Though it’s not stated explicitly, I think this book is best read after the author’s The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal. Some secondary characters cross over, and it provides a good grounding on how the supernatural exists in this world. However, this book takes a deeper look at the nature of magic in this version of England, and it was all fascinating.
Charles excels at writing characters with semi-tragic back stories who don’t let their wounds haunt them too much. Such interesting, three-dimensional characters then become intertwined in intriguing relationships, and Saul and Randolph are no exception here. The added subplot of magic made bureaucratic adds an element of tension appropriate to the overall plot.
The story sets up plenty of room for continuation, but it is a complete tale that is highly enjoyable to anyone who is a fan of Charles’ other works. She continues to be a master at her particular blend of historical fantasy-romance.