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The Rogue Retrieval

(Gateways to Alissia #1)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  215 ratings  ·  80 reviews
In the tradition of Terry Brooks' Landover series, Piers Anthony Xanth books, and Terry Pratchett's Discword novels, scientist and blogger Dan Koboldt weaves wonder, humor, and heart into his debut novel, The Rogue Retrieval.

Sleight of hand…in another land

Stage magician Quinn Bradley has one dream: to headline his own show on the Vegas Strip. And with talent scouts in the
Paperback, 402 pages
Published March 1st 2016 by Harper Voyager Impulse (first published January 19th 2016)
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3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  215 ratings  ·  80 reviews

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Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

This year, I’m resolving to do a much better job at controlling my TBR and a big part of that will involve being a lot more prudent with the books I choose to accept for review, but when I was contacted about The Rogue Retrieval, I knew there was no way I could resist giving it a try. The book’s main character is a Las Vegas stage magician who one day hopes to make it big and headline at a Strip casino! Call me cheesy, b
Michelle Hauck
Oct 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When reading the description of The Rogue Retrieval I saw portal fantasy and expected, well, fantasy. Magic and more magic and sword fighting. I think this is more of a Star Gate brand of portal fantasy than Narnia. There's a whole lot more technology than magic wands, which makes for a great mix. I've been missing Star Gate and here is a story that reminds me of it.

I found it fascinating to bring together a user of magic from Vegas who relies on tricks and illusion with the genuine fantasy magi
T. Frohock
Dec 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you're a bit overwhelmed by the world right now, and the grimdark seems a bit too dark, I want to recommend The Rogue Retrieval, because Koboldt's story is the perfect "take me away from the real world" novel.

Quinn Bradley is trying to win his spot on the Vegas strip when he is offered a job he can't refuse. Corporate espionage, a true fantasy setting, and a likeable cast of characters make this a fast and enjoyable read. Although the story is light, in no way does it become trite. Koboldt ke
Gina Denny
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
A Las Vegas magician gets recruited to go on a covert mission into a medieval world and pretend to be a wizard in order to regain control after an operative goes rogue.

I mean, if that doesn't make you want to read this book immediately, then I can't help you.
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Sometimes I read to experience something I have never read before and sometimes I read to enjoy the comfort of the familiar. This book takes me back to the nostalgic enjoyment of the fantasy genre that made me fall in love with reading when I was young. The inclusion of a Vegas magician, with a dash of humor as the protagonist, also gave it a little spice to meet my appetite for something a little different. This was just a nice relaxing read with a fun premise. I definitely plan on reading the ...more
Dec 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this to read, and devoured it.

The Rogue Retrieval centers (mostly) around Quinn Bradley, a Vegas stage magician hoping to hit the big time. From the very start, Quinn comes off as sharp, on top of his game, and perhaps ready for his big break...right up until his big break gets taken, in exchange for an even bigger job.

Quinn will be part of a team sent to perform the titular Rouge Retrieval, but you can bet that even well prepared, well armed teams with the be
Beth Cato
Aug 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, fantasy
Ah, what a fun, light fantasy read! Rogue Retrieval offers a delightful twist on the classic portal fantasy: a stage magician from modern day Earth is recruited to assist a corporation on their forays through a hole into a real-life fantasy world with magic. One of the heads of the operation has gone rogue, escaping into the other world, and he needs to be retrieved before he introduces dangerous technology and ideas. Mayhem ensues, of course. It's a fast read--a frolic--and feels like a wonderf ...more
David Pomerico
Mar 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'll note I was the editor for this book, so take that as you will. But obviously I liked the book, or else I wouldn't have been the editor in the first place.

And I really liked Dan's book.

I just felt like the idea of a stage magician being put in a world where magic is real is a great concept. Too, I really hadn't read a portal fantasy in a long time, and yet one of my favorite novels is Terry Brooks' Magic Kingdom For Sale: Sold!, and this reminded me of that in a really good way.

Sean Randall
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was sublime. Flowing with all the ease and marvel of a work written decades before, it totally kept me hooked nonstop. I've always enjoyed stories of other worlds but when they're written so well and keep the pulse pounding too, why that's even better. A debut author with more potential than many I've seen in some time, I'm already waiting for the next book!
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Originally published at Reading Reality

The Rogue Retrieval is a terrific example of what is called “portal fantasy”, where a magical portal opens between our world of the mundane and another world where magic is operational.

Admittedly, the magic of the portal itself may be of the Arthur C. Clarke variety, where “any technology sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic” as it may be in this case. Or it can literally be a magic portal, like the famous wardrobe in C.S. Lewis’ Narnia ser
Anna Tan
Dec 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-copy, e-books
Quinn Bradley, stage magician on an off-strip theatre in Vegas, is about to get his big break. Except it never comes. Instead, he's offered a lot of money to help a huge corporation infiltrate Alissia, a world connected to ours by a secret portal. What they want is his talent in illusions to help them retrieve the head of the research team, who has gone rogue. But when the real magicians of Alissia come after the impersonator, Quinn has only his wits and his stage props to keep him alive.

The Rog
Michael Mammay
Dec 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to get to read an advanced copy of this book.

The Rogue Retrieval is a fun read that breaks out from the typical fantasy story and explores what happens when a regular guy comes into a fantastic scenario. Quinn Bradley isn't a hero, and to me, that's the best part of the book. He's a Vegas stage magician with quick hands and a quick mind, and that's really all he has to rely on as he faces a new, magical world beyond a portal.

We've all read portal fantasies, but to me, Rogue ta
May 24, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a book with a kick ass premise, and was a lot of fun, but also with plenty of flaws.

First, the premise: a wormhole of some sort has been discovered to another world, a world with real magic, and acquired and kept very secret by Omni Consumer Products Czerka Corporation Abstergo Industries Shinra Electric Power Company CASE Global. They've been scouting this new world, with Prime Directive-esque restrictions on their personnel. The story begins when they recruit a Vegas stage magician to
Laura Maisano
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Rogue Retrieval is a portal fantasy (part real world, part fantasy world...think Narnia,) which is a genre near and dear to my heart. There's not much other than the opening and the end which takes place in "our" world, but there's plenty of conflict between them. This book has a lot of action going for it and just enough mystery (mostly missing motives) to keep you reading.

Now, for the best bits. I LOVE Quinn, the main character. He's a Vegas magician pretending to be a real magician, becau
Mary Brebner
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first, I was a little tentative about this story. While I love magic, I don't like magicians, the Vegas kind. (I don't know. I'm weird.) But this story pulled me in and didn't let me go until the end. Stage magician Quinn is swept up into another world, a world with magic, as he travels through a portal to retrieve a rogue scientist before he completely messes up this new world they've discovered. He's a strong character, one who's just trying to enjoy his time in this wild and weird world wh ...more
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult

**More intelligent review to follow.**

UPDATE: Okay. Now that I've had time to process this book, here's my review. This book was, indeed, everything that is awesome. Initially I picked it up because it appeared to be a cross between Now You See Me (one of my favorite movies ever) and the Middle Ages, which is absolutely my jam, and the first part of the story delivers in this aspect. But as the plot deepens and the reader gets to see more of this amazi
Mar 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
This isn't the type of book I usually read, but I liked it! It pulls you in & the action keeps things moving so it was a quick read for me. I especially liked the details that surrounded the Jillaine character. I look forward to the next one!
Dannie Morin
Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Let it be known that I am not generous with 5-star reviews. An awesome blend of scifi and fantasy with kickass world-building. What's not to love?
Adrian G Hilder
Oct 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Throw a traditional pseudo-medieval fantasy into a pot along with Stargate and season with a dash of Avatar, and you have some idea of what is in store in The Rogue Retrieval.

Attracted by the dramatic concept of a Las Vegas performing illusionist come magician entering a fantasy world where he would need to be convincing alongside those who do magic for real, The Rogue Retrieval was an impulse buy for me. I was also charmed by the book’s opening where Quinn, the aforementioned magician, on the c
Disclosure: I've met the author as part of my role as the Municipal Liaison for the St. Louis NaNoWriMo region. I received the book as a free digital ARC via Edelweiss and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

THE ROGUE RETRIEVAL brings the magic of the stage together with magic of the world. Quinn is a stage magician about to get his big break in Vegas when he's approached with a very strange job offer. The world of Alissia lies just on the other side of a portal, and a megacorporation
Victor Gentile
Jan 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dan Koboldt in his new book, “The Rogue Retrieval” published by Harper Voyager Impulse introduces us to Quinn Bradley.

From the back cover: Sleight of hand…in another land.

Stage magician Quinn Bradley has one dream: to headline his own show on the Vegas Strip. And with talent scouts in the audience wowed by his latest performance, he knows he’s about to make the big-time. What he doesn’t expect is an offer to go on a quest to a place where magic is all too real.

That’s how he finds himself in Alis
Angel Leya
May 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have to say, I had mixed emotions about starting this one. I don't know where my head was at when I read the description, but I wasn't expecting what I got - and I loved it!

Quinn Bradley is a Vegas magician with dreams of headlining on the strip. His personality and charm, sleight of hand, and innovative illusions have finally attracted some head hunters, but they've also caught the attention of a large and powerful corporation who want to use it for their own. All his best options blocked, Qu
Diana Urban
Aug 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had a lot of fun reading The Rogue Retrieval! I got this as an eARC from Edelweiss, and read it in just a couple sittings. It's an action-packed ride with a witty protagonist, and I'm a fan of magic — both in fantasy books and magic acts performed in the "real world" — so this was up my alley.

Quinn is a stage magician in Vegas looking for his big break on the strip. After a stellar performance, he thinks he's finally going to be offered his dream job. Instead, reps from CASE Global make him an
Vinay Badri
May 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-read
This turned out to be quite a fun book subtly drawing inspirations from a lot of sources but retaining enough charm to differentiate it from the others. Charming, I think, thats the word for this book. The characters are not very complex but are extremely charming and good humored. There is a vein of darkness but that's mostly hidden away to an extent.

The classic fish-out-of-water scenario heres involves a Vegas magician being hired by a large faceless corporation to hunt a rogue scientist who
Carrie Mansfield
You know, I think might be the favorite book that I've read from the Harper Voyager Impulse line. When I was trying to think of negatives about this book, about the worst thing I could thing of was "it doesn't exactly break any new ground," but that isn't necessarily even a bad thing, if done well.

And honestly, it was.

The book knew exactly what it was: a story of contemporary, tech-forward humans traveling to a world that's medieval in its technology to try and retrieve one of their own that wen
Rati Mehrotra
Mar 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ever seen a really good magic show? You suspend disbelief for a while to enjoy it. You know intellectually that skill and technology are behind the 'magic' you're seeing...but what if a place existed where magic was real and 'impersonating' magicians was a crime? And what if you plucked a Las Vegas magician and stuck him there? This is the premise of "The Rogue Retrieval", a quick-paced and entertaining adventure that blends fantasy with state-of-the-art technology and a greedy corporate empire ...more
Thomas Weaver
Mar 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Short version (until I can collect my thoughts to write a longer review): I am VERY much looking forward to the sequel. (Write faster, Mr. Koboldt! :-) ) I like how this "portal fantasy" doesn't just use the portal trope as a plot device to get the protagonist to another world. Also, it's a joy to read a novel that is both interesting in terms of plot, setting, and characters AND well-written in terms of the basic mechanics of writing (no stupid punctuation errors on every page).

Rating: 4.5 star
Feb 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thougth it started a little slow but then it picked up. I was not to sure if i wanted to read the book after the first few pages but glad I did. It got better and more exciting as I went along. liked that he used a magician. Nice twist to the story. Hope the writer will return to his world for more adventures.
Kate Swed
May 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Rogue Retrieval is a portal fantasy that brings sci-fi tech into a high fantasy world, and the result is pure fun. Fans of Jim C. Hines would enjoy Dan Koboldt's witty dialogue--rich in banter--and his great sense of humor. And I really enjoyed following Vegas-magician Quinn through his adventures in Alissia. Is it too soon to hope for a sequel?
Mar 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good Start

This book was one of the better attempts to integrate science and magic. It also laid the groundwork for further adventures. It has some ideas that I would like to see developed into greater detail. Worth the price.
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Dan Koboldt is a genetics researcher who has co-authored more than 70 publications in Nature, Science, the New England Journal of Medicine, and other journals. Every fall, he disappears into the woods to pursue whitetail deer bow and arrow. He lives with his wife and three children in Ohio, where the deer take their revenge by eating all of the plants in his backyard.

Other books in the series

Gateways to Alissia (3 books)
  • The Island Deception (Gateways to Alissia, #2)
  • The World Awakening
“The best illusions aren’t a matter of technology, but of performance. First, you open the minds of the audience. Then you fill them with exactly what you want them to know.” 4 likes
“There will always be detractors. If you don’t have them, you don’t matter enough.” 3 likes
More quotes…