Taken. Book review

TAKEN by Benedict Jacka

Orbit Books, p/b, £7.99

Reviewed by Matthew Johns

Jacka’s third novel featuring mage Alex Verus, sometime private investigator and Camden’s finest purveyor of magical goods is superb. Anyone having read the Dresden Files (or even Harry Potter) previously will be familiar with a magical world hidden in plain sight in the normal world.

Verus is a diviner – he doesn’t wander around with a set of divining rods seeking water.  Instead he is able to see into the future to some extent and see what happens if various actions are taken. Not the most powerful of mages, but he is a very capable martial artist, and has built up a reputation (and some enemies) along the way.

Set in London, Alex finds himself investigating disappearing apprentices at the White Stone mage tournament. Assisted by his own apprentice Luna, he must protect her and the other apprentices while dodging the murderous attentions of the dark mage Onyx, trying to discover the secrets of the tournament venue, Fountain Reach, and fighting off various assassination attempts.

Jacka draws in the reader from the get go, with exciting action, witty, snappy dialogue and a compelling storyline. Top marks must go to Jacka for including a motorway service station on the M4 as a set for one of the key action pieces of the novel!

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