How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth? – Sherlock Holmes, “The Sign of the Four”
Before August Brandon became an agent with the Canadian Supernatural Investigation Team, he was a wizard-in-training who nearly didn’t survive his education for reasons that are very significant to the story, and for that reason, I will not reveal them to you. ::taunt:: Let’s just say that what he learned at the hands of his mentor is the direct line from a deep and bitter betrayal that can be traced to Brandon’s trust issues and can be blamed for his never allowing anyone to cross the very stringent barriers he’s erected to keep people from getting too close.
When the laws of Brandon’s particular sort of magic were changed to accommodate stricter controls over its use, and for arguably good reason, one might say, it limited his options as an agent with the CSIT, relegating him to a position as desk jockey and paper shuffler rather than being out in the field where the risk exists that he could potentially use his powers for evil instead of good. Or, at least that’s the fear and the argument used to enact the new regulations. But Brandon has a boss who believes he deserves a chance to prove himself, and the perfect opportunity has arisen for him to use the magic with which he’s been gifted when the North American Museum of Unnatural Wonders (Un-Won) is scheduled to receive an ancient artifact of immeasurable power—the Eye of Odin—which infuses its bearer with omniscience. And we all know that knowledge is power, yes? Of course we do. Then again, we also know that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and that the human mind is nothing if not powerless against the whims of the metaphysical.
Fredrick Greer is the man who’s been hired by the Vancouver CSIT to ensure the Eye is secured against any and all contingencies possible while housed in its exhibit. What that means is he’s responsible for ensuring that no one has the ways or the means to steal the Eye and all the corruptible power that goes along with it. But that doesn’t mean there are those who, in spite of all that diligence, won’t still try. The question is, will that someone—or someones—succeed?
Greer is, shall we say…unconventional, although Brandon would probably word that a bit differently. Honestly, the best that can be said is their personalities mesh about as well as lemon juice and a paper cut, that is to say if Greer were the lemon juice and Brandon were an exposed raw nerve. But just because Greer doesn’t fit the professional mold, it doesn’t mean he’s not serious about ensuring the safety of the Eye, working night and day and weighing all the options for securing the museum’s every ingress and egress point before the artifact arrives, and he’s not above using some very unorthodox methods to do it.
Of course, you understand that all the due diligence Greer and team are putting into this assignment is going to work out something like a self-fulfilling prophecy, don’t you? Yes, you do, because that’s one of the umpty-bazillion things I adored about this book. And yes, there were exactly that many reasons for me to love it. Give or take a few umpties.
Half Blind is a book of sorcery and technology pitted against the keen intellect and instincts of a man who makes a living at testing and pushing limits, and acquiring ill-gotten gains for the sake of profit. It’s filled with action and suspense and grave danger, seduction and magic and mystery, twists and turns and sacrifice, and an if I didn’t want to punch your face so hard, I might just like to kiss it romance that all lead to a breath-holding climax and a revelation that has me itching for book two, somewhere right about this very minute, thank you very much.
If I didn’t know better, I’d say I halfway believe Christine Price is a sorceress herself. It would certainly go a long way in explaining why I was utterly bewitched by the snappy dialogue and non-stop intrigue packed cover-to-cover in this book.