The sixth and final book in Michael Pryor’s Laws of Magic series, Hour of Need is set in a fantasy world reminiscent of the pre-World War 1 era of our own history, with added magic and steampunk technology. As each story in this series picks up from where the previous installment left off, it’s best to read these novels in order; it’s not like some other series where you can just jump in anywhere and know exactly what’s going on.
Hour of Need begins with Aubrey Fitzwilliam, the protagonist of the series, in hostile territory, spying on his enemy, Doctor Mordecai Tremaine, a powerful sorcerer bent on achieving immortality at the cost of thousands of innocent lives. After discovering just how terrifying Tremaine’s plans are, Aubrey and his friends embark on a perilous mission to stop him, which sees them confront – among other dangers – front-line trench warfare and an aerial dirigible battle.
There is something for everyone here; whether you enjoy political intrigue or spectacular magic, action-packed stories or just believable and complex character development, this is a book that will appeal to all ages. The characters and the relationships they develop over the course of the series are believable and feel real, so that you care about what happens to them, and the story races along at break-neck pace from start to finish. Add this to Michael Pryor’s way with snappy dialogue, obviously well-researched settings and finely-crafted prose and you have a thoroughly entertaining read.
Like the rest of the series, it’s one of those books you should not start reading just before you go to bed. You’ll say to yourself, “Just one chapter… I want to know what happens next, just one more…” and before you know it, it’s 6am, you’ve finished the book and you realise you have to get up soon to go to work or school and hope you can catch up on sleep while no one’s looking.
Finishing the book actually made me a little sad, knowing that there would be no more to come afterwards. However, Michael Pryor is now working on a new series, so it will be exciting to see what he serves up next. You can find out more about his books here.
(I was trying to decide what to use as a rating device, since stars are so boring. Then I looked at my dog, Rex, who was sleeping on his back with his paws in the air. Ergo…)
Rating (out of 5 paws):