by Diana Wynne Jones
Tor, $16.99, 416pp
Published: December 2014
Rupert Venables is a Magid, one of a number of powerful magicians tasked with keeping magic balanced between the good and the bad. Assigned to Earth and responsible also for the Koryfonic Empire, he is currently faced with two problems. In the Empire, the Emperor has been assassinated, along with the majority of his consorts and government officials, leaving Rupert and a low-level General to track down the rightful heir. On Earth, his mentor has died and Rupert must now find an apprentice to train. After having no success in meeting four of his five candidates he casts a spell to bring them all together to one single place. That place turns out to be a science fiction convention. The only problem is the hotel sits on a node and there are more plots going on than Rupert is aware of.
The story is told alternately by Rupert and by one of the potential Magid apprentices, Maree Mallory. We also have centaurs, multiple worlds (some with lots of magic, some with little or none), civil war, plots within plots and, of course, all the recognizable science fiction convention attendee types.
I thoroughly enjoyed this and read it in little more than a day. There is another book set in the world following Maree’s cousin. I really wish Ms. Wynne Jones had written more in this world. Highly recommended. ~~ Stephanie L Bannon