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by Benedict Jacka
Ace, $7.99, 293pp
Publication Date: September 2, 2014
In this, the aptly named fifth book in the series that kicked off with Fated, followed by Cursed, Taken, and Chosen, a great many things are being kept secret and out of sight: shadow realms, motives, and alter-egos to name just a few.

Anne, a young and extremely powerful life mage, has quit the apprentice program that afforded her an important measure of protection, and has made it clear to everyone that she wants to be left alone. However, when she is kidnapped, Alex Verus is sent, terrier-like, into dark and dangerous places to find where she is hidden.  Life mages are natural healers, but with the “right” sort of training they can deal swift and violent or slow and subtle death, or they can be drained of their energy to power-up longevity spells. Magicians of the White Council tend to regard Anne as a potential asset; Dark Mages, on the other hand, see her as a tool.

In the world of magic users, Alex Verus has the extremely rare ability of divination, so theoretically, it should be relatively easy to track Anne by simply viewing the possible branching futures until he finds the one in which he finds - and rescues - Anne, but it’s not that simple. Divination only works over short distances of time when people who exercise free will are involved. The trouble is, there’s no shortage of suspects. Anne’s former master, the death mage Sagash, might have decided he wants her to fight more duels for his entertainment, or Anne’s nemesis Crystal might be settling a grudge; Anne also has history with Jagadev, the rakshasa crime lord. Worst of all, Alex has a horrible premonition that his own former master, Richard, may be a player in this game of “Button, Button, Who’s Got the Button?” Because he, too, fought free of a Dark Master, Alex understands Anne better than she realizes. In the darkest of all hidden places, when every avenue of help and hope of rescue is cut off and the hard choices have to be made, that shadow-knowledge will make all the difference. ~~ Chris Paige

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