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Magician's Ward
Patricia C. Wrede
Tor Books, 288 pages

Magician's Ward
Patricia C. Wrede
Patricia Wrede is the author of more than twelve books for young readers, including the Lyra and The Enchanted Forest series.

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Past Feature Reviews
A review by Victoria Strauss

In Magician's Ward, Patricia Wrede returns to the alternate Regency England invented by herself and fellow-writer Caroline Stevermer, for a sequel to her earlier book, Mairelon the Magician.

Kim, the former street thief rescued from a life of crime, is now the apprentice and ward of Mairelon (aka Richard Merrill), and has spent a year learning magic. Difficult as her magical studies are, she finds polite society, into which Mairelon's very proper aunt is determined to insert her, far more taxing. The plot thickens when Kim foils a mysterious enchantment-aided burglary in Mairelon's library. Kim and Mairelon set out to discover what the burglar was after, and in the process uncover a dangerous plot focused upon seven French wizards and the treasure they supposedly hid years ago. When Mairelon is injured in a magical attack, Kim must call on both her street smarts and her magical abilities to save him -- while at the same time juggling the demands of London society, the attentions of an eligible marquis, a grand coming-out ball, and her own realization that she has fallen in love with her guardian.

In Magician's Ward, Wrede spins a classic Regency romance tale, geared to young adults. Her alternate world doesn't stand much scrutiny; the concept -- which assumes the existence of magic in a basically historical Europe, complete with a Ministry of Wizardry that also seems to be responsible for covert intelligence activities -- is a thin one, and exhausted much of its novelty in Sorcery and Cecelia, the Wrede/Stevermer book in which it was introduced. But Wrede's lively writing style, likable characters, clever dialogue, and command of convincing period detail carry her past this deficiency to create a swift-paced, entertaining book. Fantasy fans and Regency buffs alike will thoroughly enjoy this sequel, and will look forward to more to come.

Copyright © 1998 by Victoria Strauss

Victoria Strauss is a novelist, and a lifelong reader of fantasy and science fiction. For an excerpt of her Avon EOS novel, The Arm of the Stone, visit her Web site.

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