WINNER of the 2019 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, and a finalist for the Nebula Award, the Locus Award, and the Lammy Award!
One of the 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time, according to Time Magazine
One of the best books of 2018, according to NPR, Publishers Weekly, BuzzFeed, the Chicago Review, BookPage, and the B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog.
C. L. Polk arrives on the scene with Witchmark, a stunning, addictive fantasy that combines intrigue, magic, betrayal, and romance. The New York Times calls it “thoroughly charming and deftly paced... an accomplished and enjoyable debut.”
In an original world reminiscent of Edwardian England in the shadow of a World War, cabals of noble families use their unique magical gifts to control the fates of nations, while one young man seeks only to live a life of his own.
Magic marked Miles Singer for suffering the day he was born, doomed either to be enslaved to his family's interest or to be committed to a witches' asylum. He went to war to escape his destiny and came home a different man, but he couldn’t leave his past behind. The war between Aeland and Laneer leaves men changed, strangers to their friends and family, but even after faking his own death and reinventing himself as a doctor at a cash-strapped veterans' hospital, Miles can’t hide what he truly is.
When a fatally poisoned patient exposes Miles’ healing gift and his witchmark, he must put his anonymity and freedom at risk to investigate his patient’s murder. To find the truth he’ll need to rely on the family he despises, and on the kindness of the most gorgeous man he’s ever seen.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Polk's stellar debut, set in an alternate early 20th century in an England-like land recovering from a WWI-like war, blends taut mystery, exciting political intrigue, and inventive fantasy. Miles Singer's influential family of mages wants to turn him into a living battery of magic for his sister to draw on. Fearing this fate, he runs away to join the army and make use of his magical healing abilities, although like all magic-users he must hide his powers or risk being labeled insane and sent to an asylum. When Tristan Hunter, a handsome, suave gentleman who's actually an angel in disguise, brings a dying stranger to Miles's clinic, the two pair up to uncover the reason for the man's mysterious death. The devastating war has left most young men shell-shocked, and many veterans are inexplicably killing their families. Miles struggles to find a socially acceptable physiological explanation for the veterans' dark auras, while Tristan hopes to understand why no souls from this country have moved on to the afterlife. A sudden reunification with Miles's social-climbing, deceitful sister upends progress on solving the riddles (and on the gently developing romance between Miles and Tristan) as she pulls him back into the secretive and manipulative world of powerful mages. Polk unfolds her mythology naturally, sufficiently explaining the class-based magical system and political machinations without getting bogged down. The final revelations are impossible to see coming and prove that Polk is a writer to watch for fans of clever, surprising period fantasy.
Engaging plot, interesting if underdeveloped world, slow start, stiff writing style. The romantic arc is underplayed but it charms in part because these passionately attracted characters are so prudent.
Layout issue - margins too wide.
I like this book so far, but the margins are much too wide and there is no way to change them.