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“From the top of the gate, Alys smiled down. There was no evidence of evil, yet Laurel felt it. That absence of living energy concealed something grotesque. She shuddered when she met those night eyes, repulsed as she might be by a dead mouse accidentally trod underfoot or a cold, scaly water-thing brushing against her body in a stream. Her nerves thrilled with danger. She’d seen this girl before, watching and smiling secretly. She’d sensed this presence months ago, though she hadn’t understood until now what it was. This was why she had come to New York…”
When Laurel Windswift enters an apprenticeship under her uncle, the great wizard Lord Redmantyl, she sees only the delights that her magic can bring. But her desire for more knowledge brings her too soon into the dark secrets that all magicians of power share, and forces her to take up a wizard’s duties of night vigils against monstrous and inhuman forces before she is ready. When Laurel returns to her home city to investigate a small magical anomaly for her uncle, this maiden of light meets a child of darkness, and must undertake a task too terrible to perform.
On an alternate earth filled with wonder and danger, the wizard’s niece must make a decision that will affect the rest of her life. As she struggles with the unbearable obligations of a magician, she also faces the ostracism of the merchant families who cast her out as a child, her aunt’s matchmaking efforts, and finding an unexpected love.
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