I was originally attracted to this book because I am from New York and have been fascinated by the 19th century in the city for many years. While this is a fantasy, Sanders still maintains the unique flavor of New York City in 1855. Interspersing the gangs of New York, the crowded streets, the corruption in politics and on the police forces with gnomes, wizards, and mages is a brilliant blend of reality and imagination. I was hooked from the first page.
More than a fantasy, this is a story of relationships. Nathaniel Hood is the Mage and as such he is responsible for maintaining stability in the city he loves. But he carries his own personal baggage. Aching for his late wife, concerned for his son Jonas, and determined to keep the balance in his own life, he struggles with the weights assigned him by his life. His son Jonas has dedicated himself to his work as a Municipal Policeman, carrying burdens of his own. Father and son are both committed to doing “good” although they approach things from very different angles.
At the heart of this story is the search for a missing baby, the son of a prestigious New York family, the Vanderlays. Although Nathaniel has remained outside the issues of the everyday common world, he is drawn into the investigation of the kidnapping after Jonas is savagely attacked by Veil Dwellers. Filled with stunning twists and turns, vibrant characters, and unexpected secrets, the story drew me in and held my attention throughout. Beautifully written with colorful descriptions of the city and its inhabitants, both human and non-human, this is a book that demands to be read. The character development is remarkable and the settings so real I could practically smell the smoke and crowded streets of old New York.
High praise for C.A.Sanders and “The Watchmage of Old New York” as I eagerly look forward to the next book in this series.