cover image Congress of Secrets

Congress of Secrets

Stephanie Burgis. Pyr, $17 trade paper (340p) ISBN 978-1-63388-199-0

Burgis (Masks and Shadows) delivers a rich tale that throws magic into the already-intriguing setting of the Congress of Vienna in 1814 and 1815. Years before, Austria’s secret police, led by Count Pergen, arrested a radical printer and imprisoned his daughter, Caroline. She escaped and reinvented herself, posing as a widow in England, and now she wants to rescue her father. His former apprentice, Michael, has grown into a successful con artist and has snuck back into Vienna with plans of his own. In this alternate history, alchemists intermingle with politicians, and both Michael and Caroline’s schemes have the potential to unravel even before they encounter each other and realize (after some misunderstandings) that they might work well together. Burgis’s thorough research shines through; the Austrian setting and the historical figures—including Emperor Francis II—help ground the story even when magical elements are at the forefront. This capably written and captivating tale is a fine example of historical fantasy. Agent: Molly Ker Hawn, Bent Agency. (Nov.)