Wizard Undercover is the fourth book in the Rouge Agent series by K.E. Mills, the Canadian born, Australian author, also writing as Karen Miller - her real name.
Having not read Mills before, Wizard Undercover was a pleasant jaunt despite the expected turbulence that comes from jumping into a series four books in.
Experienced readers will have no issue settling in to the story as it’s largely self contained. Or you could just start at The Accidental Sorcerer i.e. Book 1.
The SettingIf you can imagine European politics in the late Victorian era, magic, dry English wit and a fantasy setting you'll be right. I am not sure whether I would call it Steampunk, but it will certainly appeal to those that frequent the genre.
The TaleGerald Dunwoody, a rogue wizard “janitor” (think MI6) infected with tainted magics is sent along with the Crown Princess Melissande and Emmerabiblia Markham, partners in the unconventional and somewhat feminist Witches Inc., to unravel a plot to disrupt the marriage of the heirs of Splotze and Borovnik.
The (Janitorial) Department’s man in Splotze has gone silent after leaving an incoherent message suggestive of his own demise and heinous plans being orchestrated by players unknown.
Report from Field Agent “Bookonaut”Wizard Undercover reminded me of a cross between Jane Austen’s work and Black Adder, the manners, formality and focus on personal conversation of the first and the dry wit of the second. Despite the lightness in tone and the bumbling along of its protagonists, Wizard Undercover is suspenseful.
There is a dark undercurrent running through the story, with Gerald always at risk of going to the “dark side” and being changed by the grimoire magic he’s had embedded in him. The conclusion also featured a surprisingly abrupt and clinically violent scene in what is largely a “violence off screen” novel.
All things considered it’s a delightful romp with a little mystery, humour, and romance.
If I had one criticism it was that there was no map or appendices to help get my head around the state of affairs.
This book was provided by the publisher at no extra cost to myself.
This review is part of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2012. Please check out this page for more great writing from Australian women.
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