THE RESURRECTIONIST OF CALIGO By Wendy Trimboli and Alicia Zaloga
Angry Robot Books, e/b, £6.99
Reviewed by Matthew Johns
In Caligo, the royal family have a divine right to rule as they are blessed with magical powers, said to come from an ancestor’s marriage to a magical creature. Part of the Caligo royal family, Princess Sibylla has inherited the power to glow with a type of bioluminescence, to manifest ink from her fingertips, which she can manipulate with her mind as skilfully as any artist can, as well as to create three-dimensional constructs. She can also emit a whistle-click, which can stun, injure or even burst the ear drums of any target. Refusing to marry her cousin Edgar, she is banished far away by the queen to Helmscliff, her only friend and confidant is her warden protector Captain Harrod Starkley.
Her childhood friend Roger Weathersby, who disappeared under a cloud of controversy and misunderstandings still lives in Caligo, barely earning a living obtaining cadavers for medical students, trying to learn to be a physician. Princess Sibylla (or Sibet as he called her) is still bitter about the way in which he vanishes, believing him to have betrayed her, whereas he was forced out by the machinations of the queen. Framed as a serial killer by parties unknown, Princess Sibet comes grudgingly to his rescue, and they each race to find the real killer.
This is a great read – I enjoyed the world that the authors created, where magic is real and science is widely distrusted, generally forbidden and its practitioners persecuted. The lead characters are written with plenty of flaws making them seem more real – Roger is unwilling to admit he was wrong or apologise, Sibet is stubborn and unwilling to forgive him for leaving her, but this doesn’t detract from the storyline. Filled with action, some humour, diplomacy and magic, what’s not to like?!