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Witchfinder (Magical Empires Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Sarah Hoyt
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $21.99
Kindle Price: $6.99
You Save: $15.00 (68%)

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Book Description

In Avalon, where the world runs on magic, the king of Britannia appoints a witchfinder to rescue unfortunates with magical power from lands where magic is a capital crime. Or he did. But after the royal princess was kidnapped from her cradle twenty years ago, all travel to other universes has been forbidden, and the position of witchfinder abolished. Seraphim Ainsling, Duke of Darkwater, son of the last witchfinder, breaks the edict. He can't simply let people die for lack of rescue. His stubborn compassion will bring him trouble and disgrace, turmoil and danger -- and maybe, just maybe, the greatest reward of all.


Product Details

  • File Size: 1559 KB
  • Print Length: 414 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1630110159
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Goldport Press (April 4, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00JHNZXZS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,648 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good fantasy April 7, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I admit I was a bit hesitant. Sarah writes great SF, but my experience with SF writers who cross over to fantasy hasn't been great. I shouldn't have worried. The plot is complex but not convoluted, the action starts from the first (ok, the second) page, the main characters are interesting and three-dimensional, and the plot twists are, well, twisty. (The one twist I spotted early on gets resolved about halfway through the book. It was like Sarah was saying, "Yeah, this one's so simple, I won't leave you hanging.") Not every writer understands the reader this well. There's light romance in varying favors, but no steamy scenes, thanks very much.

Very basically, the book is an interesting take on the "many parallel worlds with differing levels of magic" idea. A young woman from our Earth gets pulled to an alternate of much higher magic, the British empire is the dominant political entity, magicians abound, fae and other magical creatures hatch plots, aristocrats have varying degrees of ethics, and the good guys and bad guys have tea like civilized people. Nicely, Sarah didn't get into overmuch detail on the world building; we get a feel for the complexity of the universe without being dragged through endless details, with a hint of steampunk.

I'm very much hoping this is the beginning of a series.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New fantasy series from Sarah Hoyt April 6, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If like me, you grow anxious waiting for Ms. Hoyt's next Darkship novel or another story from The George (Shapeshifters), she has given us this first story in a new fantasy series to enjoy as consolation. Recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Fantasy April 12, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
The back-story behind Witchfinder, essentially, is this: Due to a major magical event, the earth has been split into an infinite number of alternate worlds in which magic is present - or not - in varying degrees. We have, for example, modern-day Earth as we recognize it, where magic is severely attenuated but technology has developed to fill the gap. We also have Avalon, where magic is an everyday fact of life. And we have Fairyland, which is not an "Earth" per say but a strange sub-universe in which "reality" is determined by the thoughts of the perceiver. Travel between these alternate worlds is possible, but may be illegal depending on the laws of your point of origin. (Avalon, for example, has proscribed such travel on grounds that resemble the Prime Directive.)

This may sound rather convoluted, but despite having to juggle several settings at once, Sarah never really lost me in her execution. Her plot - in which the protagonists must unravel a conspiracy that threatens both Avalon and Fairyland (and possibly the other worlds as well) - is complex but well-constructed, and her world-building is clear without being pedantic. Aside from her primary villain, who struck me as a bit flat and a little too obviously evil, her characters are strong as well. I like that Sarah allows her heroes to be flawed without completely vitiating their heroism.

The other thing I like about Witchfinder is the overall message. The story is lightly sprinkled with certain ideas that mirror themes found in Sarah's award-winning Darkship series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting twist on interlocking magical worlds... August 28, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I like much of Sarah Hoyt's writing but... for some reason I found myself putting this book down and wandering off to do something else over and over again. And that's not like me, I have a tendency to gobble books I enjoy—reading a 500 page book in a day and a half isn't unusual for me yet it took me nearly four days to read this 400+ page book.

I'm not saying this book is bad or poorly written... it isn't. The story line is well done (the interlocking magical worlds is a neat idea), the characters are well written, the overall writing is well done and the editing is professional. And I did, for the most part, enjoy reading it.

But, at least for me, there's something missing, something flat that I can't quite put my finger on. Perhaps it's because, after finishing the book, I have the feeling that the characters are cut from cardboard. Or perhaps it's because so much of the plot seems improbable even within the world Ms. Hoyt built... I don't know (shrugging...) I just know it left me feeling a bit empty and with no intention of buying the next one.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay July 4, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The writing style is good. The story is okay. I did not like all of the homosexual characters. I want fantasy stories to not involve gay story lines. There are no sex scenes in the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Witchfinder is one of those rare stories that is at once comfortably familiar and relentlessly surprising. It starts out with all the trappings we expect as fantasy fans: richly imagined worlds, magic, larger than life heroes and villains, and, of course, fantastic creatures big and small. However, magic and world-building, exciting as they are, take a back seat to the characters. And oh boy, are there characters. If this book was a TV show, I would be spending all my time dreaming up spinoffs based around each and every one of them. Even the obligatory archetypes -the intrepid hero, the seemingly innocent fish-out-of-water, the perpetually fretting mother, the sidekick- are full of surprises and endless layers that are all interesting and important to the story. By the time the reader meets the rest of the cast, it's impossible to stop reading because you just want to KNOW, not just the turns of the plot, but the fate of everyone involved.

That's not to say the story is in any way lacking in action. In fact, action is more or less non-stop, with exposition stuffed in little crevices around the chases, fights, spells, magical journeys and various fantastical perils. There are some interesting themes as well: duty and sacrifice vs. personal fulfillment, fate vs. choice, adventure vs. safety, and, above all, love in all its varied, messy forms. This work would actually make for a great book club discussion because there are so many points that people of varying ages and life experiences would perceive in different ways.

Highly recommended to current and potential fantasy fans. The most jaded readers are still guaranteed some surprises, and those who have never tried the genre will leave this story looking for more, both from fantasy in general and this author in particular.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars A Juvenile Fantasy with Adult Themes
Good plot and pacing, but if ever a book needed editing, it was this one. While the author employed many interesting archaic adjectives, their juxtaposition to misused words and... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Dunstan
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Enjoyed this more than I expected and hope there will be more in the series to come.
Published 2 months ago by BRNZ
5.0 out of 5 stars What Urban Fantasy Should Be Like
Good read. I've had it on my phone since July and kept putting off reading it. (Yes, I do this a lot. Not sure why. Read more
Published 2 months ago by A. Hicks
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
This was a rambling mess of a story. It was too convoluted with obscure magical rules that seemed to grow in number and complexity as the story went on. The characters were flat. Read more
Published 2 months ago by GoldDove
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story! Highly recommend
Great story! Highly recommend. Thanks, Sarah.
Published 2 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved the romance plot
A nobleman juggles conflicting public and secret duties in a fantasy version of the Regency era. I loved the romance plot, which avoided some cliches I'd worried about for a very... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Karl Gallagher
5.0 out of 5 stars A winner
I loved this book. Exciting, unexpected, interesting characters. I don't want to give anything away, so I can't give too many details, but I can say the book never slowed down... Read more
Published 5 months ago by M. J. James
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy both literary and exciting? Why yes, it can be done.
Inventive fantasy that interacts with myth and literature from both Victorian and Classic English tales. Read more
Published 5 months ago by S. Gillogly
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great story. Hoyt is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.
Published 5 months ago by Railspike
5.0 out of 5 stars Good start to a new Hoyt series
This appears to be the start of a new series by Hoyt—that is, the immediate problems of the story are resolved at the end, but there are tons of loose ends and the fact that it’s... Read more
Published 6 months ago by D. G. Hulan
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More About the Author

Sarah A. Hoyt was born (and raised) in Portugal and now lives in Colorado with her husband, two sons, and a variable number of cats, depending on how many show up to beg on the door step.
In between lays the sort of resume that used to be de-rigueur for writers. She has never actually wrestled alligators, but she did at one point very briefly tie bows on bags of potpourri for a living. She has also washed dishes and ironed clothes for a living. Worst of all she was, for a long time, a multilingual scientific translator.
At some point, though, she got tired of making an honest living and started writing. She has over 23 -- the number keeps changing -- published novels, in science fiction, fantasy, mystery, historical mystery, historical fantasy and historical biography. Her short stories have been published in Analog, Asimov's, Amazing Stories (under a previous management), Weird tales, and a number of anthologies from DAW and Baen. Her space-opera novel Darkship Thieves was the 2011 Prometheus Award Winner, and at this moment the third novel in the series, A Few Good Men, is a finalist for the honor.
She also writes under the names Sarah D'Almeida, Elise Hyatt and Sarah Marques.
To learn more about Sarah A. Hoyt and read samples of her work, visit http://sarahahoyt.com

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