RogerBW's Blog

Mage-Queen's Thief, Glynn Stewart 01 July 2024

2023 SF novella, part of an ongoing series. Kiera Alexander, thrust before she was ready onto the throne of Mars, needs children to carry on a particular set of magic-wielding genes, but would really prefer a husband she actually likes too. Barry Carpentier is a failed mage turned shuttle thief, and it turns out the Queen's ship has a really interesting prototype shuttle on board…

It is just a novella, and I think largely intentded as a lead-in to the next novel Nemesis of Mars, but it does a good job both of showing us what these characters' normal lives are like and of arranging for them to meet.

We've met Alexander before, of course, and I think Stewart does a good job of balancing the queen who has to do formal things with the young woman who wants to have a life too. We're also introduced to some of her household here, though only briefly.

There's a kidnapping plot, so while Carpentier is busy sneaking round the luxury liner and past the Royal Guard to get to the shuttle, Alexander is being drugged and spirited away. There's one big coincidence, but it's always encouraging to see a bad guy plan that would actually have had a fair chance of working if the good guys hadn't turned up unexpectedly and interfered. The final section of the story has the pair of them working to survive against unreasonable odds, and Stewart's still able to wring some surprises from this setting even after thirteen books and several shorter works.

There isn't much of a resolution, but as usual I'm interested to see where things go from here.

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Previous in series: Beyond the Eyes of Mars | Series: Starship's Mage

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