cover image The Master of Samar

The Master of Samar

Melissa Scott. Candlemark & Gleam, $22.95 trade paper (340p) ISBN 978-1-952456-16-9

Lambda Literary award winner Scott (Shadow Man) sets a solid mystery plot within an aristocratic, Victorian-esque commonwealth held together by magical curses. Traveling cursebreaker Gil Irichels, of the Samar family, was cast out by his kin years before the start of the book and has no intention of ever returning to the Samar estate. Then, thanks to the family curse, a “litany of disaster” strikes, leaving the rest of the Samar line wiped out in the course of just one generation. Gil reluctantly inherits the title of Master of Samar and must return to his childhood home to settle estate matters. When the family curse sets its sight on Gil, he takes on his most personal cursebreaking case yet. To stay alive, he must first uncover the curse’s mysterious origins. With the help of his lover, feral mage Envar Cassi, and bodyguard swordswoman Arak min’Aroi, Gil discovers that the Samar curse is inextricably tied to the survival of the commonwealth itself. Scott hits all the expected beats, and her dark magic system keeps the stakes high. Fans of Victorian fantasy will want to check this out. (June)