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C.L. Polk

C. L. Polk wrote her first story in grade school and still hasn’t learned any better. After spending years in strange occupations and wandering western Canada, she settled in southern Alberta and is here to stay. She has a fondness for knitting, bicycles, and single estate coffee. C. L. has had short stories published in Baen’s UNIVERSE and Gothic.net, and contributed to the web serial Shadow Unit. She spends too much time on twitter at @clpolk.

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Witchmark: Delightful detective tale and a sweet, magical love story

Witchmark by C.L. Polk

C.L. Polk’s debut novel, Witchmark (2018), book one in THE KINGSTON CYCLE, was a delight to read. It’s a second-world fantasy set in country a lot like Britain at a time a lot like the end of World War I, with seriously traumatized soldiers returning to Aeland after the end of the nation’s successful war with Laneer. There are some important differences. Aeland’s war was purely one of conquest, and Aeland’s world has magic.

Miles Singer was a soldier and a doctor in the war, and now he practices psychiatry at a soldiers’ hospital. He is trying to discover the root cause of a violent, horrifying delusion too many returning soldiers have, one that makes them commit violent acts against the people they love. In the opening chapter, Miles tries to save a dying man who says he was poisoned, but to Miles’s horror, the man calls Miles “star... Read More

Stormsong: A gripping, thought-provoking sequel

Stormsong by C.L. Polk

2020’s Stormsong, in THE KINGSTON CYCLE is the long-awaited sequel to C.L. Polk’s wonderful Witchmark. This review may contain spoilers for Witchmark.

Witchmark followed Miles, a doctor and former prisoner of war, and a member of his world’s faerie race, the Amaranthine, as they solved a murder, uncovered a plot to assassinate Aeland’s queen, and revealed the murderous corruption that lay at the root of Aeland’s magical progress. Along the way, we met Miles’s bright, ambitious and privileged sister Grace.

In Stormsong, Grace is the main character. The second book is more of a political t... Read More

The Midnight Bargain: A charming frolic of a book, barbed with social commentary

The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk 

By the bottom of the second full page of text, when the protagonist of The Midnight Bargain (2020) walked into Harriman’s Bookshop, I was hooked. When Beatrice Clayborn entered the second-hand shop and I saw it through her eyes, the book claimed me, not unlike the way a spirit might claim a sorceress in Beatrice’s magical world.

It’s bargaining season, or marriage season in Beatrice’s world, and young women of the upper classes, like Beatrice, jostle and compete for the hand of a suitable husband. Suitability is decided by their fathers, of course, and usually determined based on wealth, status and influence.

Beatrice loathes the bargaining season. She wants to study magic and become a full-blown Mage, a path closed to women, especially upper-class women. Instead of being able to pursue their talents, magical women are... Read More