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The Late Great Wizard
Wayward Mages #1
by Sara Hanover
DAW, $16.00, 336pp
Published: September 2018

A young woman must work with a magician who is not what he seems to find her father in this new contemporary portal fantasy series.

With her father vanished under suspicious circumstances and her old life destroyed, Tessa Andrews is determined to pick up the pieces and forge ahead. If only their borrowed house didn't shake and rumble as if haunted. But at least she and her mom have a roof over their heads, so her luck couldn't be all bad, could it?

As if to prove her wrong, Tessa gets an urgent call for help one night from crusty old Professor Brandard, one of the people on her charity meals route. She dashes over, only to find the house in flames and the professor gone. A handsome young man steps out of the ashes to request her assistance, claiming to be the professor and a Phoenix wizard. She not only has to believe in him, but in magic, for an ancient evil is awakening and it will take the two of them, plus a few shady friends, to stand against it.

Because the rejuvenation ritual has gone horribly wrong. The late, great wizard desperately needs to get his mojo back, for only if Brandard regains all his magic do they stand any chance of defeating this deadliest of perils.

Tessa’s life is not what she expected. Two years earlier she found out her college fund was empty, apparently gambled away by her father. They argued and dad walked out the door, followed by the family dog, and both disappeared.  Now going to community college, Tessa and her mom struggle to make ends meet. When Tessa’s great aunt volunteers her to deliver Meals on Wheels in return for free rent Tessa is not thrilled but can’t pass up the opportunity. One of her clients is an old grumpy Professor and meeting him changes Tessa’s life in ways she could not have imagined.  When the Professor calls her for help in the middle of the night, she finds his house on fire, a naked young man in his back yard and a strange man searching for the Professor who makes his minion disappear, swallowed up by a blue light. It turns out the Professor is a phoenix wizard and he has sort of transformed into the naked young man Tessa found but the transformation is not complete and the Professor’s memory is spotty on what they need to do so that Brian, the young man, can integrate with the Professor.

So, Tessa, Brian/the Professor, the Professor’s old friend Mortimer, an Iron Dwarf, along with some help from Steptoe, a demon, and Connor the policeman who is more than he seems, search various places to find the items the Professor needs to complete the ritual before an ancient evil arrives.

This is a delightful romp.  I look forward to the next book, The New Improved Sorceress. ~~ Stephanie L Bannon

For other titles by Sara Hanover click here

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