) turn. With the help of a bird-loving necromancer, a shapeshifting schoolgirl, and an ill-tempered reanimated mouse named Buttons, Delly and Winn are determined to get the best of an adversary who wields a twisted magic and has friends in the highest of places.
Waggoner makes a delightful return to the vibrant, Victorian England inspired world of Unnatural Magic for a rollicking standalone fantasy featuring a scrappy but endearing heroine. Dellaria Wells is a no-good guttersnipe who runs petty cons in order to keep a roof over her head and look after her even more no-good mother. She's also an uncommonly talented fire witch. When Delly joins a misfit team of female bodyguards protecting a wealthy woman in the weeks before her marriage, she thinks it will be easy money until horrifying necromantic mechanical spiders are sent to attack her boss's carriage. The culprit who unleashed them slips through the team's fingers, leading Delly and the other bodyguards on a hunt to bring her to justice (and, more importantly to Delly, to collect the reward money their boss is offering). In between a grisly murder, several extortions and explosions, and encounters with an extremely unsettling zombie mouse, Waggoner finds plenty of room for wry humor and a refreshingly wholesome relationship between Delly and fellow bodyguard Winn Cynallum. With this winning ensemble adventure, Waggoner again proves her skill at crafting immersive, historically flavored fantasy.