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A Distant Magic Hardcover – July 17, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (July 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345476913
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345476913
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,938,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Near the start of this diverting romantic fantasy set in 1753, the third Guardians novel from bestseller Putney (after 2005's Stolen Magic), Nikolai Gregorio, a handsome pirate captain operating in the Mediterranean, kidnaps pretty red-haired Jean Macrae, a member of the Scottish branch of the Guardians (humans with magical powers derived from nature), in revenge for a wrong he thinks her father did him 20 years earlier. A decent sort who possesses limited magical powers, Nikolai is dedicated to fighting the evil of slavery by freeing galley slaves. He even sets up an island refuge for them. After Adia Adams, a freed slave, travels back in time from 1787 London, the pirate and the fiery Scotswoman find themselves on a dangerous magical mission to strengthen the fledgling abolitionist movement. The mix of magic, time travel, history, adventure, romance and social consciousness will delight series fans, but may strike some readers as an incongruous blend. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

When Nikolai Grigori is a homeless urchin in Malta, the visiting Macrae of Dunrath recognizes his magical powers and offers to foster him. But on the voyage to England they are attacked by pirates, and Macrae does nothing to stop them from taking Nikolai as a slave. Years later Nikolai exacts revenge by kidnapping the late Macrae's daughter. Jean, a Guardian, saves the day, first when their ship is attacked by pirates, and later when she adds her magic to Nikolai's to survive a horrifying storm. Adia, a woman from the future who survived the Middle Passage and went to England at the end of the American Revolution, turns up on Nikolai's private island, Santola, with the message that Jean and Nikolai must travel to the future to ensure the success of the abolition movement. As they travel through time, they use both African and Guardian magic and discover the synergistic effect of intimacy on their paranormal powers. Not the page-turning escapist fare readers usually expect from Putney, this tale features admirable characters and a fascinating approach to slavery and the abolition movement. Tixier Herald, Diana

More About the Author

A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USAToday bestselling author, Mary Jo Putney was born in Upstate New York with a reading addiction, a condition for which there is no known cure. Her entire romance writing career is an accidental byproduct of buying a computer for other purposes.

Her novels are known for psychological depth and intensity and include historical and contemporary romance, fantasy, and young adult fantasy. Winner of numerous writing awards, including two RITAs and two Romantic Times Career Achievement awards, she has five times had books listed among the Library Journal's top five romances of the year, and three times had books among the top ten romances of Booklist, the magazine of the American Library Association.

Her favorite reading is great stories, but in a pinch she'll settle for the backs of cereal boxes. She's delighted that e-publishing can now make available books that have been out of print.

Customer Reviews

This book reads more like an anti-slavery book than a romance, suspense or fantasy book.
Grapevine Stomper
I finally had to skip multiple pages at a time just to get through it so I could tell myself that I 'finished' it.
Lorraine
The way these two were written, you'd expect some significant chemistry but it fell flat.
Jedibarrister

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The third book in the Guardian series has moved away from pure romantic fantasy with a touch of history to more historical romance with a touch of fantasy. If you expect more scottish castles and unicorns, you may be disappointed. I read this book first, and went back to read A Touch of Magic and Stolen Magic because I liked the author's style. A Distant Magic is my favorite because it is more complex. I also think time travel, when used well, is a great plot device. Very entertaining!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By emyln on October 11, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I wish that I could strongly recommend this book. After all the premise is original, there's magic involved and the characters are likable. But the latter half of the book is mired in abolishing slavery and going through time to fight the unseen evil that is promoting slavery.

Not exactly romance material and it really detracted from the story. It almost felt like a story about slavery instead of romance. Not a good mix at all. I think the intention was to make it an epic love story that spanned ages but it failed on that front.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By AzIseeIt on August 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I just gave up on this book. Never having read one of the Guardian novels, I was not prepared for that aspect of the story, expecting another pleasant romantic escape. But that was not a problem. What became a problem was the convolution of story strands. I hung in when she introduced Adia and her story, but when she time travelled to hook up with Jean and Nikolai, I lost the continuity. Finally, when the mission of the book turned to a morality tale on slavery, I totally lost interest. Why slavery? The story of Adia would have been a great book. The story of Jean and Nikolai would have been a great book. A story on slavery would have been okay as well. But the mish mash that came of trying to combine all of that did not work for me.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. R. Dally on January 17, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ms. Putney is on a mission. She takes the theme "Slavery is bad" and pounds it into the ground. I have read all of her books, and this is not her best one. She is, as usual, an excellent writer and the book is well written. I just got tired of being preached at, although of course, I agree with her premise.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Constant Reader on September 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Mary Jo Putney, a wonderful writer of romance and fantasy, has set herself a challenging goal. In A DISTANT Magic she weaves together the romance and fantasy of her GUARDIAN SERIES with the history of the abolition of slavery plus a bit of time travel.

The Guardians series (A KISS OF FATE and STOLEN MAGIC) is set in the mid 1700's with main characters who are members of the British and Scottish aristocracy and whose families have, for centuries, wielded magical power drawn from nature. These families have banded together vowing to use their powers to help others rather than for personal gain.

While the prior books in the series did touch on particular historical events, they were first and foremost about romance. A DISTANT MAGIC is first and foremost about abolition but the story is told in a fascinating way through its framing within the Guardian world. It is a thought provoking tale and revels some things about this time in history which startled me.

In Marseilles Jean McCrae, a fiery Scottish Guardian, is kidnapped by Captain Nikolai Gregorio, a Maltese ship owner who seeks revenge against the McCrae family for a wrong he believes the MaCrae family did him. Nikolai, who was once captured by pirates and spent time as a galley slave, has dedicated himself to freeing as many galley slaves as he can, sailing the Mediterranean to find them. He is appalled to find an irresistible attraction to Jean. Through a fantastical set of circumstances, Nikolai and Jean join forces to travel through time supporting the key moments of the abolition movement.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Plot Summary: Nikolai Grigori was just another street urchin in Malta when a Scottish Guardian named Macrae spots his untapped magical powers. Macrae takes the boy as his foster son, but they are separated when Corsairs attack their homebound ship, and Nikolai is enslaved. Nikolai never forgives Macrae for his perceived abandonment, and the boy swears vengeance on his family. Fast forward nearly twenty years, and Macrae's daughter Jean travels to the Mediterranean to attend a wedding. Nikolai kidnaps Jean with evil intent, but she manages to save Nikolai and his entire ship during a storm. As they foster a shaky truce, Jean learns that Nikolai has devoted his life to freeing slaves, and they become united in this goal. The means to abolish slavery arrives in the form of Adia, an African priestess who has come back in time with a mission for Nikolai and Jean.

This was an incredibly ambitious book, and even though it didn't quite gel, I admire the effort and intent. Putney's aim was to trace the anti-slavery movement, from its first whispered beginnings in the mid 1700s, to England's outlawing slavery in the early 1800s. To accomplish this, Putney sends the couple on a leap-frog course through time, plunking them down whenever something threatens to derail the tenuous abolitionist movement.

The first half of the book is particularly strong, and contains all the elements you'd expect in a fantasy romance. In addition to seeing Nikolai and Jean's story, it also breaks off to follow Adia's life as an African slave in parallel timelines. Near the middle of the book, these three characters come together, and Adia is instrumental in preparing Nikolai for the challenges ahead.
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