Mack raises the stakes of the standard “chosen one” fantasy adventure by placing his unlikely hero in the heart of Nazi-occupied Europe in this opening to his action-packed Dark Arts series. He counters the epic scope and near-cinematic showdowns with a cast of finely wrought, well-defined characters and an intricate, detailed system of magic, ensuring that this story is emotionally and intellectually engaging, as well as viscerally satisfying. Balancing a magical quest with the very real-world horrors of the Second World War is not easy, but Mack generally manages well, a feat that bodes well for the series to come.

With war erupting across Europe, Cade Martin and his family prepare to flee Oxford to the United States. But when Nazi sorcerers kill his family in an attempt to assassinate him, Cade knows he cannot leave until he has vengeance. Rescued by The Midnight Front, the Allies’ magickal warfare program, Cade trains to become a sorcerer in his own right, prepared to seek his family’s killers wherever they may be hiding. Cade may have paid a terrible price for his powers, but the further he travels across war-ravaged Europe, the more he realizes the real cost of his revenge. (TOR, Feb., 464 pp., $27.99)
Reviewed by: 
Bridget Keown