What happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas. But what happens after you step through a portal to another world, well…
For stage magician Quinn Bradley, he thought his time in Alissia was over. He’d done his job for the mysterious company CASE Global Enterprises, and now his name is finally on the marquee of one of the biggest Vegas casinos. And yet, for all the accolades, he definitely feels something is missing. He can create the most amazing illusions on Earth, but he’s also tasted true power. Real magic.
He misses it. Luckily–or not–CASE Global is not done with him, and they want him to go back. The first time, he was tasked with finding a missing researcher. Now, though, he has another task: Help take Richard Holt down.
It’s impossible to be in Vegas and not be a gambler. And while Quinn might not like his odds–a wyvern nearly ate him the last time he was in Alissia–if he plays his cards right, he might be able to aid his friends.
He also might learn how to use real magic himself.
A magical mashup of hard science and fantasy.
I called Dan Koboldt’s debut novel, The Rogue Retrieval, “a merry blend of science and sorcery that's reminiscent of Christopher Stasheff’s marvelous The Warlock in Spite of Himself”. Well, Koboldt’s done it again.
In The Island Deception, Koboldt ups the ante as Vegas stage magician and reluctant hero Quinn Bradley returns to Alissia. He’s being sent back by the shadowy CASE Global Enterprises, ostensibly to help take down Richard Holt, the rogue researcher who has gotten himself elected as Valterian Prime and is trying to consolidate all Alissia under his rule. Although Quinn isn’t sure of his employer’s motives, he is sure he wants to go back. Because Quinn has his own agenda—to locate the community of magicians known as The Enclave and learn to use magic. Real magic.
Of course there’s also the attraction of the beautiful (and magically powerful) Jilliane, who hasn’t yet decided if Quinn can be trusted. And there are a host of others whose schemes involve Quinn in some fashion. In fact, the only person Quinn can really trust is… Quinn.
The action is fast and furious, the pacing is excellently done, and Koboldt’s world-building is excellent. The characters are nicely fleshed out, and if their motivations aren’t always clear, well that’s just part of the magician’s SOP—always misdirect. Oh, and by the way. There are pirates! And I always give extra points for pirates.
My one complaint—and this is more on me than on the book—is that due to an extended lag time between reads, I didn’t remember some of the plot points from Rogue Retrieval, and so references to what had gone before left me going “huh?” a couple of times. It had been my plan to re-read book one before diving into The Island Deception, but time and excitement to read the new one tossed this plan right out the window.
But overall, this book is everything I’m looking for in a story—fast paced, smart, fun, characters I can root for, and with a dash of humor. I’m eagerly awaiting the third installment. Five Swords Up for this one!