Circle of Enemies
Del Rey, Aug 30 2011, $7.99
The Twenty Palace Society of sorcerers kept car thief and amateur magician Ray Lilly from prison time. In return he provides the mages with non-magical support mostly manual labor.
Ray receives an enigmatic message from a friend that sends him rushing to Los Angeles. Magic has hammered his former car ring associates. They hold him culpable because the sorcerer who cast the deadly enchantment is Wally King who blackmailed him into becoming the pawn of the Twenty Palace Society. Ray searches for the magical source in order to save his friends’ lives while increasingly doubting the motives of his puppeteers who claim they save the world from other dimensional monsters while he has killed innocent people for them.
The final Twenty Palaces urban fantasy thriller (see Child of Fire and Game of Cages) is a great morality tale as the protagonist struggles between duty and honor with the weight of the dead innocents he has killed making the tale. Remorseful Ray understands the mission of the Society is to protect the world from magical predators, but wonders who will protect the world from the Society as collateral damage is an acceptable practice. Fast-paced and loaded with action, Ray’s timely and angst ethical dilemma (think of drones in the war against terrorism) makes for a great tale.