A couple of things attracted me to this book. Number one, I read C.A. Sanders first book in The Watchmage Chronicles, The Watchmage of Old New York. I loved it. Secondly, the title of this book, Cold Iron. Cold iron was said to be harmful to witches, fairies, and ghosts. It was also thought to repel evil supernatural creatures.
Cold Iron brings back the wonderful characters from book one; Nathaniel Hood, the Watchmage, and his son Jonas, who is a Municipal Police Detective, and many of the various “Veil Dwellers” as well as gnomes, pixies, and other-worldly types. Picking up about a year after the adventures in book one, Sanders provides occasional hints and flashbacks to previous events. While this book stands well on its own, I recommend reading book one first, if only for the pleasure.
Fires are happening in Manhattan, fires that destroy buildings and take lives. Who is setting these mysterious fires and what is their goal? Sanders weaves a suspenseful and intense tale, combining the historical flavor of the city, fantastic fantasy characters, and a mystery as solid as anything Conan Doyle could have written.
The interpersonal relationships between the characters make the story richer. It’s possible to relate to them and their experiences despite their “supernatural” lives. Descriptions of settings within the city are so imaginative, even a reader unacquainted with Manhattan can visualize them. The political battles of the times are deftly merged into the tale. Sanders has a unique skill for incorporating the colorful language and slang of the period in a familiar manner. I could practically hear the characters speaking.
Finishing this Watchmage book leaves me hungry for more stories of old Manhattan and the lives of the human and non-human inhabitants. I hope Mr. Sanders will add more Watchmage adventures to this very compelling series. If I could give it more than 5-stars, I certainly would!