cover image A Radical Act of Free Magic

A Radical Act of Free Magic

H.G. Parry. Redhook, $28 (464p) ISBN 978-0-316-45914-3

The entertaining if conventional final installment to Parry’s Shadow Histories series (after A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians) returns to the Enlightenment era as war, magic, and revolution sweep Europe and its colonies into a frenzy. While a magically empowered Napoleon Bonaparte summons a kraken from the sea, an army of the dead rages across the continent in the name of French conquest, and Toussaint Louverture uses weather magic to fight for freedom in Saint-Domingue. In England, the aristocracy practices magic freely while the magical abilities of common folk are suppressed—but the British government debates a law to allow commoner magicians to wield magic in service to the royal army. And in the background of all of this chaos, a dark, powerful force uses old magic to seize power over Europe. Parry pieces together an elaborate, perhaps occasionally overstuffed, story of mystery and intrigue that easily transports readers into its fantastical world. Though some will wish for a more radical take on the history here, fans of the first volume and of European historical fantasy played straight will find plenty to enjoy. [em]Agent: Hannah Bowman, Liza Dawson Assoc. (July) [/em]