Furies of Calderon
Furies of Calderon is the first in a substantially long series (6 books) by Jim Butcher; being the first of Butcher's work that I've read, I recently found out that he also wrote The Dresden Files, a series starring a Mage-cum-Detective named Harry Dresden, who works with the police department in modern day Chicago. If you love fantasy as I do, then you'll not be disappointed in this collection nor in The Dresden Files either. Butcher creates a world view that consists of amazing men and women who can use the powers of the earth be they wind, water, earth or fire, to wreak havoc or create beauty. His characterizations are strong and deep; his world building complete. Once I began Furies of Calderon, I couldn't put it down; what happens to Tavi, our hero, who supposedly has none of the powers of family or friends, but whose intelligence, sensitivity, passion and incredible cunning, make for a powerful young man despite his inexperience, keeps you turning page after page. As Tavi matures so do the challenges he faces, and the friends he makes though sometimes bizarre, are always funny, witty, and endearing, and they are legion. That's the other part of these novels that I like: much of the world order that Tavi must learn to accept and finally join, consists of "Roman military hierarchies" that make his world seem even more real because they are historical and familiar. If you like complexity, strong, individualized characters, and a world order that consistently surprises and intrigues you, then you too will love Furies of Calderon.
Elizabethan London comes alive in this richly atmospheric novel about Shakespare's "Dark Lady." Aemilia Bassano, once favored by the queen, is now on the edge of disaster. Barely surviving a miserable marriage and fearing exposure to the plague, Aemilia must turn to her estranged lover, William Shakespeare, in order to save her son. Kirkus Reviews calls O'Reilly's American debut a "gripping novel with a fesisty feminine voice."