“Power corrupts. Absolute power is kinda neat.” Every gamer and historian knows the truth of this saying. The Serpent Brotherhood is an organization of death-dealing, artifact-acquiring, power-mongering egomaniacs that has existed for millennia, frequently foiling, and in turn being foiled by, the current Librarian. Now that Jenkins, who remembers Camelot and still mourns his failures there, has recruited three additional Librarians and the redoubtable Eve Baird as a Guardian so that Flynn Carsen isn’t so outnumbered, the recurring showdowns between the Brotherhood and the Librarians are more evenly matched. (Quality counts, but numbers also matter.)
The Serpent Brotherhood once tried to take over Ireland, but were opposed by then Librarian Erasmus, his Guardian Deirdre, and a strong-willed monk named Padraic, aided by a leprechaun. The descendants of the Brotherhood have not forgotten that defeat, and they hold onto a grudge like it was the winning lottery ticket to a five-billion-dollar Powerball. Now they’re tracking down the leprechaun, and the descendant of the human child he protected from the Brotherhood all those centuries ago, to steal the magic gold and deal out some envenomed vengeance.
The Librarians, meanwhile, have been summoned to Paris, where someone has decided to revive The Phantom of the Operawith himself in the starring role. He’s done his homework, too; he knows arcane arts of murder and prestidigitation, and he’s sabotaged the Opera House so that more than the chandelier will come crashing down. Ezekiel Jones, Jake Stone, Cassandra Cillian and Eve Baird discover that Gaston Leroux’s novel was based more on investigative fact-finding than lurid imagination, and that this second incarnation of the Opera Ghost is even more deranged.
By the time they are alerted to the fresh danger posed by the Serpent Brotherhood, they are already three stepsor is it twists?behind the Brotherhood’s leader Max Lambton and his magic-wielding hacker, Coral Marsh.
This series is joyously, lovingly based on the immensely enjoyable TV show. Each book by Greg Cox can be read as a stand-alone or as part of a story arc, in which characters grow and their relationships with each other change over time. As with the previous Librarian tales, the writing is deft: the action nicely balanced by exposition, with fun wordplay to spice the narrative. Heartily recommended! ~~ Chris Wozney
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