A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske is published in paperback today by Tor. The first in a series, it takes place in an alternate Edwardian England. Sir Robin Blyth has been given what seems like a low level, dead end role in government as a punishment for his parents actions. In error, he find himself liaison to the magical community which lives secretly in society. It would appear his predecessor has vanished. When Robin is placed under a powerful curse, he has to rely on taciturn magical liaison Edwin Courcey, to help him remove it, and find out the truth about those who placed it.
In order to celebrate the release of the paperback, Tor are running a read along, and anyone can join in. So for 27th and 28th October the focus is on Chapters 1 to 4, which is where I come in.
The story opens with the disappearance of Reggie Gatling, being attached in the street by a mysterious figure, known only to the reader as George. As the chapters progress, Robin finds himself in a pokey little office, subject to an unbusheling, in other words, an abrupt introduction to the world of magic, as Edwin reveals the true nature of Robin’s new job. His reaction to seeing Edwin’s pen write by itself, is a stoically, and amusingly sedate one, which Edwin doesn’t know how to process. At the end of chapter 4, it’s safe to say that life has changed irreparably for Robin, and for Edwin too it may seem. I’d like to think I’d be as outwardly un-phased as Robin was, were I to discover magic is real. There’s so much happening in the world I don’t think one more thing would surprise me. Edwin works his magic by cradling, intertwining string in his hands in a variety of patterns. Now I know I would be no good if that was how I had to conjure my magic. I’d just end up tying myself up in knots, literally. It is however fascinating to read. And whilst I’d love to imbue a magic spell on a pen to write for me, I’d probably choose something mundane and imbue the kitchen to cook everything for me, or the house to clean itself. Utilise my powers for good and all that.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. I didn’t stop at the end of chapter 4. I was so drawn into Robin and Edwin’s world that I wanted to find out more. And not just whether the curse was lifted but to see the burgeoning relationship between the two develop. I’ve not quite finished the book yet (though my review will be following very soon after I do finish), but it’s a story I want to both savour and race through. And here’s me often saying I don’t really read fantasy books…
If you’d like to join in with the read along here is the schedule:
There are also some discussion points, so if you do read along please do let me know your answers.
And don’t worry if you can’t join in immediately. If you are anything like me, you’ll soon catch up (plus, as people will be tired of me saying, there are no expiration dates on books, they are there to discover at any time).
You can buy a copy from Bookshop.org here.
(This is an affiliate link. I may receive a few pence should you buy through here. The book is also available from other independent and chain bookshops).
About the Book
Young baronet Robin Blyth thought he was taking up a minor governmental post. However, he’s actually been appointed parliamentary liaison to a secret magical society. If it weren’t for this administrative error, he’d never have discovered the incredible magic underlying his world.
Cursed by mysterious attackers and plagued by visions, Robin becomes determined to drag answers from his missing predecessor – but he’ll need the help of Edwin Courcey, his hostile magical-society counterpart. Unwillingly thrown together, Robin and Edwin will discover a plot that threatens every magician in the British Isles.
The second book in the series, A Restless Truth, is out on 10th November.