A Scholar of Magics
by Caroline Stevermer
This is the middle book of a trilogy that began with A College of Magics
and continues in When the King Comes Home
. Oddly, though I read the first book nearly two years ago, and have had the third book on my shelf for some time, it has taken me until now to get hold of the second book. This has been one of the most frustrating books to get hold of. Owing to my deep respect for A College of Magics
, I did not give up. And now I am VERY happy to be able to tell you about this book!
In this trilogys version of the early 20th century world, magic is a real, natural force that is studied at exclusive schools such as Greenlaw College (a womens school in France) and Glasscastle University (in Britain, for men). The balance of the worlds magic is kept by four wardens, whose existence is kept so quiet that many people regard them as legend. But as the heroine of A College of Magics turned out to be the Warden of the North, we can safely accept them as real.
Said heroines sidekick, Miss Jane Brailsford, comes to Glasscastle, ostensibly to visit her brother, who is a senior fellow of the university. The real reason she has come to visit is to give the new Warden of the West a bit of a push, or to find out why he isnt doing his job. Teasing her brother and his divination-inclined wife Amy is just a bonus.
The new Warden is another fellow of the University, named Nicholas Fell. Fell lodges with a visiting American marksman named Lambert, a young man who has no hope of being invited to study magic at Glasscastle himself he is only helping with a secret, government-funded project but he cant stop dreaming of doing so. When a series of strange and sinister happenings arises, connected with both Fell and the Agincourt Project, Lambert and Jane work together to get to the bottom of it. What they find out is scary, weird, and silly all at the same time...but mostly, dangerous to them, to Fell, and to the magic that holds Glasscastle together.
It is clear that Stevermer, a Minneapolis-based author, relishes the writing of period, British fiction. Sometimes she relishes it so much that the story loses momentum. But its hard to complain (even of the occasional anachronism) when the characters are so effervescent, the setting so magical, and the romance so innocently enjoyable. Unlike Amys teas (when there is always a danger that tea leaves will be read), the world of Glasscastle is an enjoyable place to stay, even when very little is going on. And to be sure, most of the time quite enough is going on!
Now, at last, I can read When the King Comes Home. Thank you, Starscape, for finally coming through with A Scholar of Magics!
Recommended Age: 14+
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