In the hallowed halls of Oxford's Merlin College, the most talented - and highest born - sons of the Kingdom of Britain are taught the intricacies of magickal theory. But what dazzles can also destroy, as Gray Marshall is about to discover....
Gray's deep talent for magick has won him a place at Merlin College. But when he accompanies four fellow students on a mysterious midnight errand that ends in disaster and death, he is sent away in disgrace - and without a trace of his power. He must spend the summer under the watchful eye of his domineering professor, Appius Callender, working in the gardens of Callender's country estate and hoping to recover his abilities. And it is there, toiling away on a summer afternoon, that he meets the professor's daughter.
Even though she has no talent of her own, Sophie Callender longs to be educated in the lore of magick. Her father has kept her isolated at the estate and forbidden her interest; everyone knows that teaching arcane magickal theory to women is the height of impropriety. But against her father's wishes, Sophie has studied his ancient volumes on the subject. And in the tall, stammering, yet oddly charming Gray, she finally finds someone who encourages her interest and awakens new ideas and feelings.
Sophie and Gray's meeting touches off a series of events that begins to unravel secrets about each of them. And after the king's closest advisor pays the professor a closed-door visit, they begin to wonder if what Gray witnessed in Oxford might be even more sinister than it seemed. They are determined to find out, no matter the cost....
©2014 Sylvia Izzo Hunter (P)2014 Audible Inc.
My favourite authors include: Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, David Weber, Lois McMaster Bujold, Georgette Heyer, Ben Aaronovitch, J D Robb.
An interesting alternate history in which magic is prime rather than science and technology. The story begins in what seems to be 19th century Oxford, where post-graduate student Gray Marshall becomes involved, through no fault of his own in machinations, treachery, high treason and a lost princess.
The characters are well-rounded and interesting and the alternative history plausible.
The narration is overall good, each character well-defined, though with some very strange pronounciations - Samhain pronounced as it is spelt, Sam-Hain rather than the more usual Sa-WAIN, but I decided to accept it as the way it is pronounced in this world.
The story is complete in itself, but I do hope there will be more by this author.
A very good find.
A wonderful story with endearing characters. It took me a few chapters to get into it but by the time I got to the end I was sad to be parted from my new friends. I sincerely hope there are sequels to this lovely tale.
I picked this through one of the linked recommendations and was very pleasantly surprised. The writing is erudite and engaging, the narrator actually seems to know what most of the words mean (which in itself was a nice suprise) and the story bumps along quite nicely.
It's a relatively plausible plot, a little formulaic (young person finds out they have powers/aren't who they thought they were, goes on a journey with a host of unsuitable companions to try and save the day) but it hangs together well and I enjoyed it.
Well worth a listen.
Slow starter warms-up
I think the background story when we got to it
He brings the family to life
An intriguing story, delightfully narrated. It was unexpectedly enjoyable and I particularly liked the idea of a rather different European history than the one we know.
I really wanted to like this, and listened all the way through it in the hopes that the premise would be fleshed out and explained.
It took far too long to 'guess' that it was an alternate history, a 'what if..?' story, by which time I was bored with the lack of imaginative background which had no clear depth or colour. It could have been set at any time in history, although, whose, I really dont know. A king called Henry suggest Tudor, The use of France suggest Medieval, and the Oxford colleges suggest victorian. The language is supposed to represent Regency, and yet, whilst its a good story, had the author sought to write it in a time of her own choosing, and in a world of her own invention, it would have stood up far better as a fantasy piece than it does. Written as an historical romance, it just doesnt work. The only thing holding it up IS the storyline and characters, but only if you are a teenager.
The reading was ok but I wont be bothering with the second book.
"A fabulous listen!"
This listen was even better than I had hoped for. The story was clever and clean. I hope this is just the start of a new magical series. I could hardly wait to get back to it each time. The performance was delightful. This girl loves a nice accent.
"Fantasy with mystery"
An alternative world fantasy story which is really a mystery story as well. Summer vacation adventure very nice to listen to during a summer vacation. The story is very nice with unexpected twists. The performance was also very good. Looking forward to book 2.
Noooo, this was such a yawn. Just kept going on with nothing really happening and I never felt engaged with any of the characters. Not sure if it was the narrators reading or the story, but probably both. I gave up and I love stories with magic in them!
If I hadn't read other better ones it might have done.
I think his reading was slightly dead and cold, he didn't make the listener engage or care about anyone. His reading lacked emotion.
Most of them, the story needed to get to the point.
Very disappointing, I thought this was going to be another discovery of witches. It was not!
"Unnecessarily Long, tedious."
Simple story dragged out to the point of becoming uninteresting. Formal language became tiresome and distraction.
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