cover image Witchy Eye

Witchy Eye

D.J. Butler. Baen, $25.00 (576p) ISBN 978-1-4767-8211-9

In an alternate North America where magic is pervasive and the Appalachians are under the boot of Emperor Thomas Penn, 15-year-old Sarah Calhoun, youngest daughter of imperial war hero Iron Andy Calhoun, is content with her rural Tennessee tobacco-farming life, in which she gets to cast the occasional small spell. She’s mostly come to terms with having a “witchy eye” that’s been swollen shut since birth. When the priest Thalanes, an acquaintance of Andy’s, arrives and helps to reveal that Sarah is not a Calhoun daughter but carries royal blood—and is being hunted by humans and magical entities in the service of the emperor—she flees with the priest and her smitten, protective cousin, Calvin, to find help in low and exalted places, reclaim her heritage, and discover what she’s capable of when her eye finally opens. Butler’s fantasy is by turns sardonic and lighthearted; ghoulish shadows claw into the most remote areas and heroism bursts out of the most unlikely people. Sarah is the epitome of the downtrodden hero who refuses to give up until she gets what she needs, and her story will appeal to fantasy readers of all stripes. Agent: Deborah Warren, East West Literary. (Mar.)