cover image Majestrum: A Tale of Henghis Hapthorn

Majestrum: A Tale of Henghis Hapthorn

Matthew Hughes, . . Night Shade, $24.95 (209pp) ISBN 978-1-59780-061-7

This start to a promising new far-future series (after 2005's The Gist Hunter ) introduces Henghis Hapthorn, a sleuth who combines the confident brilliance of Sherlock Holmes with the amusing voice of P.G. Wodehouse's Bertie Wooster, in a fantastical mystery reminiscent of Randall Garrett's Lord Darcy novels. Hapthorn is a discriminator—what freelance detectives are called in his baroque world—who's drawn into political intrigue after receiving an apparently simple commission to vet a young man with designs on an aristocrat's daughter. An odd duo aids Hapthorn on his quest: his integrator, an artificial intelligence that has somehow become a furry frugivorous animal that perches on his shoulder, and Hapthorn's alternate personality, which split off during an earlier "transdimensional" voyage and operates according to intuition rather than analysis. Hughes's successful blend of magic, the supernatural and high-tech with Sherlockian deductions (and cryptic observations straight out of Doyle's canon) suggests a long life for Hapthorn. (Jan.)