cover image Veiled


Benedict Jacka. Ace, $7.99 mass market (304p) ISBN 978-0-425-27575-7

Jacka continues his consistently smart and exciting urban fantasy series, set in present-day London, with this finely crafted sixth installment (after Hidden). Series protagonist Alex Verus, a diviner who can see multiple futures, is grappling with long- and short-term problems. His erstwhile master, the Dark mage Richard Drakh, is back in Britain, slowly gathering power and laying deep plots; consequently, Alex realizes that becoming affiliated with the Keepers, the police-like group that enforces the decrees of the Light Council, may be a practical way to get himself some protection. Unfortunately, while he and his crusty partner, Caldera, are investigating a magical deal gone murderously wrong, Alex discovers that the supposedly moral Light cabal working against Richard is also sanctioning a network of brothels for pedophiles. As usual, Jacka’s intelligent extrapolations of magic form the basis for a convincing story that features Alex’s prickly relations with his friends and allies—and that shows how magical powers complicate moral choices rather than simplifying them. Fortunately, Alex is as clever as he is cheeky, a sympathetic and daring grappler with ethical dilemmas. (Aug.)