cover image Bright Ruin

Bright Ruin

Vic James. Del Rey, $26 (416p) ISBN 978-0-425-28418-6

Rebellion comes to a deadly boil in the final chapter of James’s Dark Gifts alternate history fantasy trilogy (after Tarnished City). In this alternate contemporary England, aristocratic equals with magical skill rule over the unskilled, relying on intimidation and outright slavery to keep businesses humming. The powerful Jardine family has maneuvered its way into claiming the all-powerful Chancellorship for the heir, Jenner, even though he’s unskilled. Jenner’s ambitious wife, Bouda, and his father think they’ve found a way to restore his skill, but first there’s the threat of a slave uprising to quell. As Bouda secretly schemes to build her own power, James weaves in side plots about a legendary Wonder King and the origins of skill, as well as the story of a young enslaved woman determined to avenge her family. With so many characters and subplots in motion, new readers may have trouble getting up to speed, but a little patience will be rewarded with this intricate tale of ruthless scheming and bloody betrayals backlit by an unquenchable glimmer of hope. Agent: Ginger Clark, Curtis Brown, Ltd. (Oct.)