Time reading: 4.5 hours (Fewer pages than Half a King, but smaller print and denser prose.)
Back in high school, I was a library monitor. Among the school library’s magazine subscriptions was Fantasy and Science Fiction, and I ended up reading enough of their back catalog that I began to seek out issues featuring some of my favorite regular contributors. One of these was Matthew Hughes and his tales of Henghis Hapthorn, “Old Earth’s foremost freelance discriminator.”
High school is a few years in the rearview mirror by now, but the impression of the stories stuck with me. So I entered this book with a certain amount of context for what was going on. This turned out to be necessary, because without that context, I’m not sure how much of the plot I would have understood. There’s some complex world-building going on here, involving the world transitioning from an age of science and reason to an age of magic. I’m told Hughes’ work is meant to be a prequel to Jack Vance’s Dying Earth, but I’m not sufficiently familiar with Vance to draw any conclusions from that.
Still, an interesting read with a strong narrative voice. I’m fond of both sci-fi/ mystery and fantasy/ mystery fusions, and Majestrum manages to be both. In other words: yet another Book Challenge read where I’ll be hunting up the sequels later.