SFF

Ink & Sigil: From the World of the Iron Druid Chronicles

Del Rey: Ballantine. Aug. 2020. 336p. ISBN 9781984821256. $27.
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This stand-alone is a spin-off of Hearne’s popular “Iron Druid” urban fantasy series. Al MacBharrais is a sigil agent for the Fae goddess Brighid, who uses magical inks to create spells and keep the peace. His latest apprentice, Gordie, has just been found dead under rather dodgy circumstances. The one surviving witness is a hobgoblin whom Gordie was about to sell into slavery. Al needs to enlist the hobgoblin’s help but is hampered by a curse that makes everyone who hears his voice hate him. Can he solve the murder and figure out how to break his curse? Maybe, with enough whisky.
VERDICT Delightful! Hearne’s (“Seven Kennings” series) use of Scottish words and spellings (detailed in the foreword) never becomes distracting, but instead adds to the story’s singular flavor. The author includes plenty of shout-outs for fans of the “Iron Druid” series, while introducing an intelligible tale sure to draw in new readers. Great for fans of Ben Aaronovitch, Jim Butcher, or Anton Strout.

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