Book Review: “A Land Without Magic” by Stephen Elboz

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A Land Without Magic
by Stephen Elboz

Kit Stixby, previously introduced in A Handful of Magic, learns that his arch-enemy Stafford Sparks –– the most dangerous criminal in Britain –– has escaped from prison. For his own protection, Kit is pulled out of school at Eton Magical Academy and packed off on an overseas airship trip with his best friend, Prince Henry.

Lost? No wonder. This is a version of history you didn’’t read about in school. In this alternative-Victorian England, magic is widely practiced and publicly accepted. The same isn’’t true for the Eastern European kingdom of Callalabasa, where Prince Henry and his retinue are going to attend a coronation. Unfortunately, Kit is a hot-headed young wizard who is neither willing nor particularly apt to hide his magical powers, even in a land where wizards are considered evil and dangerous.

It turns out that the real danger comes from the police force dedicated to stamping out magic. Aided by none other than Stafford Sparks, plus a frighteningly wicked vampire named Count Drohlomski, these hoodlums-with-badges are planning to set off a terrible war. Hundreds of witches, wizards, and plain citizens stand to be killed, along with a young and unsuspecting king. And who is there to stop it except, once again, a poorly groomed, short-tempered, hasty boy wizard with a flying carpet and a handful of magic?

For the next book in this series, see A Wild Kind of Magic.