Sorcerers, witches, politics, and prejudice in Regency England: it’s all here in this rollicking fantasy. (Take one look at that cover and you know this book is going to be cool.) Zacharias Wythe, who is of African descent, becomes Sorcerer to the Crown, attaining the highest position in England’s Society of Unnatural Philosophers. Wythe has a big challenge ahead of him: not only are the magicians in England losing power because the level of magic in the atmosphere is decreasing, but many of them are opposed to Wythe because of the color of his skin. Haunted by the ghost of his guardian and forced to throw in his lot with a clever witch named Prunella, strait-laced Wythe quickly finds himself out of his comfort zone, having to deal with the threats and dangers that surround him. Throw in some conniving politicans, fairies, and dragons, and the plot just rolls along.
Other reviewers have compared this book to the works of Georgette Heyer, Jane Austen, or Susanna Clarke. I can definitely see the parallels, especially in Cho’s use of Regency language, but Sorcerer to the Crown is truly in a league of its own: a wonderful mixture of fantasy, Regency romance, and comedy of manners. It’s witty, clever and highly entertaining.