Reviewed by Elizabetta
TITLE: The Magpie Lord (Book #1)
SERIES: A Charm of Magpies
AUTHOR: K. J. Charles
PUBLISHER: Samhain Publishing
LENGTH: 200 pages
BLURB: Exiled to China for twenty years, Lucien Vaudrey never planned to return to England. But with the mysterious deaths of his father and brother, it seems the new Lord Crane has inherited an earldom. He’s also inherited his family’s enemies. He needs magical assistance, fast. He doesn’t expect it to turn up angry.
Magician Stephen Day has good reason to hate Crane’s family. Unfortunately, it’s his job to deal with supernatural threats. Besides, the earl is unlike any aristocrat he’s ever met, with the tattoos, the attitude…and the way Crane seems determined to get him into bed. That’s definitely unusual.
Soon Stephen is falling hard for the worst possible man, at the worst possible time. But Crane’s dangerous appeal isn’t the only thing rendering Stephen powerless. Evil pervades the house, a web of plots is closing round Crane, and if Stephen can’t find a way through it—they’re both going to die.
Warning: Contains hot m/m sex between a deeply inappropriate earl and a very confused magician, dark plots in a magical version of Victorian England, family values (not the good kind), and a lot of swearing.
Excellent stuff! This is a cracking good paranormal mystery set in Victorian England, with haunted mansions, sorcerers, snooty aristos, charming adventurers, and magpies… magpies everywhere!…seven for a witch, I can tell you no more…
Lord Crane, Lucien Vaudrey, is not your ordinary pampered aristocrat. He’s had a rough twenty years but returns from exile in China, a self-made man, an opportunist, tattooed and hard-forged… and immune to the strict English dictates of his class. He enjoys his freedom, his privileges, and his men. He is a great main character.
Crane finds upon his return home that he has more to manage than inherited money and property. There is the issue of his father and brother’s alleged suicides, and now it seems that someone is intent on bringing harm to Crane… with the help of sorcery. He hires Stephen Day, a practitioner, a magician with expertise in ferreting out the nefarious forces at work against him.
The scene is set mostly at Piper, Crane’s gloomy country estate shrouded in some strange, malevolent force. The house is spooky, the servants are surly, and the grounds are populated by vast charms of magpies. In fact, this bird serves as the family symbol (hence the informal title, Magpie Lord) and given their reputation as an omen of ill fortune and connection to witchcraft, are fitting to the story.
The paranormal phenomena are ghastly and graphic with more than enough inventive haunting and devilry, spell craft and things that go bump in the night to keep Crane and Stephen scrambling. The sexual tension between them is slow building and sizzling. While at first they seem incompatible, Crane is drawn to Stephen’s goodness, his magic skills, his beautiful amber eyes, and those hands that make him shiver. It’s fun to watch him seduce Stephen who is not initially a fan. Even with all the scariness, the connection and banter between them is infectious and humorous…
“What the fuck, what the fucking, bloody devil-shit, what in the name of Satan’s swollen cock was that?” — Crane
“Do you speak in the House of Lords with that mouth?” — Stephen
The story is well-paced and well-edited, the writing fluid and atmospheric. I’m not a big fan of historical romances but when they’re this much fun, well, who can resist? This one is a keeper and luckily, there is a sequel to the adventures due out early next year, so more fun on the way.
BUY LINK: Samhain Store
Elizabetta is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.
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