Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Spirit Lens-Carol Berg

The Spirit Lens
Carol Berg
Roc, Jan 2010, $16.00
ISBN: 9780451463111

The world of sorcery and magic may be coming to an end as increasingly historians and philosophers as well as King Philippe of Sabria turn to natural science for answers. When the ruler begins to close the collegia magica, the faculty and staff picture a threat to their lucrative way of life. Many of the mages believe assassinating the monarch will end this nonsense.

Portier de Savin-Duplais has failed at everything he has attempted including flunking out as a magic student. He gets by with cheap tricks and illusions as he knows he cannot charm a flea to live on a dog; instead he is a low life curator at the last collegia magica in Sabria. However, a despondent Portia battling depression is stunned when his cousin a zillion or so blood lines apart, King Philippe assigns him with the investigation into what the monarch thinks is a plot to murder him. Portier is euphoric as he feels his greatness will be fulfilled although his companions Ilario the chevalier and Dante the rogue sorcerer seem to keep tearing down his superego.

This is a super opening to what looks like a great alternate Renaissance fantasy. The cast is strong regardless of their significance, but especially the lead protagonist who seems like he suffers from Bipolar disorder and his zany companions. Fans will appreciate this strong beginning as science and sorcery collide when three undercover agents investigate the divine and unholy collision of murder, magic, and physics.

Harriet Klausner

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