Each decade, only the six most uniquely talented magicians are selected to be considered for initiation to the Alexandrian Society…
We’re thrilled to share audio clips and excerpts from Olivie Blake’s The Atlas Six—the newly revised and edited edition publishes March 1st with Tor Books and Macmillan Audio. Today we’re introducing Callum, voiced by Steve West in the audiobook narration. Check back all this week for additional content!
The Alexandrian Society, caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity, are the foremost secret society of magical academicians in the world. Those who earn a place among the Alexandrians will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams, and each decade, only the six most uniquely talented magicians are selected to be considered for initiation.
Enter the latest round of six: Libby Rhodes and Nico de Varona, unwilling halves of an unfathomable whole, who exert uncanny control over every element of physicality. Reina Mori, a naturalist, who can intuit the language of life itself. Parisa Kamali, a telepath who can traverse the depths of the subconscious, navigating worlds inside the human mind. Callum Nova, an empath easily mistaken for a manipulative illusionist, who can influence the intimate workings of a person’s inner self. Finally, there is Tristan Caine, who can see through illusions to a new structure of reality—an ability so rare that neither he nor his peers can fully grasp its implications.
When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they will have one year to qualify for initiation, during which time they will be permitted preliminary access to the Society’s archives and judged based on their contributions to various subjects of impossibility: time and space, luck and thought, life and death. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. The six potential initiates will fight to survive the next year of their lives, and if they can prove themselves to be the best among their rivals, most of them will.
Most of them.
Callum had a distinctly rare specialty as a so-called manipulist, and rarer still was his talent—far exceeding the common capacity of any witch who could cast at a basic level. He was smart to begin with, which meant convincing people to do precisely as he wanted had to be considerably challenging before he really broke a sweat. He was also eternally in search of entertainment, and therefore the man at the door had to say very little for Callum to be convinced.
“Caretaker,” Callum read aloud, scrutinizing the card with his feet propped up on his desk. He’d come in four hours late to work and neither the managing partner (his sister) nor the owner (his father) had anything to say about the meeting he’d missed. He would make up for it that afternoon, when he would sit down for two minutes (could be done in ninety seconds, but he’d stay long enough to finish the espresso) with the client the Novas needed in order to secure a full portfolio of high-ranking illusionists for London Fashion Week. “I hope it’s something interesting you care for, Atlas Blakely.”
“It is,” said Atlas, rising to his feet. “Shall I presume to see you, then?”
“Presumptions are dangerous,” Callum said, feeling out the edges of Atlas’s interests. They were blurred and rough, not easily infected. He guessed that Atlas Blakely, whoever he was, had been warned about Callum’s particular skills, which meant he must have dug deep to even discover its true nature. Anyone willing to do the dirty work was worth a few minutes of time, in Callum’s view. “Who else is involved?”
A good number, Callum thought. Exclusive enough, but statistically speaking he could bring himself to like one in five people.
“Who’s the most interesting?”
“Interesting is subjective,” Atlas said.
“So, me, then,” Callum guessed.
Atlas gave a humorless smile. “You’re not uninteresting, Mr. Nova, though I suspect this will be the first time you encounter a roomful of people as rare as yourself.”
“Intriguing,” Callum said, removing his feet from the desk to lean forward. “Still, I’d like to know more about them.”
Atlas arched a brow. “You have no interest in knowing about the opportunity itself, Mr. Nova?”
“If I want it, it’s mine,” Callum said, shrugging. “I can always wait and make that decision later. More interesting than the game is always the players, you know. Well, I suppose more accurately,” he amended, “the game is different depending on the players.”
Excerpted from The Atlas Six, © copyright 2202 by Olivie Blake