Lord Crane keeps trying to kill himself.
After spending twenty years living in China, a place where Crane could be himself completely, Crane has returned home to England only to find himself struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts. He’s an earl, having inherited his family’s land. He’s also, unfortunately, inherited his family’s enemies as well.
Magician Stephan Day knows there’s more than what meets the eye. He quickly figures out that someone is trying to kill Crane, and after some searching, locates the Judas jack that’s trying to swamp Crane in depression and dark thoughts. After destroying it, Stephan ends up spending a few weeks in Crane’s company, figuring out that the lord’s brother and father were brought under the same spell of suicidal thoughts, thus ending their own lives.
Stephan hates Crane’s family, because his own father was ruined by Crane’s late father. Crane didn’t expect that to happen when he asked for magical assistance in saving his life. Lord Crane is also unlike any earl Stephan has heard of: The man has tattoos of magpies on his skin, an attitude, and wants nothing more than to take the magician to bed.
As the two men race against the clock trying to figure out who is trying to murder the Lord Crane, Stephan comes to realize that he’s falling for the wrong guy at the worst possible time. Crane and Stephan must put their lust for each other aside, though, because they gets captured by Crane’s enemies.
If Stephan can’t figure out how to save Crane, if he can’t figure out a way to get rid of the evil surrounding the house at Piper, if he can’t thwart Crane’s enemies, they will both die.
The Magpie Lord is an excellent beginning to a well-rounded trilogy. I loved this book, and couldn’t get the second one fast enough. I read the entire series in about the span of a week. There’s something for everyone: a mystery, a romantic/sexy subplot, magic, great humor, interesting well fleshed-out characters, and solid villains. I recommend this series to anyone who likes fantasy, paranormal history, and historical fiction.