In an original world reminiscent of Edwardian England in the shadow of a World War, cabals of noble families use their unique magical gifts to control the fates of nations, while one young man seeks only to live a life of his own. Magic marked Miles Singer for suffering the day he was born, doomed either to be enslaved to his family's interest or to be committed to a witches' asylum. He went to war to escape his destiny and came home a different man, but he couldn't leave his past behind. The war between Aeland and Laneer leaves men changed, strangers to their friends and family, but even after faking his own death and reinventing himself as a doctor at a cash-strapped veterans' hospital, Miles can't hide what he truly is. When a fatally poisoned patient exposes Miles' healing gift and his witchmark, he must put his anonymity and freedom at risk to investigate his patient's murder. To find the truth he'll need to rely on the family he despises, and on the kindness of the most gorgeous man he's ever seen.
The world-building is deep and perfectly paced. This is a world both familiar and strange, and that freshness made it a source of constant fascination. Plus, the characters are fantastic. As someone who loves healer characters, and has included them in numerous of my own books, that angle particularly appealed to me. This book incorporates inclusiveness in a gentle, natural way, and the slowly-building romance between the two male leads feels genuine. No insta-love here. The issue of consent and power in the relationship is especially well-handled.
I'm glad this is the first book in the series. This a world with people I would love to spend more time with.
I did not know it was categorized under LGBT when I started reading it, so the relationship between Miles and Tristan was a surprise.
There was also very little humour or wit - which I felt was lacking.
Nevertheless, I must admit this is a gripping tale and I look forward to the next installment.
One night, when he is outside for a smoke break, a man - Sir Tristan Hunter - comes up to him carrying a dying man. Nick Elliot is dying and claiming that he has been poisoned. To ease his mind, Miles promises to find his murderer and, in return, Nick gives Miles all of his magic when he dies. Tristan sees the secrets that Miles is hiding about his magic and begins by threatening him to expose it if Miles doesn't keep his promise to Nick. Tristan has quite a few secrets of his own and a task to complete in the eight days he has remaining before he must return home.
Investigating exposes Miles to the family he ran away from to become a doctor and dumps him right in the middle of the politics of the most powerful Mages in Aeland including his father and his sister Grace. Storm-Singers are the powerful mages who control the weather that keeps Aeland a perfect place to live. Only Storm-singer magic is valued. Miles with his healing ability was slated to be nothing more than a Secondary and act as a magical battery for his powerful sister.
I loved the world building in this story. I also loved the relationship that grew between Tristan and Miles. The characters were well-rounded and interesting people with all sorts of problems that they had to solve. The book was fast-paced and filled with mystery and intrigue.