Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Get Hexed with Witchy Eye

My good friend Dave Butler's big epic flintlock fantasy Witchy Eye is out today!

Here is the description:
Sarah Calhoun is the fifteen-year-old daughter of the Elector Andrew Calhoun, one of Appalachee’s military heroes and one of the electors who gets to decide who will next ascend as the Emperor of the New World. None of that matters to Sarah. She has a natural talent for hexing and one bad eye, and all she wants is to be left alone—especially by outsiders.

But Sarah’s world gets turned on its head at the Nashville Tobacco Fair when a Yankee wizard-priest tries to kidnap her. Sarah fights back with the aid of a mysterious monk named Thalanes, who is one of the not-quite-human Firstborn, the Moundbuilders of the Ohio. It is Thalanes who reveals to Sarah a secret heritage she never dreamed could be hers.

Now on a desperate quest with Thalanes to claim this heritage, she is hunted by the Emperor’s bodyguard of elite dragoons, as well as by darker things—shapeshifting Mockers and undead Lazars, and behind them a power more sinister still. If Sarah cannot claim her heritage, it may mean the end to her, her family—and to the world where she is just beginning to find her place.

Her Mother was a Queen
Her Father was a Hero
Her Uncle wants her Dead

I got to read an early version of Witchy Eye and as always whatever Butler touches turns to gold. He is a writing Midas with an imagination, wry sense of humor and depth to rival anyone.

Witchy Eye is a bold re-imagined American crossroads of empire with various magical characters all in a place that might have been. Maybe should have been.

Something I think is great is that we get to go somewhere outside of the usual psuedo-European fantasy and encounter a mythos that is decidedly American, including the fae, mound-builders and beast-men while also acknowledging the magic and legends of the newcomers from the old world - which are a major source of conflict. I had to chuckle to myself over Oliver Cromwell, (who gets a bad rap about everywhere) because once he becomes a necromancer it gets serious. Full of action and surprises this is not to be missed.

This is also one of those books where I know I'll want to read it again because there are dozens of references and in jokes, that I may have missed. Butler just has so much knowledge and wit to share that it's impossible to get it all in one go round. Its the book that keeps on giving. Good thing my hard copy is coming today.

He also has a prologue of sorts available at the Baen website that tells a key moment in the Witchy Eye backstory, in which John Churchill takes England pagan, for arcane defensive reasons. So check out,
A Prologue to Witchy Eye

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