Published: June 1, 2019
Publisher: Cobble Publishing, LLC
Series: The Cartographer #1
Pages: 539 (Kindle Edition)
My Rating: 4.5/5.0
The fate of empire is to crumble from within.
A heinous murder in a small village reveals a terrible truth. Sorcery, once thought dead in Enhover, is not. Evidence of an occult ritual and human sacrifice proves that dark power has been called upon again. Twisting threads of clues lead across the known world to the end of a vast empire, and then, the trail returns home.
Duke Oliver Wellesley, son of the king, cartographer, and adventurer, has better things to do than investigate a murder in a sleepy fishing hamlet. For Crown and Company, though, he goes where he’s told. As the investigation leads to deeper and darker places, he’ll be forced to confront the horrific spectres rising from the shadows of his past. When faced with the truth, will he sacrifice what is necessary to survive?
Samantha serves a Church that claims to no longer need her skills. She’s apprenticed to a priest-assassin that no one knows. Driven by a mad prophecy, her mentor has prepared her for a battle with ultimate darkness, except, sorcery is dead. When all is at stake, can she call upon an arcane craft the rest of the world has forgotten?
AC Cobble, the author of the fan-favorite Benjamin Ashwood series, crafts worlds of stunning-depth and breath-taking adventure. In Quill: The Cartographer Book 1, a pair of unlikely investigators walk a deadly path into the past, uncovering secrets best left alone.
The fate of empire is to crumble from within. Do not ask when, ask who.
This is one of the first books that I’ve picked up in FOREVER where I knew nothing about it at all aside from the synopsis. I had seen no other blog reviews, no hype, no snazzy shots on Instagram – basically I was living on the edge or in the moment or whatever. It was a great choice because once I started this book I spent every free moment listening to this audiobook and I ended up playing way too much Stardew Valley and got quite a bit of cleaning done that weekend. Also, did I mention that the one and only Simon Vance narrates this? Well, he does and as always does a marvelous job bringing the characters to life.
Quill is the first book in the Cartographer series and I would classify it a mystery set in a fantasy world. I was watching Carnival Row during the same time period and it reminded me somewhat of that (which I thought was a pretty good show, btw). Duke Oliver Wellesley is essentially the spare son of the king without his own duchy to preside over so he became a cartographer for what amounts to this world’s version of the East India Company. This has led him on a number of dangerous expeditions that have also made him one of the wealthiest bachelors in the kingdom. He’s also a bit of a cad, but you’ll figure that out soon enough if you read the book. Oliver isn’t you’re typically snooty duke and is actually a really fantastic character – absolutely loved him. Then there’s Samantha, trainee of a priest-assassin of the Church whose job is to root out magic users and kill them before they can gain a foothold in the kingdom. She’s a bit of a drunk, and she’s also quite dangerous and immediately warmed to me when she didn’t fall madly in love with Oliver (who she just calls Duke like it’s his name) upon meeting him. You go girl – you’re strong and independent and don’t need… oh wait, you do need money for this investigation and a way to travel… Anyway, the pair make fantastic co-workers, treat each other like equals, and have fantastic banter.
Now, THE PLOT! Like I said, fantasy-mystery hybrid. A murder occurs in a backwoods fishing town and said murder is clearly occult in nature, despite the fact that it’s said to be impossible to do magic within the kingdom of Enhover. Oliver is sent to investigate by his brother and Sam is sent as a representative of the church to accompany him. The investigation leads the pair on quite the journey, encountering pirates, more occult magic stuff, more murders, and a heck of a finale. It was a continuous adventure and like I said, I really loathed to put this book down because I just had to find out what happened next. Lucky for me, the next book will be out in December 2019 in ebook format. If I can hold out, I’d like to listen to it in audio format as well. Who could say no to more of Simon Vance’s lovely voice?
Overall, I was quite surprised that Quill ended up being such an amazing read! I’ve stumbled across some real gems in the self-published world and need to take that risk a little more often that I currently do. Did I mention that there are airships powered by magical floating rocks? Who could say no to that, much less the magical murder mystery plot?