12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: A Scholar of Magics (College of Magics) (Hardcover)
I could not put this down once I had started it. From the first chapter I just had to find out what would happen in this alteranate magic world of Edwardian Great Britain.
Glasscastle is the University of Magic - and a very traditional, English hidebound one full of arguing highly eccentric Fellows and university politics.
Samuel Lambert is a sharp-shooting American recruited by the university on a top secret weapons plan, The Agincourt Project. He is fascinated by the university and its scholarship, if not its prejudices and professors. Then Jane Brailsford sweeps onto the scene. She is a witch, a very feminist one, who is a teacher at the female magical college in France of Greenlaw. She is at Glasscastle not just to harry her professor brother Robert, but to persuade Nicholas Fell (the most eccentric of eccentrics) to take up his post as Warden of the West.
The tale then takes off with great velocity, nearly as fast and enthusiastically as Jane does in her brother's motor car as she sets about her tasks. For there is more going on in England than meets the eye, there is something wrong with magic itself and Fell is determined to refuse his post until he can heal the problem.
The whole magical world created by Stevermer is wonderfully realized and believable through its grounding in realities. Magic is presented as a strong part of this world without too much oohing and aahing.
Then the characters of Lambert and Jane are so well presented, and so very engaging. They strike sparks off each other, but are never shrill or stupid or unnecessarily argumentative. Jane resents the stupid prejudices against women, but does not belay the point continually. She simply goes ahead regardless, but is not revoltingly feisty.
The mysteries and dangerous plots are full of surprises, but not so obscure as to defy our puzzlings. There is a choice of villains and a great piece of villainy in the Agincourt weapon itself. The legend of Comus comes into the tale very magically and is woven into it.
Villainy is of course defeated and Lambert is granted his desire to study at Glasscastle.
I await very impatiently what will happen next.