cover image Ironfoot: The Enchanter General, Book 1

Ironfoot: The Enchanter General, Book 1

Dave Duncan. Skyhorse, $24.99 (344p) ISBN 978-1-59780-930-6; $15.99 trade paper

Prolific fantasist Duncan (the Ivor of Glenbroch series) opens the Enchanter General series with an intricate historical and magical mystery. Diligent Saxon Durwin is humble under the oppression of the ruling Normans in 1164 England. He’s known as Ironfoot because he wears a boot with a raised platform after a horse-riding accident in childhood crushed his leg. Norman sorcerer Sage Guy Delany took him in and trained him in the magical arts. Now 20, Durwin is called to investigate the poisoning of Sage Archibald de la Mare, the lecherous sorcerer of hard-nosed Count Richard of Barton. Archibald’s death triggered a spell summoning Richard’s brother, Sage Rolf de Mandeville, who was also poisoned on his arrival home. The plentiful suspects include Richard; widowed Lady Matilda, the count’s cynical daughter; stern steward Bertrand du Bois; ambitious Father Randolph, who views sages as devilish; taciturn wine bottler Wacian; Richard’s marshal, Sir Hugh Fiennes; and jester Scur, who—perhaps involuntarily—speaks in riddles. Enjoyable characters, a detailed setting, and atmospheric adventure intertwine in this multilevel mystery. Durwin is a congenial and persistent investigator, and readers will look forward to his future adventures. Agent: Richard Curtis, Richard Curtis Associates. (Oct.)