cover image The Left-Handed Booksellers of London

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London

Garth Nix. HarperCollins/Tegen, $19.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-06-268325-0

Nix (Angel Mage) immediately thrusts readers into the action in this immersive fantasy, set in 1983, as Susan Arkshaw, 18-year-old art student, is forced to flee a London flat with bookseller Merlin St. Jacques, pursued by an ominous black fog. Merlin is part of a clan of London booksellers who deal with the “ancient weird shit” that seeps into the world from myth, legend, and folklore. Susan came to London to study and identify her father, but when an otherworldly being targets her, she, Merlin, and others in the family St. Jacques must discover who is after her and why. Between doing arcane research and dodging supernatural baddies, they stumble upon a mystery that threatens the magical bookselling world. Nix builds meta mentions of genre greats into his tale, which marries fey elements and spectacular bookshops with booksellers who wield mystical artifacts, cold steel, and magic. Though the plotting covers well-trod ground, unflappable Susan and wonderfully costumed, magically gender-fluid Merlin make for a fantasy that genre fans, teen or adult, won’t want to miss. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jill Grinberg, Jill Grinberg Literary. (Sept.)