Carol Berg’s new novel, The Spirit Lens, is set in an entirely new universe, a renaissance world where science is overtaking magic, than her previous novels. Failed magic student and now librarian of the collegia, Portio de Savin-Duplais, is summoned to the countryside by his fifteenth cousin, the King of Sabria. Phillipe, who disdains magic, charges Portio to be his agente confide along with his fop of a brother-in-law, Ilario, to solve a magical attempt on his life and the disappearance of the previous investigator. He believes another attempt will occur in 64 days on the anniversary of the previous attempt, which is also the anniversary of his son’s death. Many believe his wife was behind the attempt due to her love of magic and goal to speak to the dead. The assassin was found with a lens that allows the viewer to see glimpses of the world beyond. He also bears the marks of a victim of blood transference, a vile and illegal practice.
Portio is drawn in to court life where intrigue is a way of life. Along with the help of Ilario, he seeks the aid of the only master mage that is not of the blood, Dante, who turns Portio’s views of magic and the world upside down. Portio learns more about himself as he strives to solve the mystery. The Spirit Lens has magic, suspense, intrigue, horror, action, and even a little romance. Portio, Ilario, and Dante are complexly drawn figures with even more unexplored depths to come in the series. I highly recommend this tale.
Carol Berg is hard at work on the sequel, The Soul Mirror, set to be released in 2011. I also recommend her Lighthouse Duet, Flesh and Spirit and Breath and Bone, her Rai-Kirah trilogy beginning with Transformation, and her stand alone novel Song of the Beast.