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The Darkling Thrush

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Fed up with his desk duty in the Imperial Arcane Library, book hunter Colin Bliss accepts a private commission to find The Sword’s Shadow, a legendary and dangerous witches’ grimoire. But to find the book, Colin must travel to the remote Western Isles and solve a centuries’ old murder.

It should be nothing more than an academic exercise, so why is dour — and unreasonably sexy — Magister Septimus Marx doing his best to keep Colin from accepting this mission — even going so far as to seduce Colin on their train journey north?

Septimus is not the only problem. Who is the strange fairy woman that keeps appearing at inconvenient times? And who is working behind the scenes with the sinister adventuress Irania Briggs? And why do Colin’s employers at the Museum of the Literary Occult keep accusing Colin of betraying them?

As Colin digs deeper and deeper into the Long Island’s mysterious past, he begins to understand why Septimus is willing to stop him at any price — but by then, it’s too late to turn back.

149 pages, ebook

First published April 1, 2010

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About the author

Josh Lanyon

182 books5,012 followers
Josh Lanyon is the author of over sixty titles of classic Male/Male fiction featuring twisty mystery, kickass adventure and unapologetic man-on-man romance.

Her work has been translated into eleven languages. The FBI thriller Fair Game was the first male/male title to be published by Harlequin Mondadori, the largest romance publisher in Italy. Stranger on the Shore (Harper Collins Italia) was the first M/M title to be published in print. In 2016 Fatal Shadows placed #5 in Japan’s annual Boy Love novel list (the first and only title by a foreign author to place). The Adrien English Series was awarded All Time Favorite Male Male Couple in the 2nd Annual contest held by the 20,000+ Goodreads M/M Group. Josh is an Eppie Award winner, a four-time Lambda Literary Award finalist (twice for Gay Mystery), an Edgar nominee and the first ever recipient of the Goodreads Favorite M/M Author Lifetime Achievement award.

Josh is married and lives in Southern California.

Find other Josh Lanyon titles at www.joshlanyon.com
Follow Josh on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 191 reviews
Profile Image for Martin.
746 reviews410 followers
March 24, 2019
Thanks for this amazing buddy read, Adam!

I don’t have enough words to express my feelings for this story. It’s pure fantasy. It is EXACTLY why I love fantasy so much.

And of course, Josh Lanyon skillfully combines the love for rare and beautiful books (that most of us share, right?) with m/m romance in this gorgeous fantasy setting.


The story revolves around Colin, who is a librivenator, meaning he tracks down rare books, usually occult tomes and grimoires. He was raised in the Americas, but is currently in London as an ‘exchange student’ trying to learn the skills of the librivenators of the Old Country.

However, bored out of his mind with the desk job he’s given, he accepts a private assignment to find a long lost grimoire the importance of which only slowly dawns on Colin and also attracts the attention of the Vox Pessimires, a group of specialized librivenators who track down and destroy grimoires deemed too dangerous to exist.

Colin isn’t aware of the danger he’s in until he reaches the climax of his journey and ultimately the end of the world as we know it.


I loved the Gaelic mythology in this. It was so well used and gave the whole story a real Lovecraftean feel. Sure, a story like this deserves to be treated as an epos. It shouldn’t be thrown out there as a novella, for heaven’s sake! I find the plot very remarkable and could easily see an entire series span out from this.

Also, the resolution was way too simple. I actually guessed how the mysterious grimoire would be found halfway through the story. I was surprised to see that Colin really ended up finding it this way. It seemed way too straightforward to me.

The love story really wasn’t very noteworthy. The ‘I Love you’ at the end felt very odd. Why did they even fall in love? At first I thought there was some love spell that kept these two guys glued together, because Colin didn’t really invest much thought into a romantic relationship, so why his love interest was head over heels in love with him is beyond me. Also, what in the name of All was the thrush about??

Still I need to rate this book for the overall impact it had on me, and as such, I will put it on my favorites list. I really, really hope to someday find an epic fantasy novel with a theme like this. It really took my breath away and sent chills down my spine.


Even though I am favoring this story for totally different reasons than other Lanyon stories that I have loved reading, it definitely gets…

5 stars
Profile Image for Ingie.
1,344 reviews169 followers
January 2, 2015
Written January 2, 2015

3.1 Stars - Mysterious myths and an interesting adventure part ... but too little snuggle factor for me

A Josh Lanyon fantasy / mystery tale. — 5:30 hrs narrated by Max Miller (new for me).

A little disappointed to be honest..
Hardly a romance but a pretty interesting mystery. - Although very different with a strange feeling over it. Both the story itself and this slow and quite odd narration. Melancholy and very quietly in the expression, but still enjoying to listening to. I'm not sure if I liked this story, or the narration, or not.... yet.

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Colin Bliss a 23 years old book hunter, and American, works for a time at the Imperial Arcane Library in London. After a badly ended (embarrassing and quite painful) short lovestory with a new colleague is he asked, and accepts, a private commission to find The Sword's Shadow, a legendary and dangerous witches' grimoire. ~ A mythic and very dangerous old book.

Soon enough is it necessary to travel with train (and ferry) to Western Isles and solve a centuries' old murder. Then appears another fellow, Septimus Marx a tall, dark man with a strong attraction.


The Darkling Thrush is in no way a bad or boring mystery book. Quite the opposite, it has a good a well thought out, interesting (sad) very old myth / legend to be solved here. And partly also gets resolved. I liked this part of the book, although it was many difficult names, complicated old myths etc., to grasp when listen instead of reading by yourself.
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What I lacked was an ounce more romance (as an addicted romances reader) but I also had a hard time believing, and feel for, the tiny romance part that in fact existed here.

Septimus' (the supposed strong alpha male..) narrated voice was so stupid silly and unattractive, that I found it hard to see what John saw in him at all. He sounded like an old grumpy Merlin. It felt like a slightly incredible insta lust and insta love that felt tacked on in this context. Overall, probably had this story been better, for me, without great affection and big grand words from a "stranger" and a more developed slow love story instead.


Not 'my' best JL but still a few hours good enough listening (..a dark, cold, stormy first day of the year).

I LIKE - Yeah kind of... I wished for more
Profile Image for Linda ~ they got the mustard out! ~.
1,579 reviews104 followers
October 11, 2018
This is a fun historical fantasy, with a AE twist. The main characters were very reminiscent of Adrien and Jake, but they had their own faults and quirks that made them unique. The fantasy elements were well-paced and spread out, introduced just perfectly to slowly draw you into this world. The castle and all the locations were elegantly described.

Edit: Sista answered my question on what a brownie is. It's a household spirit who cleans your house for you. That's handy! A brief description in the book itself would have avoided a lot of confusion for the last 5 years, lol. Thanks, sista!
Profile Image for Breann.
587 reviews112 followers
July 19, 2013
I always enjoy a character who sticks his nose where it probably doesn’t belong and gets into all sorts of trouble.

Colin Briggs accepts a job to find an ancient and dangerous grimoire, The Swords Shadow. Pretty soon into his search he realizes that he’s in way over his head and that he’s not the only one on the search.

This was definitely a paranormal book with some fae and magic, but there wasn’t much world building. We saw each experience through Colin’s POV and that was all we got of this world. No background and not much explanation. But I didn’t feel as though I was missing anything, there was just enough to keep me intrigued without getting bogged down by all the details.

I always love Lanyon’s characters. Of course, we have the loveable, underestimated guy who is too curious and ambitious for his own good, Colin. And yeah, it was told from his POV. Then we have the mysterious, tough, analytical thinker as the love interest, Septimus. Their romance wasn’t the main focus of the story but their interactions were fun and it made for a great read.

The mystery was top-notch. There were tons of players in finding this ancient book, all wanting to find it for different reasons. It kept me guessing all the players until the end.

Magic, mystery, loveable characters and a little bit of romance. Great combo.
Profile Image for Monique.
983 reviews385 followers
November 20, 2012
Audio Book 3.5 Stars... OK! Narrator Max Millar was amazing, I loved his seductive tones:)
Profile Image for fleurette.
1,359 reviews114 followers
November 26, 2021
Interesting idea and a well-written story.

I liked the whole idea for the story. The world created by the author is interesting and original. I think that it has a lot of potential, and the author used it quite skillfully. He also did a good job of conveying the atmosphere of weirdness. Colin feels like he is being followed, and the feeling that we as well should be constantly looking over our shoulder has been expressed quite well.

Lanyon can certainly create full-fledged characters in his novellas and short stories. Here, I think there was something missing. It doesn't mean that Colin and Septimus are totally flat, but I know that this author can do more and I expect more from him. First of all, we know too little about Septimus, we don’t know him enough to really care. Colin is fine, but he also lacks a bit of that uniqueness, something that makes him stand out as a character. But overall it's okay and, in a book by another author, I probably wouldn't mind it.

As for the things I didn't like, I think the romance happens way too fast. The very first sex scene between Colin and Septimus surprised me completely. The leap between not liking each other and becoming lovers seemed far too sudden to me. After that, it didn't bother me so much that they were lovers. But their declarations of love were another surprise to me. I believe it happened way too fast, too.

Overall, it's not the best Josh Lanyon novella I've read, but it's still a good story.
Profile Image for Vivian.
2,839 reviews393 followers
October 1, 2013
The book geek in me loved the premise of an outsider librarian going off the range after making a colossally bad workplace decision.
Colin Bliss, young, talented and naive makes a whopper of bad judgment call and then realizes he has to live with it for a year. A very long year. Until an opportunity presents itself and he decides to engage in some unsanctioned activities since, well...since he's been sidelined.
Septimus Marx, the scowling presence that always unsettles Bliss is the proverbial bad penny that keeps turning up. But, his sanctimonious airs have more to do with than just the superiority of position and skill. Bliss finds this out during his journey.
I liked the adventure/treasure seeking plot for a lost book. A mythic book that all reputable sources deny exists. The thought and development of the legend and the gaelic used throughout gave a very tangible feel to the story and if there's something I really enjoy, it is being subsumed by a story. The plot itself isn't complicated, but the execution is so smooth and pleasurable that it rates highly in my estimate.
Favorite quote:
He smiled faintly. “‘Ge milis a’ mhil, cò dh’imlicheadh o bhàrr dri i.’ Good advice, this is. Honey may be sweet, but no one licks it off a briar.”
Profile Image for Ami.
5,813 reviews499 followers
May 24, 2012
3.25 stars
Positive: Wow for the fantasy thing. I must say the the description is quite good. It is intriguing ... the quest to find the lost legendary grimoire in the remote Western Isles. It's like I'm watching "Merlin"

Negative: I don't know, I feel like there is a disconnection between Colin and Septimus. If I expect some kind of romance, this is not it. I cannot really believe their relationship.

Still, if I need to sum up, I will go with intriguing
Profile Image for Feliz.
Author 58 books107 followers
May 24, 2012
What if there was magic in our world today? What if it was as normal to be a witch, or clearsighted, as it is for us to be good at sports or a musician? This is what Josh Lanyoon must have thought when he created an AU world with telephones, aircraft, and automobiles where "the Americas" are officially still called "The colonies", where people spend their lives transcripting books by hand or hunting famous lost grimoires, where there is a secret police in charge of suppressing or destroying books that are too dangerous to come to the world of man, where the mechanical printing press was invented by a Scotsman in 1414, where a goblin can be a well known - doctor and where members of the Seelie Court with blue skin and red eyes walk the streets in daylight?
This is the world of Colin Bliss, a book hunter on an exchange program from Boston, currently living in London and working for a government agency which control and collect magical books and magic in general, or Magick, as it is called here. Recovering from the breakup between him and his superior, Anthony, Colin feels neutralized riding a desk instead of working as a book hunter as he used to. He gets to hear he's too young, too inexperienced and, in addition to that, being a Colonial not at all fit to go on "real book hunts" in the old world from everybody, including mysterious Septimus Marx, who seems to pop up everywhere Colin happens to go. Bored and annoyed, Colin jumps in with both feet when a slightly obscure private book collector asks him to go hunting for a famous grimoire which has been missing for six centuries. When he learns the hunt can not only cause peril to his own life, but to manhood in general, Colin tries to step back from the search. But it's too late. He can't escape his fate anymore. Nor can he escape Septimus Marx.

I loved all those little details of Lanyon's brilliant worldbuilding. The tongue - in cheek references to legends and lore, the casualness the characters move inside a reality which is so outlandish to us, it's all masterfully and so typical Lanyon. (one example: Colin talks to the goblin who falls asleep in the middle of the talk. When he returns a day later and is disappointed the goblin still sleeps, the goblin's housemaid tells him "She's a goblin she could sleep for a day or a month," and Colin just nods ruefully as if he should have known better than to ask.) The mystery, the quest, is thrilling and fascinating, and the ending is surprising and worth the journey.
The relationship between Septimus and Colin builds unusually fast for a work of Lanyon's, and there's remarkably little explanation of the why of it. It feels almost like insta - love. Their connection is supposed to run deep, but I couldn't feel their emotions. That's what bothered me lately with several of Lanyon's newer works, the lack of emotion between the heroes.
But then again, the book read like the first in a series. Maybe Septimus and Colin will get closer over time. There are many other odds and loose ends which call to be linked together. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel to this one.
Profile Image for Eugenia.
1,615 reviews240 followers
March 7, 2020
This was a weird one. 2 stars for the story.
The audio was great. It gets an extra star for that.
The story was odd and a bit confusing.
I found myself not caring about the plot.
Nor about the characters.
And there was a weird insta-love declaration near the end.
And the end of the world, a giant sea serpent, a mummy, and the fae.
Overall: an unmemorable mess.

My rec? Skip it.
Profile Image for Trio.
2,986 reviews171 followers
September 20, 2018
What an intriguing story! I love the blend of magic and treasure hunting, and the whole thing comes off with an old-timey feeling. So enjoyable.

Also, 5 stars to Max Miller. He's always wonderful, but his Scottish accents were flawless and incredibly creative. Definitely go with the audiobook if you're a fan!
Profile Image for Emanuela ~plastic duck~.
805 reviews115 followers
May 24, 2012
It was a bit more difficult than usual to enter the story because in a fantasy book it always takes me a while to learn the rules of the world created by the author, to memorize the names, items, places, but once I found myself comfortable, I wouldn't want the story to finish.

There are three elements that made this book great:

* books. No one needs to convince me that books are magical items and that they contain much more than what's on the pages. Sometimes I'm so engrossed in a book, I hang onto it with my hands and heart and mind with such fierceness that I think the emotions are transferred into the paper. Borrowing a book makes me always think of the people who held it before me and lending a book of mine is like giving away a piece of me, so this story were book hunters can absorb the life of a book and play such a great role in the balance of the world was incredibly exciting;

* Scotland. I visited Scotland in 2007 and I went to Oban! Scotland is a magical place and it wasn't difficult to picture the places and the atmosphere. I like to read about places I visited. The castle of Colin's quest - I don't think it's the real Urquhart Castle, which is on Loch Ness - with its secret places was like a character that we learned together with Colin;

* Septimus Marx. I can't believe I fell in love with another one of Josh Lanyon's rough, dark and so lovingly human and tender characters. Reading about this man watching the young Colin from afar and guarding over him and having to make the most difficult decision about him was awesome.

Another highly recommended book. I do hope there will be more from this universe.
Profile Image for Teri.
1,775 reviews
March 5, 2016
I'm pretty disappointed honestly and that sucks because I love Lanyon's work and this had just a ton of potential. I felt that maybe there just wasn't enough attention given to the right elements, because this is NOT a romance and the fact that it just pissed me off.
It was a good idea, and could have been really exciting, and there were parts I appreciated about it, but I had no real feelings toward anything or anyone. I wanted to have those heart-pounding moments, but I just never got there.
Did I mention this is not a romance?
It's not...there is sex, but its pretty low-steam, but that's okay, I think it was just the way that "relationship" played out that twisted me up.
Profile Image for Joy.
625 reviews73 followers
January 20, 2013
It always takes me a few chapters to get into the flow of reading fantasy and this book was no exception--the ending more than made up for the slow start---once again Lanyon has given us a great story
Profile Image for Lori.
Author 2 books98 followers
August 12, 2015

I liked the world in which this was set - but I kind of wanted more. I enjoyed everything that was here (though maybe a little too insta-love for my tastes) but I wanted it longer and more complex. I'm greedy like that! No matter, I'm pretty sure I will always love Lanyon's words!
Profile Image for Adam  .
239 reviews22 followers
March 25, 2019
[Buddy Read with Martin]

The majority of Josh Lanyon's books which I've read are slow-burn romances which took the characters forever to finally get together. Hence I was expecting it to be the same for this book but in fact it seems to be the opposite. Love is just around the corner for our MCs but it seems like I was never in that corner to witness it! Given how sparsely the moments the MCs had with each other, I found the rate in which their relationship developed hard to believe.

Despite the lacklustre romance in this book, I really loved the fantasy and mystery concept of the story. It would have made a fabulous series if it was properly developed into a longer story. There seemed to be a lot of potential in the characters, the fantasy world and the mystery plot.

I wished that there was a little more explanation about the fantasy world in this story like the explanation of the Seelie court because I am new to it. There also seemed to be a lot of made up terms which wasn't properly explained when they were introduced.

The story was slow-moving at the start and even though I was already halfway through the book, it felt like the story barely started! I can't help but feel like the author was forced to complete the rest of the story in a rush, because it seemed like a lot of time was taken to inject some characters and plot like but in the end they turned out to be mostly red herrings?

There was also a few issues I had with the logic of the story.

I loved the "sex scenes" between the MCs which were really hot and honestly I wasn't expecting the book to have any given Josh's writing style and the length of the book. Marx and Collin is redolent of the characters Jake and Adrien from the Adrien English series. I really liked the dialogues they shared and wished that there were more of them.

Overall a nice read with a great fantasy and mystery plot, which unfortunately fell short for me at the end.

Four Stars!
Profile Image for Kati.
1,759 reviews65 followers
May 24, 2012
Great premise and a great setting. Josh Lanyon sure knows how to evoke emotions - when Colin entered the underground room and suddenly became scared that someone would lock him in and he would suffocate, it really got my heart racing. And I liked all the backstory for Agro and Swanhild. But!

At the same time, the book felt... rushed. People in this world knew about magic. But what were the Arcane Services and how did they operate? How did Septimus stop the sea monster? Also, Septimus' declaration of love seemed to have come completely out of the blue. And the ending was so abrupt. They just let Irania go? Why did the faery woman help Colin? Did Colin have a magic of his own in the end or not?

So many loose ends, so many questions left unanswered. I was a bit disappointed.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Lil' Grogan.
541 reviews4 followers
May 27, 2012
An interesting change to Lanyon's usual work - the mystery of uncovering a historical artifact in a fantasy world. There were enough touches to make discovering the unique rules interesting. To me much of it read as a historical mystery. But perhaps the amount of work put here took away from the rest of the story.

Despite some interesting secondary characters, this was a very solitary adventure for Colin. In general, I thought the characters took a backseat to the plot itself.

So for all my talk of "interesting", there was nothing particularly good or bad about the story, it was...mild.

Enjoyed the word play and alliteration used à la the Hardy poem.
Profile Image for Leanne.
358 reviews35 followers
August 4, 2013
3.5 stars rounded up for the narration

I want to tie up Max Miller, and force him under torture, (with feathers and sex toys...and only if he protests, of course) to narrate everything on my favourites shelf. I love his voice and the way he uses it. Light and achingly vulnerable..or velvety smooth and sexy when it needs to be. His accents (Scots must be really difficult to pull off), excellent characterisations and completely unforced, relaxed style is brilliant.

Oh yes. The story? Perhaps not as emotionally charged as some of Lanyon's other books but hugely entertaining nonetheless.

Profile Image for JR.
870 reviews29 followers
October 14, 2014
Colin Bliss is a book hunter. Itching to get out of desk work and back into the field, Colin takes a private job to recover a witches grimoire that could spell the end of the world. Magister Septimus Marx is tagging along with Colin, but is he aiding or inhibiting Colin's quest?

This fantasy mystery caught me by surprise. I been plowing through Mr. Lanyon's catalog which has so far been mostly contemporary, with a few set in America of the past. This one sort of felt a little in the steampunk genre. I had a fun time with it. Nice sexy scenes with Colin and Septimus are a bonus to this wonderful story.
Profile Image for Alyosha.
240 reviews29 followers
May 27, 2012
Exciting. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time I spent reading this, at times I even felt like my heart might beat out of my chest.

Fantastic world building, great setting and memorable heroes. I really hope there will be a sequel as I'd love to read more about Septimus and Bliss (who made it on the top ten on my favorite main characters list) and to learn more about the world Lanyon created.
Profile Image for Ekollon.
475 reviews44 followers
October 30, 2018
Okay, so, I read this book about two years ago (a pretty long time ago!) and I have a rule that when I forget to review a book until a while after I read it, I don't rate it. I feel pretty strongly that it isn't fair for me to review some books when they are fresh in my mind and other books after they have faded.

I'm making an exception for this book.

This book and I should have gotten along. I love fantasy and the world building was lots of fun. And the Imperial Arcane Library? This should have been an easy win. I didn't anticipate any problems.

But then everything fell off the rails and I was left steaming. Why? Septimus, that horrible little weasel, . No. Screw that. Colin should have run far, far away and left Septimus in the dust. Septimus doesn't deserve to be a romantic interest.

If I'm still this irked at this book this long after I read it, I'm going to rate it.
Profile Image for Kathleen.
1,387 reviews122 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
December 25, 2019
Dec 2019: I made no notes as to why I DNFd this audiobook back in 2014. Decided to sample the audiobook and it took only seconds to remember why. Terrible narrator. Why didn't I return it? It sat in the cloud for over a year before I started it. 😲 Off the buy the book.
Profile Image for Betryal.
720 reviews3 followers
May 28, 2012
This book is different from the works I'm used to by Josh that I've read, but I was taken back that I truly enjoyed the story. I will admit to having put it down once by no fault of my own and when I picked it up to resume reading it I was darn glad I had. There's the supernatural, other worldly beings if you wish to call them that and a whole lot of action and ignited suspense all wrapped up in to one unforgettable read.
Profile Image for Claudia.
2,663 reviews83 followers
March 6, 2021
2,5 stars
I normally really enjoy Josh Lanyons books and I was so looking forward to a new steampunk book.
But this one just didn't do it for me .....no real steampunk world building, the romance was practically non-existent and I just didn't understand how there could be I love yous
The mystery was quite good but somehow not prominent enough ...
So unfortunately this book was not for me
Profile Image for Shelba.
2,007 reviews45 followers
November 16, 2018
I wasn't sure I would enjoy this as much as Josh Lanyon's other works. None of the others I've read dealt with magic, so I was a bit wary. As per usual, my worries were for naught, as Josh Lanyon delivered as she always does. I would have actually been interested in seeing this as a series.
Profile Image for Elyxyz Elyxyz.
Author 5 books42 followers
November 22, 2015
Fino a ieri credevo che Josh Lanyon fosse un uomo e non avevo mai letto nulla di suo, perché il genere mistero/giallo non è esattamente nella mia top ten.
Oggi ho scoperto che mi sbagliavo su entrambi i fronti, perché questa donna è riuscita a conquistarmi, quindi andrò presto a razziare altre sue storie, dopo questo racconto autoconclusivo.

‘Tordo a sera’ è un mix di fantascienza, fantasy e mistero, ambientato in un mondo parallelo al nostro, che mi ha dato una forte impressione steampunk (per esempio, ci sono aerei e automobili attuali, ma niente cellulari e pc), dove ritroviamo la Gran Bretagna, ma a volte i luoghi hanno nomi diversi dai nostri.

Colin Bliss è un Librivenator, cioè un Cercatore di libri magici, arrivato in Inghilterra dall’America per un progetto di scambio formativo della durata di un anno.
Nella nuova sede londinese, tuttavia, si guarda con sufficienza e alterigia ai rozzi ‘coloniali’ come Colin, e lui capisce ben presto che è stato ridotto al ruolo di scribacchino, e che quindi questo anno è sprecato rispetto all’affinare le sue capacità magiche di Cercatore.
In aggiunta a questo, Colin impara troppo tardi che non è mai saggio diventare l’amante occasionale del proprio Capo e, quando le cose in ufficio diventano insopportabili, non sa più che fare.

Inaspettatamente, i responsabili di un importante museo privato lo ingaggiano per ritrovare un antico grimorio – un libro magico molto potente – che sembra sia scomparso oltre cinquecento anni prima, o che forse non è proprio mai esistito.
Ci sono un sacco di leggende riguardo al grimorio e ai personaggi ad esso legati, ma sono appunto solo racconti tramandati e frammentari, e a Colin sembra una missione folle e impossibile da realizzare.
Eppure ci sono tre ragioni che lo spingono ad accettare: la sua curiosità accademica è stata fortemente solleticata; un cachet astronomico – a prescindere dal risultato – è un’ottima lusinga; e fuggire dal suo ufficio e dall’ex amante non può che fargli bene.

Ovviamente le cose non sono facili e la ricerca procede a tentoni, mentre Colin si dirige verso isole sperdute della Scozia, che sembrano essere la meta designata del grimorio, fra antichi castelli in rovina, mausolei e torri maledette, giardini incolti e minacce varie.
Lungo il viaggio, Colin incrocerà fate, goblin, mostri marini e altre creature fantastiche, oltre che umani con vari poteri: alcuni di loro lo aiuteranno, altri lo ostacoleranno nella sua missione.
Septimus Marx è un collega senior di Colin e possiede molti poteri e talenti, nel suo ingrato compito di Vox Pessimires, cioè Distruttore di testi magici troppo pericolosi.
Marx cerca in ogni modo di dissuadere Colin, arrivando persino a sedurlo per distrarlo dall’incarico, ma il Cercatore persevera testardamente per la sua strada fino a quando, purtroppo, non si accorge di aver varcato un limite proibito e che, forse, la sua missione potrebbe costargli troppo cara…

Devo dire che la storia mi ha catturato dalla prima all’ultima riga; anche se, va detto, all’inizio tutti quei nomi e ruoli strani possono creare un po’ di confusione.
Man mano che la trama prosegue, sono rimasta invischiata nella ricerca con Colin, vinta dalla curiosità di capire il mistero che c’è dietro. Ho sussultato con lui ad ogni descrizione spettrale, ad ogni rumore sinistro e ad ogni ombra sospetta: la tensione non cala mai.
Ho amato questo protagonista ironico e scanzonato, narratore in prima persona, onesto e disincantato.
Benché sia presente la parte romance, con alcune performance dolci e non troppo esplicite, questo rimane soprattutto un racconto d’avventura.
Ad essere pignola, avrei gradito un glossario allegato con i termini più astrusi o con le trasposizioni dal Gaelico, perché non tutto viene tradotto nel testo.

Infine, un appunto alla traduzione italiana: la storia è resa in modo coinvolgente, ma suggerisco caldamente una revisione del libro, perché sono presenti tantissimi refusi ortografici e di punteggiatura.
Il mio parere rimane ugualmente molto positivo, e ne consiglio la lettura, perché non mi sembra giusto penalizzare la storia in sé.
Profile Image for Lacey.
210 reviews15 followers
May 24, 2012
3.5 stars

I'm not going to go through the plot because I think a lot of other reviews have already done that. Instead, I'll tell you that I loved the idea of a world similar to our own but where magic exists. I loved the plot of this story, and the adventure grabbed me from the very beginning. I was immediately swept away in the mysteries that Colin faced and the fast-paced action of the story.

However, there were a lot of loose ends and confusing ideas that left me really disappointed after finishing the story:

Another non-spoilerish issue I had was with the relationship of the MCs. Because of Colin's active dislike of Septimus in the first half, I never really warmed up to the idea of them together, especially when it happened so suddenly. Also, they're never really together outside of a couple of sex scenes so the declarations of love towards the end come out of left field.

I know the idea that there may be a sequel has been spread, but that honestly doesn't solve most of the things that I had problems with. The issues of the fairy lady and the ending and the building of their romantic relationship should have been included in this story; otherwise, it doesn't feel complete. On the other hand, I could definitely see a future story where we learn more about Colin's powers and hopefully more about Septimus.

I was absolutely loving this until about the last 1/4 of the story. It's honestly a shame that there seemed to be so many loose ends because this could have easily been a 5 star read for me.
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