Magic? It's for the rich, the powerful...the Archmage and his elite wizards and cloud-masters.
Livak is not among them. She haunts the back taverns of the realm, careful to appear neither rich nor poor, neither tall nor short . . . neither man nor woman. Obscurity is her protection, thievery her livelihood, and gambling her weakness.
Alas, some bets are hard to resist. Particularly when they offer a chance to board a ship for Hadrumal, the fabled city of the Archmage. So Livak follows a minor wizard, Shiv, in an attempt to turn a rune or two, never dreaming that the stolen tankard she wants to sell contains the secrets of an ancient magic far more powerful, and infinitely darker, than any mortal mage's spells.
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Juliet McKenna has been interested in fantasy stories since childhood, from Winnie the Pooh to The Iliad. An abiding fascination with other worlds and their peoples played its part in her subsequently reading Classics at St. Hilda's College, Oxford. After combining bookselling and motherhood for a couple of years, she now fits in her writing around her family and visa versa.She lives with her husband and children in West Oxfordshire, England. The Gambler's Fortune is Juliet Mckenna's third novel, following The Swordsman's Oath and The Thief's Gamble.
One of the problems those not already besotted fans have with genre heroic fantasy is the real vagueness of its settings. One answer to this is to slot it somehow into real time--another, more interesting one is to provide the imagined world with a past of its own. McKenna does this less through the provision of endless chronologies and king-lists than through her character s' sense of what has been lost--her magicians, scholars and thieves are all aware of how little they know of the past and how much there is to find out. All the chasing around, sword fighting and hair-breadth escapes of the plot relate closely to the quest for knowledge, for understanding of the strange dreams that come to scholars who own ancient artefacts. Livak starts off supplementing her income from gambling with a little judicious burglary of the sort of thing she knows scholars are buying; she finds herself first blackmailed, and then more willingly recruited, into a cause which comes to be her own. And who are the mysterious blonde thugs who dog our heroes at every turn? McKenna's debut has areas of clumsiness, but real charm and excitement to overcome them. AMAZON.CO.UK A wonderful debut J.V. Jones
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