Fourth in the independently intelligible series (A Plunder of Souls, 2014, etc.) about magic (“conjuring”) in the turbulent and increasingly rebellious pre-Revolutionary Boston of 1770.
With British redcoats occupying the city and crown loyalists clashing with rebellious anti-tax mobs, thieftaker Ethan Kaille—he’s a conjurer, a practice many consider akin to witchcraft, tracking down stolen goods for reward—finds it impossible to compete with his archrival Sephira Pryce and her gang of thugs. Having no leanings in the rebel cause, Ethan takes other jobs protecting the businesses of stubborn loyalists. But when one endangered crown loyalist brandishes a musket and then kills a young boy, if accidentally, it touches off a riot, forcing Ethan to magically quell the violence. Curiously, a spell seems to have triggered the killing, even though Ethan can’t locate the conjurer. Even more ominously, other violent incidents caused by conjuring occur when Ethan is on the scene. He begins to suspect that a conjurer has discovered a way to use Ethan’s own magic against his will, to set rebels and loyalists at each other’s throats and ensure Ethan gets the blame. Finally, when Ethan’s longtime love interest, tavern-keeper Kannice Lester, is stabbed, Ethan becomes certain of the hostile conjurer’s identity. Sheriff Greenleaf, hitherto antagonistic to Ethan’s profession and uncanny abilities, agrees to help Ethan track down and destroy the troublemaker. As usual, Jackson’s intimately detailed historical backdrop is a major advantage. So, with the genuine Latin spellcasting and sturdy characters, the plot, or lack of it, matters little.
A thoroughly engrossing and involving entry that no series fan will want to miss.