cover image Working God’s Mischief

Working God’s Mischief

Glen Cook. Tor, $27.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-7653-3420-6

Cook’s fourth Instrumentalities of the Night epic installment (after Surrender to the Will of the Night) demonstrates his talent for contrasting mundane characters with monumental backdrops. Monarchs have fallen, clerical leaders have been deposed, and gods themselves have died. Now Godslayer Piper Hecht, a man of masks and nested identities, forces some of the remaining divinities to surrender to his will, celestial powers bending to the service of secular interests. But Hecht is not the only one determined to reshape the world in his image, and, as empires become unstable, occult powers conspire in the shadows. The fate of nations and pantheons proves subject to blind chance and the whims of mortals. Instrumentalities of the Night feels like a reexamination of Cook’s Dread Empire series: both use secondary worlds greatly influenced by Europe and Asia, both concern themselves with the catalytic role of determined mortals in global affairs, and both present grand histories with a certain air of absurdity. Cook’s decades of experience and expanded modern page counts allow him to weave a complex plot, but the result is comfortingly familiar to his longtime fans. (Mar.)