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Friday, July 26, 2013

Fiery Edge of Steel by Jill Archer

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Terrance McArthur

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of this post.

In Jill Archer’s Fiery Edge of Steel, Armageddon was 2,000 years ago, and Heaven lost. Demon/human-descended Maegesters keep the demon warlords in line and act as judges with waning magic. The women of their lines use waxing magic to heal and make things grow. Noon Onyx, the first woman trained as a Maegester, was born with waning magic in a birth mix-up, and she and her lover Ari are about to go on their first mission: determine if the demon Lord of the Shallows killed fifteen fishermen from the village, and punish the guilty. First, Noon and Ari must choose their Guardian Angels.

Starting with the execution of a demon masquerading as a human, yet the woman he deceived still loves him, there is a theme of the masks we wear and the reality behind appearances. Noon had hidden her waning magic for years, the two Angels who travel with them to the Shallows (a slacker and a perky Scripture-quoter) conceal their own secrets, and they face demons that can disguise themselves. Who knows what will be uncovered when Truth is revealed?

Image source: Penguin

This follow-up to Dark Light of Day (reading it first would explain a lot of “Huh?” moments) is thickly layered. The beginning in the city and universities has a Hogwarts/Harry Potter flavor mixed with The Paper Chase, while the journey to the Shallows evokes elements of The Heart of Darkness and/or Apocalypse Now, The African Queen, and a touch of Jason and the Argonauts. The hunt for the answer to the mystery of the missing villagers is reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes, The Exorcist, and (not exactly, but sort-of) The Crying Game. Somewhere along the way, you might toss in The Wizard of Oz.

The characters casually swear and pray in the name of Luck, referring to Lucifer, using it as we would say “gosh” or “jeez.” It is a strange inversion, but Archer pulls it off with a smooth confidence.

Fiery Edge of Steel is a journey into unfamiliar territory, marked by danger, betrayal, and surprises. Enter carefully, watching for signposts along the way. At your destination, you will see that the markers you ignored pointed the way to the answers you sought.

To enter to win a copy of Fiery Edge of Steel, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Steel”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 3, 2013. U.S. residents only.

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a California-born, Valley-raised librarian/entertainer/writer. He lives in Sanger, four blocks from the library, with his wife, his daughter, and a spinster cat.


  1. Thank you for sending me this link -- and for the review and giveaway!

  2. We have a winner thanks
    Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher