cover image Paper & Blood

Paper & Blood

Kevin Hearne. Del Rey, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-1-984821-28-7

With this sequel to 2020’s Ink & Sigil—which also acts as a continuation of the Iron Druid Chronicles series—Hearne continues to explore the intersection of the mundane and the divine with his typical mix of humor and adventure. Scottish sigil agent Al MacBharrais receives word that his counterparts in Australia and Taipei have vanished during an investigation in Australia’s Dandenong Ranges. MacBharrais and his hobgoblin assistant, Buck Foi, head to Melbourne, joining apprentice sigil agent Chen Ya-Ping and the immortal Iron Druid, who currently goes by Connor Molloy, on a hike to the missing agents’ last known location. Along the way, they encounter a series of monstrous chimera and magical booby traps that take all their skill to survive—but they still find time to share campfire stories at night. Meanwhile, MacBharrais seeks to dispel the twin curses placed upon him, which all but guarantee that Buck will die within a year. Though the foul-mouthed Buck steals the show, the rest of the cast hold their own—even if Hearne’s fans will recognize some eerily familiar patterns in the relationship dynamics. By throwing well-loved characters into a deadly mystery and moving each one’s story along, this entertaining installment is sure to please fans. [em]Agent: Evan Goldfried, Jill Grinberg Literary. (Aug.) [/em]