Weaver’s Lament

      Publisher: Tor 

      RRP: £10.99

      Author: Emma Newman 

      Published:  2017-10-17

 

 

 


Charlotte is learning to control her emerging magical powers under the secret tutelage of Magus Hopkins. Her first covert mission takes her to a textile mill where the disgruntled workers are apparently destroying expensive equipment. And if she can’t identify the culprits before it’s too late, her brother will be exiled, and her family dishonoured…


 

A refreshing change to the agonising wait for the next book in your favourite genre series!

 

Weaver’s Lament continues the Industrial Magic series as the action moves from London, where we encounter the Gunn family in their recently improved position in society, to the industrial magic powered mills of Manchester. Expensive weaving looms are being destroyed by saboteurs, perhaps even socialists. Charlotte’s brother, Ben, is anxious to get to the bottom of this, and Magus Hopkins is keen to develop her latent abilities further.

What follows sees Charlotte going undercover in the mill as a new worker. All alone, in tough communal living conditions and even harsher working conditions, Charlotte abandons her comfortable life of crinolines, drawing and pleasant food, and turns her hand, for the first time in her life, to manual labour, 12 hour shifts and undercover work.

While of course it is interesting to follow our heroine as she gets to the bottom of the mystery of the damaged looms, what is most fascinating to the reader is Charlotte’s emotional journey, as she encounters the harsh realities of life as a mill worker. While initially shocked, overwhelmed, out of her depth and desperate to escape, Charlotte declines opportunities to do so, not just to discover the cause of the damaged machinery, but to uncover the appalling working conditions of manual labour. Charlotte is appalled by what she finds and while predictably content and relieved to return to her privileged existence in London, she resolves to ensure attention is drawn to the conditions in the mills. Whether she is able to achieve these laudable aims remains to be seen, however it is satisfying to see what could have been a fish out of water/spy tale take on such emotional depth and richness. One might even wonder what lies ahead for Charlotte, as she begins to champion workers’ rights and conditions.

Like Brother’s Ruin before it, Weaver’s Lament is slight, weighing in at 160 pages, and once again the reader has a sense of nothing wasted; as before, the action takes place over a small time period and the narrative is tense and well written.

Readers may find they are dismayed at how quickly they come to the end of this story; yet it is a satisfying experience to finish it in a solitary sitting. Coming a mere seven months after the previous title in the series, perhaps this is the future of modern fantasy publishing: frequent, taut and episodic tales sharing characters and settings, but each standing alone, a literary equivalent of the episodic nature of TV we are so familiar with.

The Industrial Magic series puts one in mind of Paul Cornell’s Witches of Lychford tales; while they share neither setting nor style, they both encapsulate an episodic style of storytelling. With stories like these increasing in popularity, the frequency of publication provides a refreshing change to the agonising wait for the next book in your favourite genre series. Perhaps someone should send George R.R. Martin a copy?


GeekPlanetOnline.com

 

 

 

Samantha Jayne reviews the first book in the series, Brother's Ruin, here.

Full disclosure: GeekPlanetOnline is the publisher and host of Emma and Peter Newman's podcasts Tea & Jeopardy and Tales From the Split WorldsThe author of this review is connected to Mrs. Newman via GeekPlanetOnline but has no personal relationship with her.