Synopses & Reviews
In this sparkling debut, magic and mayhem clash with the British elite...
The Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, one of the most respected organizations throughout all of England, has long been tasked with maintaining magic within His Majesty's lands. But lately, the once proper institute has fallen into disgrace, naming an altogether unsuitable gentlemana freed slave who doesn't even have a familiaras their Sorcerer Royal, and allowing England's once profuse stores of magic to slowly bleed dry. At least they haven't stooped so low as to allow women to practice what is obviously a man's profession
At his wit's end, Zacharias Wythe, Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers and eminently proficient magician, ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England's magical stocks are drying up. But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large.
"Set in the excruciatingly class-conscious realm of an alternate 19th-century England, Cho's delightful debut novel skillfully blends fantasy and intrigue with issues of race and gender politics. Zacharias Wythe, the child of enslaved Africans, has spent almost all of his 24 years apprenticing under his English adoptive father, Sir Stephen Wythe, Sorcerer Royal and member of the Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers. When Sir Stephen dies and Zacharias is reluctantly thrust into power, the Society is outraged at the thought of a black man governing its ilk and chooses to blame Britain's dwindling magical resources actually a longtime crisis on the color of Zacharias's skin. At Mrs. Daubeney's School for Gentlewitches, where girls are trained to suppress their magical abilities because they supposedly lack the intelligence to be sorcerers, 19-year-old Prunella Gentlewoman stumbles across a long-forgotten legacy that could be the key to saving Zacharias's life and restoring Britain's magic. Cho's tale knits together a dizzying array of taut story lines populated by complex characters with interesting backstories. Zacharias brings to mind another orphaned young wizard whose combination of grit and melancholy captured readers' hearts, and ingenious, gutsy Prunella simply shines. Agent: Caitlin Blasdell, Liza Dawson Associates. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“An enchanting cross between Georgette Heyer and Susanna Clarke, full of delights and surprises. Zen Cho unpins the edges of the canvas and throws them wide.” Naomi Novik, New York Times bestselling author of the Temeraire novels
About the Author
Zen Cho was a 2013 finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She lives in London.