cover image Witchy Winter

Witchy Winter

D.J. Butler. Baen, $25 (608p) ISBN 978-1-4814-8314-8

Butler follows Witchy Eye with a satisfying second tale of a magic-filled early America. The first volume introduced 15-year-old Sarah Calhoun, who hails from the Appalachian backwoods. She discovered that she had a claim to the Serpent Throne of Cahokia, which controls the Midwest—and also learned she had two siblings, whom she hopes to meet. Now Sarah and her companions have reached her true homeland, and her family members, who are also vying for the throne, may be the least of her worries. The legendary Heron King, ruler of beastkind, has dispatched messengers warning that Peter Plowshare—his peacetime aspect, or persona—is dead, and his wartime aspect, Simon Sword, will unleash death and madness on any who resist him. Deep and old magic influences both places and characters, and the story is tightly focused on the determined Sarah, who needs the magic but only vaguely grasps its multitude of dangers. Butler spins many scattered threads that often seem disparate, yet slowly and cunningly converge on Sarah and the approaching battles. Fans of epic and alternate historical fantasy will savor this tale of witchery and intrigue. Agent: Deborah Warren, East West Literary. (Apr.)