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Benedict Jacka. Ace, $7.99 mass market (304p) ISBN 978-0-425-26494-2

Jacka’s strong fifth urban fantasy (after Chosen) continues the development of his alternate London. Probability mage Alex Verus is struggling to come to terms with his dark side. He was previously forced to make ruthless decisions that alienated several friends, and now he learns that one of those friends, Anne, has been kidnapped by masked mages. Cooperating with police agents of the mages in the Light Council proves to be pointlessly time-consuming, so Alex enters the private shadow realm of an especially powerful and frightening Dark mage to rescue Anne. Unlike the mages who divide themselves into bureaucratic Light and self-serving Dark, Alex reluctantly acknowledges the mixture of both in his own nature, which makes him uniquely fit to interpret morally confused situations and act on them accordingly. This installment also confirms that Alex’s original master, the Dark mage Richard, has returned to the earthly realm of existence in order to recruit his old servants, a terrifying prospect that promises really exciting, substantial conflict for future books in the series. (Sept.)