“A work that mixes the rich pleasures of a Victorian epic with elements of the fantastic, an imaginative eye, and a dry sense of humor.” —Rick Kleffel, NPR.org
“A charming and accomplished debut, sure to delight fantasy aficionados and lovers of gothic romance alike.” —Jacqueline Carey, author of Kushiel’s Mercy
“Like its characters, it is not merely devastatingly clever, but has a heart and a soul.” —Ellen Kushner, author of The Privilege of the Sword
Of the three Lockwell sisters—romantic Lily, prophetic Rose, and studious Ivy—all agree that it’s the eldest, the book-loving Ivy, who has held the family together ever since their father’s retreat into his silent vigil in the library upstairs. Everyone blames Mr. Lockwell’s malady on his magkical studies, but Ivy alone still believes—both in magick, and in its power to bring her father back.
But there are others in the world who believe in magick as well. Over the years Ivy has glimpsed them—the strangers in black topcoats and hats who appear at the door, strangers of whom their mother will never speak. Ivy once thought them secret benefactors, but now she’s not so certain.
After tragedy strikes, Ivy takes a job with the reclusive Mr. Quent in a desperate effort to preserve her family. It’s only then that she discovers the fate she shares with a jaded young nobleman named Dashton Rafferdy, his ambitious friend Eldyn Garritt, and a secret web of highwaymen, revolutionaries, illusionists, and spies who populate the island nation of Altania.
For there is far more to Altania than meets the eye, and more to magick than mere fashion. And in the act of saving her father, Ivy will determine whether the world faces a new dawn—or an everlasting night….
“A charming and mannered fantasy confection with a darker core of gothic romance” is how New York Times bestselling author Robin Hobb described Galen Beckett’s marvelous series opener, The Magicians and Mrs. Quent. Now Beckett returns to this world of dazzling magick and refined manners, where one extraordinary woman’s choice will put the fate of a nation—and all she cherishes—into precarious balance.
Her courage saved the country of Altania and earned the love of a hero of the realm. Now sensible Ivy Quent wants only to turn her father’s sprawling, mysterious house into a proper home. But soon she is swept into fashionable society’s highest circles of power—a world that is vital to her family’s future but replete with perilous temptations.
Yet far greater danger lies beyond the city’s glittering ballrooms—and Ivy must race to unlock the secrets that lie within the old house on Durrow Street before outlaw magicians and an ancient ravening force plunge Altania into darkness forever.
Even as her husband is about to attain undreamed-of power, Ivy Quent fears for her family’s safety. With war looming and turmoil sweeping the nation of Altania, Ivy finds the long-abandoned manor on the moors a temporary haven.
But nowhere is really safe from the treachery that threatens all the Quents have risked to achieve. And an even greater peril is stirring deep within the countryside’s beautiful green estates.
As Ivy dares an alliance with a brilliant illusionist and a dangerous lord, she races to master her forbidden talents and unravel the terrible truth at the heart of her land’s unrest—even as a triumphant, inhuman darkness rises to claim Altania eternally for its own.