Majestrum by Matthew Hughes. Review by Violet Kane

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With his latest novel, Majestrum, Matthew Hughes proves that readers can trust him to provide a fantastic blend of magic, technology, humor and mystery, and all in tale that's both warmly traditional and brightly unique.

The star of this show is Henghis Hapthorn, a discriminator (that is, something of a P.I. in Hughes' far future Old Earth world) who unknowingly enters deep-sown political intrigues when he takes an apparently simple commission from an Old Earth aristocrat to investigate the young gentleman courting his daughter. As Hapthorn delves further into the case, he discovers that he must tangle both with magical books and plots against the highest levels of Old Earth society. And all the while, he must sort through the progressive changes inching into the world around him, most notably his integrator, an A.I. assistant device that has become progressively more mammalian and more intelligent.

Matthew Hughes is one of those new and innovative SFF writers who is simply not getting the attention he deserves, and it quite frankly surprises me. His deftness in combining genres into a truly integrated and fun story should be attracting audiences of science fiction, fantasy, humor and mystery. Well, certainly he is attracting these audiences, but I would expect he should be doing so in greater numbers. His quirky characters and concepts combined with his classic detective yarns tied up with politic sagasóall the while accentuated with Jack Vance-style intellectual humorówill appeal to a variety of readers and tastes.

If you're an SFF or mystery fan who is tied of the same old tired stories and characters, the foremost question on your mind should be: "Why aren't I reading Matthew Hughes?"

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Violet "Violanthe" Kane is the Webmaster and Founder of ARWZ.com. She is an editor of ARWZ Literary Zine and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Medieval studies.