cover image The Magpie Lord: 
A Charm of Magpies, Book 1

The Magpie Lord: A Charm of Magpies, Book 1

K.J. Charles. Samhain, $4.50 e-book (209p) ISBN 978-1-6192-1576-4

Charles begins a new gay Victorian fantasy series with this short but colorful novel. Lord Crane suffers from suicidal impulses resulting from a supernatural curse. He hires magical practitioner Stephen Day, who solves the immediate problem but identifies a more dire threat against Crane. Sexual tension between the two men is sizzling, yet subordinate to Charles’s clever dialogue (“I never met anyone who didn’t want to die as much as you don’t”) and imaginatively creepy magic. Intriguing magical worldbuilding outweighs an unlikely plot contrivance that does not distract from a satisfactory climax. Crane’s years in Shanghai and Day’s duties as a magical justiciar offer tantalizing possibilities for sequels. (Sept.)