I love having this omnibus compilation of the Mairelon books and the new cover is beautiful (though I am a bit more partial to the older covers). The Mairelon books are 2 of my top books of all time. It had hit so many of my favorite genres and themes: young adult fiction, fantasy, romance (only a touch), a level-headed, tomboyish heroine, a Cinderella story, comedy of manners, and the Regency period. I have read them every year for the past 7 years and every year, my appreciation for the writing and the wit and humor infused in those pages increase.
I'm not good at summarizing plots, but here goes...
Kim, a London street urchin disguised as a boy, is hired to break into the wagon of Mairelon, a street magician who just so happens to be a real wizard. She is caught and then joins Mairelon and his faithful, but all-too-proper servant, Hunch on a journey through the English countryside to retrieve a magical platter. They become entangled with the 10 or so other people (this includes some Druids-who-aren't-really-Druids) who are also chasing after that platter.
That's only the "Mairelon the Magician" half of this volume. In the second half, "The Magician's Ward", Kim becomes Mairelon's ward and struggles to balance surviving the societal expectations of being a ward of a well-to-do family and dealing with the recent magical skullduggery that is going on in London.
Fans of Wrede and Stevermer's Regency story, "Sorcery and Cecilia", should definitely check this book out. It has the same wit, humor, and feel. Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer fans should also take a look. To get a better sense of this book, please check out the individual Amazon reviews of "Mairelon the Magician" and "The Magician's Ward". They are worded much better than my own review here. I also recommend looking at "A Matter of Magic" as two 200+ page books, as it was originally meant to be read, instead of trying to read both books as one long 400+ page book