A Marvellous Light (The Last Binding #1) (Hardcover)
Jo's November 2021 pick
This book is brimming with everything I love: well-researched historical fiction, adorable queers, a murder mystery, and fantastic magic.
Set in Edwardian England, A Marvellous Light follows Robin Blyth and Edwin Courcey as they unravel a centuries-old mystery at the heart of British magical society.
The magic of this book is homegrown and utterly unique. It’s hard not to fall for a theory of magic based on cat’s cradle spell casting.
But the true brilliance of this book is the characters, Robin and Edwin are well-drawn as individuals but together they are extraordinary. Freya Marske finds the right balance of sweet and sexy that will leave you wishing for more time in this world.
Red White & Royal Blue meets Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell in debut author Freya Marske’s A Marvellous Light, featuring an Edwardian England full of magic, contracts, and conspiracies.
Robin Blyth has more than enough bother in his life. He’s struggling to be a good older brother, a responsible employer, and the harried baronet of a seat gutted by his late parents’ excesses. When an administrative mistake sees him named the civil service liaison to a hidden magical society, he discovers what’s been operating beneath the unextraordinary reality he’s always known.
Now Robin must contend with the beauty and danger of magic, an excruciating deadly curse, and the alarming visions of the future that come with it—not to mention Edwin Courcey, his cold and prickly counterpart in the magical bureaucracy, who clearly wishes Robin were anyone and anywhere else.
Robin’s predecessor has disappeared, and the mystery of what happened to him reveals unsettling truths about the very oldest stories they’ve been told about the land they live on and what binds it. Thrown together and facing unexpected dangers, Robin and Edwin discover a plot that threatens every magician in the British Isles—and a secret that more than one person has already died to keep.
About the Author
Freya Marske is one of the co-hosts of Be the Serpent, a Hugo-nominated podcast about SF, fandom and literary tropes, and her work has sold to Analog and been shortlisted for Best Fantasy Short Story in the Aurealis Awards. She lives in Australia.
"Mystery! Magic! Murder! Long looks full of yearning! This book is a confection, both marvelous and light."—Alix E. Harrow, author of The Once and Future Witches
“That sublime prose! Her astonishing gift for imagery! And, of course, her bountiful and endless talent for writing some extremely sexy scenes. A Marvellous Light is all that and more. Perfect.”—Jenn Lyons, author of The Ruin of Kings
"Freya Marske's A Marvellous Light is an absolute delight. I was caught from the very beginning by the compellingly realized characters, the gorgeous and deadly magical world, and the fascinating mystery. If you ever wished Downton Abbey was sharper-edged and full of magic, this is the book for you."—Kat Howard, author of An Unkindness of Magicians
"This romantic fantasy is full of fascinating world-building, layers upon layers of delicious magic, and characters I adored. I want to spend so much more time in this alternate England's enchanted libraries and sinister hedge mazes! The whole experience was a delight."—Stephanie Burgis, author of Snowspelled
"A gripping story, told in precise and sensual language, with the kind of characters that make you want a spin-off book for even the ones you've barely met. Magic, romance, and mayhem in a beautifully decorated—and occasionally actively dangerous—Edwarian setting."—Malka Older, author of Infomocracy
"A completely enchanting story that sweeps you into a world of art and romance. Marske is an extraordinary talent who writes compelling characters, entertainingly awful families, and love stories like nobody else."—Everina Maxwell, author of Winter's Orbit
“Romantic in the best way, funny, sharp, sexy, fantastical. Prepare to fall in love with the gorgeous Edwardian setting, the sizzling character dynamics, and the murderous enchanted hedge maze.”—Emily Tesh, author of Silver in the Wood
“A charming, lovingly crafted adventure full of peril, romance and wit, illuminated by sparkling turns of phrase and a pervasive sense of humour.”—A. K. Larkwood, author of The Unspoken Name
"Freya's prose is so splendid that merely reading it makes me feel like I've been filled to the brim with champagne bubbles. A Marvellous Light has everything you could ever want from a book—beautiful descriptions, expertly woven worldbuilding, queer kissing, sexual tension in a library, quite a lot of William Morris wallpaper. . . . This book is brilliant on every level. It is wondrous. It is, if you will excuse a small joke, marvellous."—Alexandra Rowland, author of A Conspiracy of Truths
“Equal parts fantasy, mystery and romance—with bonus murderous garden features—A Marvellous Light heralds a strong new voice in science fiction and fantasy.”—Sam Hawke, author of City of Lies
“A magical world of exquisite refinement, where peril skims beneath manners, interiors bespeak both faultless taste and deadly secrets, and the sexual tension crescendos until it literally makes sparks fly. A dazzling debut.”—Shelley Parker-Chan, author of She Who Became the Sun