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The Nightshade Cabal

4.48  ·  Rating details ·  54 ratings  ·  33 reviews
All Isaac Barrow wants is to be left alone to pursue his supernatural research and tinker with his inventions. But when you’re the only technomancer openly practicing the craft in 1880s Halifax, trouble has a way of finding you. When a routine mechanical service call reveals the grisly handiwork of the Nightshade Cabal – an underground cult of necromancers – Barrow finds h ...more
Published February 25th 2020 by The Parliament House Press
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Average rating 4.48  · 
Rating details
 ·  54 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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Sheila Goicea
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, The Parliament House, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review.


All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.

Content Warning: Abduction, Gore, Death, Murder, Overall morbid theme
The inspector always says there are two main motivations for murder, love or money.

Halifax, Nova Scotia is an atmospheric place in the 1880’s, especially when steampunk m
Randy Schroeder
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a delicious debut. Its ingredients are drawn from a wide range: the aesthetic of steampunk; the imagery of magical realism; the detail of the historical novel; the the charm of the 19th-Century Detective Novel; even, at times, the repartee of the buddy flick. However, it would be wrong to characterize The Nightshade Cabal as a simple mashup or genre-bender, since its variety of narrative details are integrated to such a degree that it coheres as a unique and seamless reading experience. ...more
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
See this review and others at Whispers & Wonder

The lure of the forbidden is a powerful thing.

The Nightshade Cabal is a thrilling and highly inventive debut from author Chris Patrick Carolan. An adventure laced in mystery and menace, we follow breadcrumbs leading from one grisly discovery to the next, keeping readers on their toes until the very end. At its heart, it's a tale of the lengths one is willing to go in order to protect those they love, and also of the consequences of attemptin
gwendalyn _books_
Feb 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Nightshade Cabal by Chris Patrick Carolan, is a riveting, faced paced urban fantasy, with captivating steampunk elements. This is one book you do not want to miss. Exceptional world building, with technomancy, fantastic magical realism and captivating fast paced thrilling mystery makes for an exceptional read.
Alternative of 1880’s Hal
Feb 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Nightshade Cabal is a fast-paced journey, filled with magic, mischief, and mystery. It takes the reader through some of 1800s Nova Scotia’s most hidden pockets and secret activities, as seen through the eyes of enigmatic sleuth Isaac Barrow.

Overall, I enjoyed this debut narrative, and the characters of Isaac Barrow and Emily Skye especially. However, for me it was lacking key elements and a surprising conclusion, and for that reason I am giving it 4 out of 5 stars.
Shatarupa  Dhar
In Halifax, Nova Scotia; Isaac Barrow is a spellcaster. He deals with real magic, is one of the few who can sense it. He's a technomancer as well, researching the supernatural with the aid of his various scientific inventions. His expertise lies in "intertwining the transmundane with science and technology". Unlike The Nightshade Cabal, the underground organisation of necromancers who dabble in "blood magic, resurrectionism, and demon worship". He also an investigator who sometimes
Robert Bose
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: steampunk
Strange things are afoot in 1880’s Halifax, the likes of which you’ve never seen. Isaac Barrow – full time technomancer and inventor, part time investigator, and, I think, aspiring curmudgeon (if he lives long enough) – is thrust head first into the thick of the action against the sinister necromantic Nightshade Cabal while searching for missing young lady.

Isaac is a resourceful fellow, it must be said, clever yet fallible, with both old friends and new watching his back, but that might not be e
Marc Watson
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Chris Patrick Carolan's debut is an absolute masterclass in creating a riveting, tightly-woven mystery, and is some of the most well-told and environmentally excellent steampunk I have ever read.
Right from the beginning you're pulled into a world both familiar and foreign, grounded yet magical, and walking an expert balance between them all. Its strong protagonist, interesting characters, imaginative setting, high stakes, and well-paced adventure were a joy to ride along with. Whether it's in t
Glenda Magallon
Apr 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Exciting read and looking forward to many sequels!
Ryan Leslie
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Chris Patrick Carolan's The Nightshade Cabal felt more like the work of an author hitting his stride several books into a series than a debut. There's as much magic in how the story is told as there is performed by the characters in the book. Carolan manages somehow to create a fully-realized 19th century Halifax without ever drawing attention to the world-building. The characters---particularly our reluctant hero, Isaac Barrow---are similarly deep and real. But more than anything, The Nightshad ...more
J.E. Barnard
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Carolan’s prose offers the easy formality familiar to readers of Steampunk from Jules Verne to the present. His is a world familiar in some ways – quasi-Victorian Halifax against the Murdoch Mysteries’ Toronto – and unfamiliar in others, namely the mingling of mechanical marvels with magical practices. From the first scene, in a crowded theatre where a stage magician’s illusory creations threaten to unleash very real mayhem on the dazzled audience, you can relax into a tale equal parts Vernean f ...more
Robert W. Easton
Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Nightshade Cabal is a pleasing mystery. The slower pace of a noir like whodunnit matched well with the steampunk elements. But while the deliberate pace keeps the reader immersed in the wonderful details, the action scenes were brisk and riveting.

And the ending, whoa Nelly. I am definitely looking forward to the sequel.
Ellen Michelle
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received a free eBook version of this book in exchange for an honest review. My first comment about it? I’ll be buying the print version and rereading it as soon as I do.

A fantastic debut novel for Chris. I am a huge fan of urban fantasy, especially when it’s crossed with the crime/mystery genre—The Nightshade Cabal did not disappoint.

I was engaged from the first chapter and thoroughly intrigued by the main character and his tech-magical abilities, which became more and more interesting the
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When technomancer Isaac Barrow is set in search of a young spellcaster, he unknowingly entwines himself into the machinations of a diabolical plot. Chris Patrick Carolan creates a world where the marriage of technology and magic yields fantastic machines, but also horrid aberrations to nature.

Accompanied by a stubborn, but seemingly fearless Miss Skye, Isaac Barrow seems to uncover the dark
plot of the Nightshade Cabal, a group of necromancers that are known to stir up trouble. This book follows
Shannon Allen
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Chris Patrick Carolan promises much in his debut novel, The Nightshade Cabal. Promises he keeps and exceeds with marvelous characters, intrigue and adventure wrapped up in a steampunked 1881 Halifax. In this book two seemingly innocent requests pull Issac Burrow, a technomancer, into a twisted network of ritual, debauchery and secret societies. Carolan is a magician with words. He crafts a story rich in subplot and secondary characters the add a whole new richness to the main story. It is a true ...more
D.E. E.  Wright
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very excellent read!

Good pacing, fun characters, and a setting that I can honestly say I've never seen before with Steampunk 1880s Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The only thing I can say against the book is that it ended too soon, which is a great excuse for sequels.
If you're into the Dresden Files, Hellblazer, Steampunk, or Victorian Gothic in not the usual locales, then you can do far far worse than read this book.
TW/CW: Abduction, Death and Murder and Gore

"The inspector always says there are two main motivations for money, love, or money"

We are taken on this brilliant steampunk adventure in 1880 Halifax, Novia Scotia. Issac Barrow is one of the last technomacers (magical abilities that affect technology or magical powers that are gained through the use of technology).Issac gives us some major Sherlock Holmes vibes. In a era where magic is a bit of taboo, its also very good and real in this story.

Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Who doesn’t love a good mystery? Add in a little technomancy, fascinating (and sometimes creepy!) locales, and the ominous Nightshade Cabal itself and you’ve got a story that pulls you in and won’t let go.
The plot moves quickly with many twists and turns that keep you turning pages long past your bedtime. The characters are wonderful with just enough mystery swirling around each of them to warrant many more books. I can’t wait to read more of Mr. Barrow’s adventures and learn more about his past
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Technomancy, steampunk, magic, necromancy and mystery. What more could you want from Chris Patrick Carolan's debut novel The Nightshade Cabal? How about an 1880's Halifax described in such a way, that even though I've never been to Halifax, I can see the settings so cleanly and clearly, it's like being transported there.

What starts as a simple repair job and a missing person case, leads Isaac Barrow to the Nightshade Cabal, a sinister organization with insidious goals.

Chris expertly weaves a st
J.M. Dover
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult, own, fantasy-sf
The Nightshade Cabal instantly pulls you into an alternate version of 1880s Halifax with masterful descriptions full of detail and imagery. The author adds a cast of unique and colourful characters and a fast moving plot with layers of mystery to the amazing world building making this book a must read. There is also a surprise twist at the very end that adds to the enjoyment. I can’t wait for the next book from this author.
Megan Hinde
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Chris Patrick Carolan’s debut novel The Nightshade Cabal pulls you into a dark, mysterious world of magic and lore. With Isaac Barrow leading you down into a familiar yet new world of 1880’s Halifax. Imagery that sucks you in drenched in rich detail and mystery, The Nightshade Cabal is a trip worth taking all the way to the end. I look forward to Chris Patrick Carolan’s next journey.
Joel Peterson
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Nightshade Cabal was my introduction to anything "steampunk", though I'd hate to pidgeonhole it within a particular genre because it felt so much larger than "just another" piece of genre fiction. Isaac Barrow as a character is instantly likable, with a clear Holmsian charm and an occasional Victorian humorlessness and an Oscar Wilde wit. He isn't perfect - he finds himself black, blue and scared on more than one occasion throughout the novel, and this makes him a stronger protagonist all ar ...more
Jennifer Rahn
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the perfect steampunk mystery with all the elements and Victorian flavour you could want. A very satisfying read.
Jimmy'S Boy
Apr 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great concept, great story.A remarkable and ingenious tale of a kind of magic the reader would not usually find.Makes me wonder if Isacc Barrow's own notes may exist in the Dresden files.Well done Chris,a truly excellent read...yours thankfully... Jimmy's boy. ...more
Scott Bannick
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure: I've known Chris for well over a decade through our shared experiences in retail hell. I was never very close with him, but I consider him a good person. I was hesitant to read his book like when someone you respect asks you to look at something they've created and you're afraid that it's going to suck and you'll have to find a creative way to lie about their creation. Plus, I have little knowledge of steampunk other than it seems pretty cool.

Thankfully, this book was quite enjo
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An absolute fabulous read, cannot wait for a sequel to this. Chris you created a mysterious world I thoroughly enjoyed.
Celeste Peters
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I had the pleasure of reading an early version of The Nightshade Cabal. What a ride!

Technomancer Isaac Barrow is forced to make full use of his mastery of magic-infused gadgetry as he attempts to reveal the insidious truth behind a new bit of technology on the market--one that asks him for help. In doing so, he is assisted from time to time by his good friend Inspector Jonathon Eddings and Emily Skye, a young woman with an urgent personal stake in solving the mystery. I thoroughly enjoyed the d
Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
This was a fun read! About halfway through it dawned on me that it was reminding me very much of the first entry of The Dresden Files, and that's why this one gets four stars instead of five; I expect the following titles, and there must be more, to get stronger and stronger. Looking forward to the future! Interesting little twist at the end, too! 😀 ...more
Laura ( Latteandbooks )
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc
This book wasn’t for me. I wish that it was because the synopsis made the book sound interesting. I’m just not one to read many historical books. This one being set in the 1880’s in Halifax.
Aug 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I went into this novel with very little experience in the world of steampunk/fantasy novels. I was immediately hooked, it was a wild ride, and I am eager for a sequel! The characters are fun and memorable; the world is one I’d love to spend more time!
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Chris Patrick Carolan is an author, editor, and hovercraft enthusiast, originally from Glasgow but now based in Calgary, Alberta. He writes steampunk, fantasy (urban and epic), and science fiction, though he has also been known to turn to crime to make ends meet. Crime fiction, that is. His short stories have appeared in various award-nominated anthologies, and his first novel, THE NIGHTSHADE CABA ...more

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