Ink & Sigil

Mysterious Book Report No. 424

by John Dwaine McKenna

Our Halloween treat for 2020—the year a real Captain Trips came to town and tried to kill us all—is a dazzling urban fantasy and series launch by NY Times bestselling author Kevin Hearne, entitled: Ink & Sigil, (Del Rey, $28.00, 336 pages, ISBN 978-1-9848-2125-6), in which a beleaguered, ordinary mortal man from Glasgow, Scotland named Aloysis, “Al,” MacBharrais is charged with the responsibility of enforcing the treaties that determine how and when supernatural beings may visit the earth.  Goddesses and gods down to ogres, leprechauns and sprites, all are subject to his authority . . . but aren’t under his control.  Al is a sigil agent.  He’s one of five in the whole world who have the knowledge and the ability to concoct rare, exotic inks, and draw sigils—magic signs and symbols that have the power to amplify strength, heal wounds or tear apart mountains for example.  There are many others.  But Al is handicapped as well.  There’s a curse on his head.  The more he speaks aloud to someone, the more that person hates him.  He’s been able to work around it however, by using his cell phone.  Then there’s the problem with his apprentices.  They keep dying.  He’s lost six thus far, and the seventh, named Gordie, dies in a freak accident just as the story begins.

But Gordie had a secret.  To Al’s horror, he finds Gordie was trafficking in Fae folk by luring them to earth with promises of work, trapping them using sigils, then selling them to unknown buyers.  It’s a horrific scheme Al is duty and honor-bound to set right.  He rescues Gordie’s last victim—a peevish, foul-mouthed and troublesome, three-foot tall hobgoblin who says his name is Buck—and recruits him to track down the buyers and find the trafficked victims Gordie sold, as well as shutting down the other, Fae side of the scheme, in which some higher authority had to be complicit.

And so begins a delicate and dangerous process between two realms in which the aging widower and sigil agent has to dodge hard-pressed detectives who’re determined to learn the facts about Gordie’s life and death in the earthly realm . . . while at the same time not annoying vengeful goddesses or falling into the jaws of the   ghostly hell-hounds that appear from black smoke and tear their quarry to pieces.

Ink & Sigil is an epic romp in an adult never-never land that will transfix your attention, engage your mind and provide a few laughs too.  It’s the perfect antidote to real life and the news!


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