Please note that this review may contain spoilers for its prequel, Shadowmancer. You can read my review of this novel [here].

As you may have noticed, I like to find something good in every novel. Even if I don’t enjoy a book on the whole, I still try to look for that little ray of sunshine that made the story more bearable. There was only one novel that was so bad that I found myself unable to stick to this ethos – the ugly, hate-filled mess known as Shadowmancer. This is its sequel.

Wormwood was written by G.P. Taylor and first published in 2004. It forms the second part of The Shadowmancer Quartet – preceded by Shadowmancer (2002) and followed by Tersias (2005) and The Shadowmancer Returns: Curse of Salamander Street (2006). Although it does follow on from the events of Shadowmancer, Wormwood largely stands alone and so can for the most part by read and understood without reference to its precursor.

The novel is set in 18th Century London and focuses on Sarian Blake, a scientist who has recently come into possession of an ancient text known only as the Nemorensis. In this book is reported to be written all of the secrets of the universe and, through studying it, Blake learns that a comet called Wormwood will soon strike the city, poisoning the water and killing most of the populous.

Torn between wanting to warn the people of London and just leaving them to be destroyed, Blake continues to study the comet. However, he is not the only person who knows about the existence of the book. Far beneath London, a shadowy cabal of animal-masked magi plot to steal the Nemorensis. Led by the beautiful Yerzinia, they befriend Blake’s serving girl (Agetta) and trick her into helping them.

Although Blake is oblivious to their scheming, he still senses that something is amiss and knows that he must keep the Nemorensis safe. It is the only way that he can learn more about Wormwood and in doing so prove his genius to his peers.


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