Archibald Clare is a detective of truly uncanny abilities-a mentath, capable of feats of deduction and logic that border on the supernatural. He is also abruptly, uniquely, the only unregistered mentath left alive in Londoninium. Someone has murdered the others and, if not for the timely intervention of the Prime sorceress Emma Bannon, there would have been no one left to stop… whatever is coming.
Mentaths and sorcerers are dying-or worse, being seduced into betraying Queen and Country. Bannon and Clare must uncover treachery, conspiracy, and sorcery of the blackest hue. And in a Britannia where magic has turned the Industrial Revolution on its head, time is short.
The game is afoot…
Emma Bannon, Sorceress Prime in service to Queen Victrix, has a mission: to find the doctor who has created a powerful new weapon. Her friend, the mentath Archibald Clare, is only too happy to help. It will distract him from pursuing his nemesis, and besides, Clare is not as young as he used to be. A spot of Miss Bannon’s excellent hospitality and her diverting company may be just what he needs.
Unfortunately, their quarry is a fanatic, and his poisonous discovery is just as dangerous to Britannia as to Her enemies. Now a single man has set Londinium ablaze, and Clare finds himself in the middle of distressing excitement, racing against time and theory to find a cure. Miss Bannon, of course, has troubles of her own, for the Queen’s Consort Alberich is ill, and Her Majesty unhappy with Bannon’s loyal service. And there is still no reliable way to find a hansom when one needs it most…
The game is afoot. And the Red Plague rises.
Archibald Clare, mentath in the service of Britannia, is about his usual business—solving crimes and restoring public order–until a shattering accident places him in the care of Emma Bannon, sorceress Prime, who once served…and now simply remains at home, tending her solarium in reasonably quiet contentment. What Clare needs is time to recover, and not so incidentally, a measure of calm to repair his faculties of Logic and Reason. Without them, he is not his best. One could even say that without them, he is not even properly a mentath at all.
Unfortunately, calm and rest are not to be found. There is a killer hiding in the sorcerous steam-hells of Londinium, stalking the Eastron End and unseaming poor women of a certain reputation. A handful of frails murdered on cold autumn nights would make no difference…but the killings echo in the highest circles, and threaten to bring the entire edifice of Empire down in smoking ruins.
Once more Emma Bannon is pressed into service; once more Archibald Clare is determined to aid her. Yet secrets between these two old friends may give an ambitious sorcerer the means to bring down the Crown. And there is still no way to reliably find a hansom when one needs it most.
Britannia is threatened. Londinium quakes. Sorcery births an unholy monster.
The game is afoot…