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The Accidental Sorcerer: Rogue Agent, Book 1
K.E. Mills
Narrated by Stephen Hoye
Tantor Media, 16 hours

The Accidental Sorcerer: Rogue Agent, Book 1
K.E. Mills
K.E. Mills, born in Vancouver, Canada, came to Australia with my parents at the age of 2. She has always lived in Sydney. After graduating with a BA Communications from the then Institute of Technology (now University) she lived in England for 3 years. Since then, she has worked in customer service in the insurance and telecommunications industries, been a training officer, PR Officer in local government, production assistant in educational publishing, taught English and Business Communication at TAFE, been a supervisor and run a sf/fantasy/mystery bookshop. She also managed to squeeze in a Master's Degree in Children's Literature from Macquarie University.

K.E. Mills Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Amy Timco

The first book in K.E. Mills' Rogue Agent series, The Accidental Sorcerer, follows the adventures of Gerald Dunwoody, Third-Class Wizard, who has learned to accept his inferior magical abilities despite his ambition for bigger things. Gerald is a civil servant, a magical safety compliance inspector whose job is unfulfilling in general -- and positively dangerous on bad days. When Stuttley's Superior Staff Factory explodes due to unsafe conditions, Gerald's attempts to curb the damage are seen as the cause of the explosion. Disgraced, despairing, and now unemployed, Gerald is astonished when his application for Court Wizard to the King of New Ottosland is successful. Court Wizard is a prestigious title, even if it is in a tiny backwater country like New Ottosland. Urged by his few remaining friends to accept the position, Gerald does so. But all is not as it seems in New Ottosland, and Gerald soon learns that his paltry wizarding abilities have a greater power than he ever imagined, to create -- and to destroy.

Mills' alternate universe is reminiscent of J.K. Rowling's world of bureaucratic wizardry, with its Ministry of Magic and internal politics. The characters are quirky and well written. Gerald reminds me a little of Terry Pratchett's Rincewind character, the inept magician who can't seem to stay out of trouble. I especially liked Reg, Gerald's good friend who just happens to be a princess turned into a bird. Reg can talk, and her comments are hilarious. The Princess Melisande is another great character, as the dowdy sister of King Lional who also serves as his prime minister. Monk Markham is fun and likable, and Lional is a deliciously evil villain with his perfect looks and sinister heart.

It is refreshing to read a book in which religion and its adherents are portrayed in a fairly positive light. The Kallarapi ruler and his holy man aren't perfect by any means, but their belief system is never a basis for ridicule or villainy. They actually end up looking pretty good next to the opportunistic and ruthless Lional, who wants to use the Kallarapi religion for his own ends.

The Accidental Sorcerer was published in 2009 and read for Tantor Media by Stephen Hoye. Hoye's reading is engaging and greatly enhanced my experience of the book. His character voices are quite fun, especially that of Reg. Mills' prose sounds like fun to read aloud. The descriptions are generally fresh and unexpected, and the story is peppered with witty dialogue. I did find the profanity somewhat off-putting; perhaps it is more noticeable in an audiobook than in print. On a technical note, the last few seconds of every track fade out as the next track starts playing over it.

It's true that the lighthearted fun and games of the first half of the book do not prepare the reader for the heavier subjects that are introduced later. Some reviewers have gone so far as to say the book has a split personality. I noticed the shift, but did not find it problematic. On the contrary, I appreciate Mills' decision to tackle darker themes like torture and death. They give the book some weight. It's a fun read, definitely, but there's more to it than just that. Overall, I enjoyed this story very much and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys the fantasy worlds of Rowling or Pratchett.

Copyright © 2010 Amy Timco

Amy Timco is a voracious reader, avid reviewer, incorrigible booksale bum, and happy wife.  In addition to these absorbing pursuits, she also manages to be a freelance editor. (Yes, she is the grammar snob about whom your mother warned you!) You may visit her website at

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