cover image The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry

The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry

C.M. Waggoner. Ace, $17 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-984805-86-7

Waggoner makes a delightful return to the vibrant, Victorian England–inspired world of Unnatural Magic for a rollicking standalone fantasy featuring a scrappy but endearing heroine. Dellaria Wells is a no-good guttersnipe who runs petty cons in order to keep a roof over her head and look after her even more no-good mother. She’s also an uncommonly talented fire witch. When Delly joins a misfit team of female bodyguards protecting a wealthy woman in the weeks before her marriage, she thinks it will be easy money—until horrifying necromantic mechanical spiders are sent to attack her boss’s carriage. The culprit who unleashed them slips through the team’s fingers, leading Delly and the other bodyguards on a hunt to bring her to justice (and, more importantly to Delly, to collect the reward money their boss is offering). In between a grisly murder, several extortions and explosions, and encounters with an extremely unsettling zombie mouse, Waggoner finds plenty of room for wry humor and a refreshingly wholesome relationship between Delly and fellow bodyguard Winn Cynallum. With this winning ensemble adventure, Waggoner again proves her skill at crafting immersive, historically flavored fantasy. [em]Agent: Jennifer Udden, New Leaf Literary. (Jan.) [/em]