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Fated
Cover of Fated
Fated
Alex Verus Series, Book 1
Enter a "gorgeously realized world"* and meet a mage destined for greatness in the first novel in the national bestselling Alex Verus series.
Alex is part of a world hidden in plain sight, running a magic shop in London that caters to clientele who can do much more than pull rabbits out of hats. And while Alex's own powers aren't as showy as some mages, he does have the advantage of foreseeing the possible future—allowing him to pull off operations that have a million to one chance of success.

But when Alex is approached by multiple factions seeking his skills to crack open a relic from a long-ago mage war, he knows that whatever's inside must be beyond powerful. And thanks to his abilities, Alex can predict that by taking the job, his odds of survival are about to go from slim to none....
Enter a "gorgeously realized world"* and meet a mage destined for greatness in the first novel in the national bestselling Alex Verus series.
Alex is part of a world hidden in plain sight, running a magic shop in London that caters to clientele who can do much more than pull rabbits out of hats. And while Alex's own powers aren't as showy as some mages, he does have the advantage of foreseeing the possible future—allowing him to pull off operations that have a million to one chance of success.

But when Alex is approached by multiple factions seeking his skills to crack open a relic from a long-ago mage war, he knows that whatever's inside must be beyond powerful. And thanks to his abilities, Alex can predict that by taking the job, his odds of survival are about to go from slim to none....
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Excerpts-
  • From the book Chapter 1

    It was a slow day, so I was reading a book at my desk and seeing into the future.

    There were only two customers in the shop. One was a student with scraggly hair and a nervous way of glancing over his shoulder. He was standing by the herb and powder rack and had decided what to buy ten minutes ago but was still working up the nerve to ask me about it. The other customer was a kid wearing a Linkin Park T–shirt who'd picked out a crystal ball but wasn't going to bring it to the counter until the other guy had left.

    The kid had come on a bicycle, and in fifteen minutes a traffic warden was going to come by and ticket him for locking his bike to the railings. After that I was going to get a call I didn't want to be disturbed for, so I set my paperback down on my desk and looked at the student. "Anything I can help you with?"

    He started and came over, glancing back at the kid and dropping his voice slightly. "Um, hey. Do you—"

    "No. I don't sell spellbooks."

    "Not even—?"

    "No."

    "Is there, um, any way I could check?"

    "The spell you're thinking of isn't going to do any harm. Just try it and then go talk to the girl and see what happens."

    The student stared at me. "You knew that just from these?"

    I hadn't even been paying attention to the herbs in his hand, but that was as good an explanation as any. "Want a bag?"

    He put verbena, myrrh, and incense into the bag I gave him and paid for it while still giving me an awestruck look, then left. As soon as the door swung shut, the other kid came over and asked me the price for the second–biggest crystal ball, trying to sound casual. I didn't bother checking to see what he was going to use it for—about the only way you can hurt yourself with a crystal ball is by hitting yourself over the head with it, which is more than I can say for some of the things I sell. Once the kid had let himself out, hefting his paper bag, I got up, walked over, and flipped the sign on the door from OPEN to CLOSED. Through the window, I saw the kid unlock his bike and ride off. About thirty seconds later a traffic warden walked by.

    My shop's in a district in the north centre of London called Camden Town. There's a spot where the canal, three bridges, and two railway lines all meet and tangle together in a kind of urban reef knot, and my street is right in the middle. The bridges and the canal do a good job of fencing the area in, making it into a kind of oasis in the middle of the city. Apart from the trains, it's surprisingly quiet. I like to go up onto the roof sometimes and look around over the canal and the funny–shaped rooftops. Sometimes in the evenings and early mornings, when the traffic's muted and the light's faded, it feels almost like a gateway to another world.

    The sign above my door says Arcana Emporium. Underneath is a smaller sign with some of the things I sell—implements, reagents, focus items, that sort of thing. You'd think it would be easier to just say magic shop, but I got sick of the endless stream of people asking for breakaway hoops and marked cards. Finally I worked out a deal with a stage magic store a half a mile away, and now I keep a box of their business cards on the counter to hand out to anyone who comes in asking for the latest book by David Blaine. The kids go away happy, and I get some peace and quiet.

    My name's Alex Verus. It's not the name I was born with, but that's another story. I'm a mage; a diviner. Some people call mages like me oracles, or seers, or probability mages if they want to be really wordy, and that's fine too, just as long as they don't call me a "fortune–teller."...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from January 9, 2012
    Jacka’s extremely promising urban fantasy series starter introduces cheeky British diviner Alex Verus, who’s caught in the middle of a conflict between Light and Dark mages over an ancient magical weapon. Alex can not only see all possible futures but can often choose which ones to make real, so both sides want to use him as a tool. Alex, alienated from other mages because he has developed empathy for the beings around him, refuses to take sides. To save himself and his dependents—Luna, a lonely, cursed young woman, and Starbreeze, an ancient air elemental who’s “dumb as a sack of rocks”—he’s forced to think and move nimbly through London and its associated magical realms. Jacka deftly invents the rules of magic as he goes along, creating an emotionally satisfying story arc and a protagonist who will keep readers coming back. Agent: Sophie Hicks, Ed Victor Literary Agency.

  • Library Journal

    February 15, 2012

    As the proprietor of a magic and novelty shop in London, Alex Verus spends his days catering to show and hobby magicians as well as a group of secret mages whose powers come from a source deeper than the mastery of tricks. Alex is a diviner, able to sense the future, and his talent has kept him away from both the Council--the official organization of mages of the "light"--and the mages who follow the path of darkness and personal power. But when a magical artifact turns up in a London museum, Alex finds his talents eagerly sought by both sides. VERDICT Jacka's first novel presages an urban fantasy that relies less on erotic scenarios and more on classic action and problem solving. For fans of Jim Butcher's "Dresden Files," Tanya Huff's "Blood" series, and Seanan McGuire's "October Daye" series.

    Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    February 15, 2012
    In a sort of alternate Englandor perhaps it's the actual England, with the normally hidden parts revealedAlex Verus is a magic-shop proprietor whose natural ability as a diviner has suddenly brought him to the attention of some seriously powerful people. A mysterious artifact from an ancient war between White and Dark mages has come to light, and apparently Alex is in a unique position to solve its mysteries. This first of a projected series of Verus novels is perhaps a little wordy; first-person narrator Alex sounds like one of those guys who likes to hear himself talk, but, to be fair, there is a lot of necessary exposition and scene-setting at the beginning of the tale. The story itself is well plotted and nicely quirky (one character in the book is an enormous spider; another is a rather dim-witted creature made, apparently, out of air) with a plucky hero, some appropriately dark villains, and plenty of fantastic goings-on. Should have a lot of appeal to fantasy fans, especially those who gravitate toward magic-themed stories.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2012, American Library Association.)

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Fated
Fated
Alex Verus Series, Book 1
Benedict Jacka
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