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Child of Fire: A Twenty Palaces Novel Mass Market Paperback – September 29, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
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"Ray Lilly is one of the most interesting characters I've read lately, and Harry Connolly's vision is amazing. I can hardly wait for the next one." --Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse series
“Cinematic and vivid, with a provocative glimpse into a larger world. Where’s the next one?”—Terry Rossio, screenwriter, Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy
“Classic dark noir, fresh ideas, and good old-fashioned storytelling.”—John Levitt, author of Dog Days
“Redemption comes wrapped in a package of mystery and horror that hammers home the old saying ‘Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time’ . . . and even then you’d better check the yellow pages for one bad-ass exterminator first.”—Rob Thurman, author of Nightlife
“A fine novel with some genuinely creepy moments. I enjoyed it immensely and hope we’ll see more of Ray Lilly.”—Lawrence Watt-Evans, author of the Obsidian Chronicles
Top Customer Reviews
A number of reviewers compare "Child of Fire" to Jim Butcher's "Dresden Files" novels. Yes, this is Urban Fantasy. Yes, this is Dark Fantasy. Aside from that, I didn't find a lot of similarities. Keep in mind, just because Butcher likes a book, doesn't mean that it's the same kind of book that he writes!
Ray Lilly is in prison. We get some hints as to why, but I expect his back story to be revealed gradually in forthcoming books in the series. He is released from jail by the "Twenty Palace Society". We know even less about them, just that their mission is to track down and destroy anyone who is using magic. (Besides them, of course.) He is assigned to work with Annalise, and we don't know a whole lot about her either, other than that she is almost indestructible and has a really bad attitude about almost everything. Especially Ray. Who she fully expects to die very soon.
They are sent to a small town to investigate the disappearance of children, and the strange fact that once they disappear, no one remembers them. Not even their parents. The rest, as they say, is the story. And it's told very well. The narrative is tight and fast paced. The main characters aren't very likable, as some reviewers have mentioned. And on first appearance, they're not. But we don't know a lot about them, and they have a very unlikable job: killing anyone who has, or has been touched by, "unauthorized" magic. And that means there is frequently a lot of collateral damage.
This is obviously the start of a series. I'm willing to give Ray and Annalise the benefit of the doubt for now, until I know about them and their mysterious employer.Read more ›
The pair follows the trail further to Hammer Bay, a small city in the Pacific Northwest, known for its improbably successful toy manufacturing. The city is crawling with multi-generation old secrets, corruption, and lethal magic.
The story is fast-paced, full of violence, drama, and occasional dark humor. I found Ray Lilly to be complex and sympathetic. He does the hard things that need doing, even as he regrets them. Over the course of the story we learn that both Ray and Annelise have complicated histories -- so much so, I almost felt like I was reading book two in a series, rather than the first volume.
Hints about the Twenty Palaces Society were even more tantalizing. They stamp out -- with extreme prejudice, it seems -- unauthorized magic use. Their zeal is appropriate, though. They're the only thing protecting the world from the constant threat of annihilation. Annelise, vastly powerful and nearly indestructible, is merely a junior member.
Except what lurks in Hammer Bay is too strong even for Annelise. Saving the world is left to Ray, who has only a little magical protection, a scrap of a spell, and a whole lot of street smarts.
Normally I don't read a lot of Urban Fantasy, because common tropes of the field (snarky heroines and sex with undead/demons/monsters) are pet peeves of mine, but I liked this very much.Read more ›
Finally I got to read "Child Of Fire"...
"It felt good to sit behind the wheel again, even the wheel of a battered Dodge Sprinter. Even with this passenger beside me."
That is how it begins, soon I was done. I could not put this book down.
The story is basically about Ray Lilly, an ex-con who is recently released from jail. He's found himself working as the driver for a very deadly woman, Annalise Powliss. She's a member of the Twenty Palace Society, a group of sorcerers devoted to hunting down and executing rogue magicians. That sort of work tends to make one hard to the cruelties of the world, and Annalise is harder than most. She also holds a personal grudge against Ray and searching for an excuse to kill him.
The pair make their way to the town of Hammer Bay. Annalise is sent there on a job, someone is using magic against the Twenty Palace Society rules. They don't get far into the city limits before running into victims of this rogue magician's spells. Annalise isn't affected by the nasty scene, but Ray spurs into action.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really enjoyed this novel, despite my feeling of overexposure to modern supernatural books. Ray is a very believable main character, edgy but still sympathetic. Read morePublished 2 months ago by ScottM
A fast pace good read that will leave you wanting more.
Well developed plot with a few twist for goog measure.
I don't even remember where I heard about Harry Connolly but I'm so glad I did! After reading his Great Way series and loving it, I wanted more and read the Twenty Palaces series. Read morePublished 8 months ago by james jewell
A lot of fun. Mystery with a dark, almost Cthulhu mythos, feel. Morally complex and philosophical hole being packed with action and suspense. Read morePublished 8 months ago by P. Boatman
This is a paragon of urban fantasy. Have you ever wondered how it might feel to be a normal guy thrown into a dangerous world of magic where you are completely out of your depth? Read morePublished 9 months ago by Ryan Lung
If you have any taste at all for noir detective stories in addition to fantasy then Ray Lilly is the protagonist for you. Read morePublished 10 months ago by D. Whiteside
I generally don't write reviews for anything - having to write reviews has been the thing I hate about eBay. It takes a very good or a very bad book for me write a review. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Gary L. Fuller
So many cool things going on in Child of Fire! I fell in love with the Child of Fire world. Loved it. I had no idea how it would end.Published 11 months ago by Robin Grossman
I enjoyed the book for the most part, but there's something off about Ray. He has a criminal background but he doesn't like guns. He's terrified and then he's cool. Read morePublished 12 months ago by G. Reents