cover image Confounding Oaths

Confounding Oaths

Alexis Hall. Del Rey, $18.99 trade paper (448p) ISBN 978-0-593-49758-6

The utterly enchanting second installment of Hall’s Mortal Follies series (after Mortal Follies) brings back all the magic, both literal and figurative, that readers expect even as the focus pivots to John Caesar, a nobleman in 1815 London who is distracted from assisting his younger sisters in finding suitable husbands by his own desire for the dashing Capt. Orestes James. When one of the Caesar sisters makes an ill-conceived bargain with a fairy, Caesar and James work together to untangle the web of magic ensnaring her. The resulting quest takes readers across London, from high-society balls to working-class taverns to the fairy realm itself. Hall admirably expands his examination of Regency England’s strictures to include a discussion of race: both protagonists are mixed-race and their frequent, frank conversations about the limitations and cruelty of British society feel authentic and integral to the plot rather than a stilted checking of boxes. Cameos from the heroines of book one will delight returning fans, but this can easily be read as a standalone. It’s another rousing success from Hall. Agent: Courtney Miller-Callihan, Handspun Literary. (Aug.)