cover image The Last Days of Magic

The Last Days of Magic

Mark Tompkins. Viking, $27 (400p) ISBN 978-0-525-42953-1

Tompkins mixes a heady brew of Celtic and Biblical mythology with late medieval political intrigue and warfare in his debut novel. In the present-day prologue, Sara Hill discovers that hidden in books of mythology from her childhood in London is evidence of Nephilim, offspring of angels and humans, whose existence the Vatican wishes to suppress. The scene shifts to late 14th-century Ireland where a centuries-old status quo is in jeopardy. During times of trouble, the goddess Morrígna is born as twins: one is to rule the human Celts and the other to be queen of the Sidhe, a diverse group of Irish Nephilim. In a bid for power, Kellach, leader of the Skeaghshee (a tribe within the Sidhe), has one of the twins assassinated. Kellach has allied himself with Cardinal Orsini of the Roman Church, who wishes to forcibly bring Irish Christians into the Roman fold. Tompkins combines deft characterization with treachery, battle, magic, and hints of Dan Brown. Agent: Stephanie Cabot, The Gernert Company (Mar.)