cover image The Last Smile in Sunder City

The Last Smile in Sunder City

Luke Arnold. Orbit, $15.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-316-45582-4

Actor Arnold, best-known for his role in the TV series Black Sails, invites readers into a richly imagined world in this standout debut. In the wake of a cataclysmic war, mystical beings have been stripped of their powers and their magical technologies frozen, leading to mass bankruptcy among gremlins, goblins, elves, and others, and lingering tensions between humans and nonhumans. Human Fetch Phillips, self-described “Man for Hire,” lives in Sunder City, a metropolis that began as “one giant factory,” before an enlightened dwarf governor allied with a human aristocrat to raise taxes and introduce arts and culture into the community. When Edmund Rye, a centuries-old vampire and one of the teachers at an academy for magical children, disappears, the academy’s principal hires Phillips to find him. Phillips hits the mean streets of Sunder City in search of Rye only to realize that he’s on the trail of something far more complicated. Winningly combining the grit of Chinatown with the quirky charm of Harry Potter, this series opener is sure to have readers coming back for more. (Mar.)