My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“What he did to that man… I… what in God’s name is he?”
“Evil,” I said when I’d finished. “A crime against magic.”
Whoa! Why is there this entire series of magic and legend out there and I have not heard of it?!?!
I gulped, kids. Gulped. No sippage here. And 3 hours later I am looking up book numero dos while reminding myself that my apartment does need to be cleaned this weekend.
“A decade previous, I’d woken up in an abandoned warehouse with no memory of anyone or anything, including myself.”
Nate is a thief without a past and some wicked hangups he cannot explain. For ten years he has been going from job to job with only a few newly minted friends and a hidey hole in the real world even he cannot explain to himself.
Holly is his job broker with ties to the mob and a need for her own life away from “the family.”
Francis is an ole world scary gentleman-type mystery all his own with an intentional disregard for names (suspicious, Francis,) a love for fine things, and a general knowledge of magic and monsters. (And do I detect a SOFT spot for strays?)
Dani is a teenage neighbor with a drunk sot of a mom and one mean wanna be respected ashle abusive puke hanging around.
Not very inspiring? Done before? Ha! What little we knew! This is a bang up story intertwining past lives, present mysteries, legends and lore, and a slew-SLEW, I SAY- of clever character interactions that makes this a one sit down read.
” ‘I am not a good man,’ I whispered into his ear when we were alone. ‘I will strip the flesh from your bones and scatter your ashes to the wind. I will ensure that for the next thousand years, the merest mention of what I did to you in this city will evoke fear into anyone foolish enough to think they can cross a sorcerer.’ “
Nate has taken a job that is more than it seems. And when the hole thing goes topsy turvy, he ends up in hot water with the past he cannot recall. It seems like everyone wants a piece of him. Only no one will tell him why. And then they drag kids and innocents into the mix. Thief or not, our man seems to have a hair trigger, some nasty fighting skills, and selective morals.
“If I am dead, I want you to know; it was an honour to know you. You are singularly the best and most terrifying person I’ve ever met.”
Kids and innocents should have been left alone. But in order to win against his adversary he will need more than good intentions and a willingness to kill. He will need the past that was taken from him and the skills that go along with it.
“A city of a few thousand people, reduced to food for crows and rats.”
Out zany cast and our thief-for-hire Nate are about to have all their illusions wiped away. And it all has to do with the past. Whether Nathan remembers his past or not, it us coming back with a vengeance. And whether his friends are ready or not, they are about to learn the hard way that their own pasts are not above reproach and that pasts have to be dealt with before they deal with you.
Surprisingly Steve McHugh was able to blend the centuries ago flashbacks, with the decade ago amnesia memories, with the present day while not confusing the reader. He did all that while weary myth and legend into a tale rife with magic and villains. And he did it with out bogging the reading down with information!
Instead of telling us what had happened, he allowed the story to unfold through character interaction and dialogue. This was truly a pleasurable read and I cannot wait to see how Nate and Francis develop in the next novels. (view spoiler) I have so MANY FREAKING QUESTIONS!
“I’m going to kill your boss,” I said without looking back. “When I’m done, I’ll be leaving this pisshole of a building. If I find any of you on the way out, I will kill you. My advice is to run and don’t stop. You do not want to cross my path, as you will find me utterly devoid of mercy.”
Whew. Okay. So I would definitely recommend this for my fellow magic urbanites lovers who want to cleanse the pallete with new twists on old legends with fantastic characters as their guides.