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In a new series on Arcane America, ever since the Sundering, magic has been revived and a mysterious sea barrier seals the continent off from Europe. The herbalist Meriwether Lewis has just arrived in St. Lois when a dragon, breathing flames, descends on the city. By chance, Lewis meets the famous wizard Benjamin Franklin during the attack, and, later, Franklin offers Lewis a commission to explore the western reaches of America for a new route to Europe. Lewis and his old friend from military service, William Clark, outfit an expedition of translators, hunters, and frontiersman and set out in search of the Pacific. Always prone to fits of depression and visions, Lewis learns that his dreams of dragons are not just imaginary. He is instructed in his new gifts by Sacagawea as the expedition grows ever closer to the awakened dark magic of America.

Ultimately, the novel does not live up to the promise of its intriguing premise—rather than a complicated mixture of European and indigenous American myths and culture, magic is an excuse for set-pieces of zombies, velociraptors, and dragons. Hunches about magic come to pass nearly always exactly as predicted, which also draws tension out of the plot. The authors’ descriptions can be apt but recycled adjectives (“decaying” wood and “sloughing” flesh), often within only a page or two, speak to a lack of imagination or effort on their part. And the rushed final battle only occurs because Lewis has a crush on Sacagawea and feels the need to be a white knight for her. Overall, an expedition to be avoided.

Reviewed By:

Author Kevin J. Anderson • Sarah A. Hoyt
Star Count /5
Format Hard
Page Count 272 pages
Publisher Baen
Publish Date 2018-May-08
ISBN 9781481483230
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue September 2018
Category Science Fiction & Fantasy


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