Thaddeus of Beewicke (The College of Sorcerers Book 1)

Louis Sauvain

Magic thrives in the Westlands, as an ancient and unassuming sorcerer crosses an underdeveloped countryside, collecting new talent for an austere centre of enchanted learning known as The Collegium. Silvestrus’ three young recruits are Thaddeus, an unworldly bee-keeping rustic; Anders, a pampered scholar; and Rolland, an urban street thief. The fourteen-year-old novices are as green as sorcerers come, but faraway in the eastern Empire of Cin, a rising power is wary of a prophecy proclaiming that one, or all, of to these boys will bring down the reign of a new imperial crown. As the small party of four, along with their clever talking mule Asullus and rescue dog Bellis, slowly make their way towards their goal, they are shadowed by assassination attempts from Cin. Will Silvestrus’ new apprentices reach their destination to fulfill their purposes?

“Thaddeus of Beewicke” sets the stage for an expansive fantasy with endearing characters who bond during travel. The titular character and his comrades encounter numerous diversions during their journey: a counterpart group of female sorcerers, a terminally ill love interest, a drunken interlude with a fairy queen, a lupine matriarch who exacts vengeance on her enemy, and a phantom legion; all appear as disconnected plot points of yet unclear significance. Silvestrus’ penchant for elaborate verbiage and the magniloquent third person narrative create a dense reading experience for the expositional introduction, which encompasses the better part of the book. Fabulous adventures are ambitiously detailed, but without the full picture, it all feels discombobulated. Be forewarned that this investment leads into a series and has a soft conclusion. Readers who adore words, and can’t get enough of them, will be delighted!

Joan Lai