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Remember, remember the fifth of November…—Guy Fawkes chant


On Tuesday my neighbors in our little village gathered on the beach to celebrate Guy Fawkes day and Bonfire Night. For my American readers, this is basically like the Fourth of July, except it’s usually really cold. And we have a big fire. And instead of watermelon and beer, we have hot soup and whisky. And instead of celebrating our independence from the King of England, we celebrate um… not blowing up the King of England. And we burn a Catholic (well, in effigy, anyway, although I think this year’s Guy was orange, with a yellow wig and teeny hands…)

So actually, it’s absolutely nothing like the Fourth of July in America. But there ARE fireworks, and little kids DO run around with sparklers, and people clap and “Ooooh!” at their favorite rockets, and it IS a hella lot of fun!

BUT…that doesn’t help me. I’m supposed to be churning out thousands of words per day for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). And it’s going well, only… Only I promised several reviews, and I’ve already done the fun part of reading some wonderful books.

  1. Behind the Fire Wall by Anton Eine
  2. The White Hornet by Celine Jeanjean
  3. Loving Vengeance by Georgia Rose

All of these books are parts of series, and all are spectacular. So rather than hold up reviews, I am asking all their wonderful authors: will you forgive me if I post drastically shortened reviews of your gorgeous books over the next few days?

(If not, I’m guessing some of next year’s Guys will look suspiciously like a short, pudgy senior lady writer from a little Scottish island…)

The first review is below, and the others will be in following posts. 

Behind the Fire Wall (Programagic Cycle Book 1) by Anton Eine

When the Pentagonal Citadel’s Fire Wall is breached as a result of a robbery, giving the perpetrators access to the most dangerous artifacts stored in the Vault, Magister Sajar Randhar finds himself in hot water.

His security clearance is pulled and he’s placed under house arrest for the entire duration of the investigation. But who could have hacked the most impregnable security system in the entire Murican Empire? How did they manage it in the first place? And why remove Sajar from the investigation instead of having him cooperate with the authorities?

The veteran mage is left with no other choice but to take the investigation into his own hands. The case is incredibly complex, but with his great experience and top-notch skills as a magic security specialist, there’s no better man for the job.

About Programagic Cycle:

Welcome to the world of wonders, where magic and technology are one. This is where
sorcerers code spells and install them into items and artifacts to imbue them with specific properties.

Magister Sajar Randhar is a seasoned expert in the field of magic security, and one of the best codemages in the Murican Empire. Yet, his work and his passion for state-of-the-art innovations in magic science have been known to lead him into trouble. And sometimes that means having to conduct his own investigations to untangle the most intricate cases.

But there’s more to it than danger, chases, or shootouts. Sometimes the solution is far more complex, demanding him to roll up his sleeves and write the code for a particularly sophisticated spell to solve a crime, prevent a potential catastrophe, or save his own life.

My Review: 5 stars out of 5

If you’re reading this, I’m either dead or behind bars.”

Author Anton Eine hooked me with that great first line. Then he set that hook and reeled me in. His bait? A tiny little taste, a prequel to his upcoming Programagic Cycle series, that introduces us to a disturbingly familiar magic world.

You come to some support center and say your crystal ball doesn’t work. The mage at the counter examines your magical masterpiece, only to find all the code written in D-flat, or something even more obscure.

At least, it’s familiar to any of us who have wandered the aisles of Fry’s or Best Buy, tried to set up our own router, or attempted to understand anything a twelve-year-old child tells us. Or to anyone like me with a basement full of obsolete electronic relics of bygone days, and completely useless knowledge of forgotten programming languages like Basic. (VCR/Walkman/DOS anyone?)

Behind the Fire Wall is a beautifully deceptive little story, one that uses the technology rules we accept but for the most part don’t understand any more than if they were in truth magic. It’s as if the Apple Store had a Genius Bar in Diagon Alley. I love the dry background humor of the created world as much as the locked-room mystery Magister Sajar Randhar is attempting to solve.

I reviewed Behind the Fire Wall for Rosie’s Book Review Team

Along the way, we meet a handful of surprisingly three-dimensional characters such as Spirit, the experimental and somehow self-aware hologram who owns the final, unexpected twist to the tale.

As with any prequel, this little story has one job—to set in motion the events that will propel the series forward, and most importantly, compel readers to look forward to that tale. Job well done.