cover image Ink & Sigil

Ink & Sigil

Kevin Hearne. Del Rey, $28 (336p) ISBN 978-1-9848-2125-6

Hearne (A Plague of Giants) spins off his Iron Druid Chronicles series with this enjoyable urban fantasy and series launch. As one of a handful of magically empowered sigil agents, Scotland-based Aloysius MacBharrais (Al, for short) is responsible for enforcing the treaties dictating how and when gods and other supernatural creatures can visit Earth. But after his apprentice, Gordie, dies in a freak accident, Al discovers that Gordie was neck-deep in a supernatural trafficking ring, supplying kidnapped Fae folk to unscrupulous buyers. Intent on shutting this operation down, Al recruits one of Gordie’s intended victims—cheekily named hobgoblin Buck Foi—to help investigate. Together they follow a trail that connects powerful people in both the Fae and human worlds while combating threats from Al’s foes. Al, an aging widower who’s cursed such that the longer he speaks to someone, the more they hate him, makes for a refreshing viewpoint into an urban fantasy setting, while the sigil-based magic system proves both versatile and meticulously detailed. Though the mystery plot runs a little thin, the touches of humor and dynamic characters are enough to carry the day. Readers will be eager to see what happens next. (Sept.)