Remy (Stonehill Downs, 2014) offers a historical fantasy sequel that deepens the mysteries surrounding the Kingdom of Wilhaiim.
This novel begins about a year after the tragic events of Stonehill Downs. A new plague, the Red Worm, targets the children of Wilhaiim, and Malachi Doyle, the king’s magus/detective, investigates using medieval science and his ability to confer with the dead. When Mal receives a message that his father is dying, King Renault insists that the magus travel to the seaside village and visit the family that rejected him. Mal’s back story and the fictional history and customs of the land constitute the bulk of several chapters, which may please series fans but is slow going for casual readers. The pace picks up when perspective switches to vivacious Avani. A survivor of the Sunken Islands with magical abilities, Avani has returned to shepherding peacefully on the Downs, avoiding Wilhaiim and distancing herself from her romantic/mystical attraction to Mal. Nonetheless, she plunges into danger while studying the sidhe, underground-dwelling vampiric creatures in an uneasy truce with humans. When she finds a key in an abandoned blacksmith’s cellar, she risks her life to explore sidhe tunnels alone. Her investigations are interrupted when she receives word that Mal and Liam, the magus’ squire, have been kidnapped. At the king’s behest, she returns to Wilhaiim, a changed kingdom shrouded in plague-killing smoke, paranoia, and the growing power of the Masterhealer and his sword-wielding priests. Meanwhile, Mal and Liam, prisoners on a ship, become embroiled in their captors’ plot while struggling against the inherent dangers of a magus at sea (who knew whale-bone handcuffs block magic?). Switching between Avani and Mal, Remy creates an immersive experience where the mundane and magical coexist and threats build from all sides. Typos—for example, “loosing” instead of “losing”—blemish the action-packed book but don’t detract significantly. At the end, many crises are tidily, if a bit predictably, resolved, but others unfortunately remain unsettled, leaving readers to wait for the third novel in the series.
As the stakes rise in this tale about a king’s sorcerer, pages practically turn themselves, but several questions remain unanswered until the next installment.