Brother’s Ruin bursts with the promise of an undercover lady spy who possesses secret powers and a talent for getting herself into madcap magi-political scrapes. The only sting is that this novella only has room for her origin story, and feels a bit like the pilot episode for a show that isn’t streaming yet.
In the Victorian London of Emma Newman’s novella, the Royal Society of Esoteric Arts quickly snaps up every young person who shows a talent for magic and inducts them into a strict apprenticeship, separating them from their former lives. To soften the blow, a mage’s family is given payment—but the amount offered by the Royal Society is tied directly to the mage’s talent. Only those with great power can expect to command enough to truly change their families’ fortunes.