The Ruthless Lady's Guide to Wizardry (Paperback)
A Tor.com Reviewers' Choice Best Book of the Year
Sparks fly in this enchanting fantasy novel from the author of Unnatural Magic when a down-and-out fire witch and a young gentlewoman join forces against a deadly conspiracy.
Dellaria Wells, petty con artist, occasional thief, and partly educated fire witch, is behind on her rent in the city of Leiscourt—again. Then she sees the “wanted” sign, seeking Female Persons, of Martial or Magical ability, to guard a Lady of some Importance, prior to the celebration of her Marriage. Delly fast-talks her way into the job and joins a team of highly peculiar women tasked with protecting their wealthy charge from unknown assassins.
Delly quickly sets her sights on one of her companions, the confident and well-bred Winn Cynallum. The job looks like nothing but romance and easy money until things take a deadly (and undead) turn. With the help of a bird-loving necromancer, a shapeshifting schoolgirl, and an ill-tempered reanimated mouse named Buttons, Delly and Winn are determined to get the best of an adversary who wields a twisted magic and has friends in the highest of places.
About the Author
C.M. Waggoner grew up in rural upstate New York, where she spent a lot of time reading fantasy novels in a swamp. She studied creative writing at SUNY Purchase and lived in China for eight years before moving with her husband to Albany, NY. In her spare time, she volunteers, performs kitchen experiments, asks if she can pet your dog, and gardens badly.
“With this winning ensemble adventure, Waggoner again proves her skill at crafting immersive, historically flavored fantasy.”–Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Delly Wells is the best kind of protagonist. Selfish, skittish, anxious and overwhelmed, smart, opportunistic, a good heart under all the bluster, and yes, ruthless. Waggoner’s characters absolutely shine...Agatha Christie in design and Pratchett-esque in execution."--Tor.com
Additional Praise for C.M. Waggoner and Unnatural Magic
"The most unique, haunting, magical, treacherous, romantic, combative novel I've read in a long time. Action, betrayal, peoples at war, strange magic and stranger love--a whole new take on fantasy!"—#1 New York Times bestselling author Tamora Pierce
“Unnatural Magic is peopled with unforgettable characters, whose changing relationships form the beating heart of this fast-paced, beautifully written story. Within the compelling tale lie some big themes—power, magic, gender and sexuality among them—and the author weaves them in skilfully, with just the right combination of compassion, insight and humour. This one goes straight onto my Keepers shelf.”—Juliet Marillier, Author of The Harp of Kings
"What a marvelous debut! I want to climb inside C.M. Waggoner’s world of powerful trolls, cheeky wizards, and mathematical magic and make myself at home. She seamlessly weaves politics, love, and magic into a novel that challenges everything we know about fantasy—and comes out victorious." —New York Times bestselling author Chloe Neill
"I didn't think you could fit so many things I loved into one book--tough-talking lady-trolls and cowardly captains, true love and found families, Holmesian hijinks and gender politics--but C.M. Waggoner made it look easy. Unnatural Magic is a raucous, indulgent delight."—Alix E. Harrow, Hugo Award-winning author of The Ten Thousand Doors of January
“Complex and fascinating, Waggoner's debut offers fantasy readers a new viewpoint on magic, love, responsibility, and sacrifice. The themes of found family and unlikely, hard-earned trust are warmly convincing, and Waggoner's system of magic is unique and deeply satisfying.” —Vivian Shaw, Author of the Dr. Greta Helsing series
"C.M. Waggoner's Unnatural Magic is a brilliant and terrifically fun book. I could have happily spent twice as long with Onna and Tsira in their compelling world and still wanted more. There's adventure and magic and murder, oh--and did I mention how much fun you'll have reading this?"—Kat Howard, Alex Award-winning author of An Unkindness of Magicians
"I have never read another novel that gave me so much of what I wanted so soon, and then just kept delivering the goods, page after page after page. Love, lust, magic, murder...This book has it all!"–Lara Elena Donnelly, Author of The Amberlough Dossier