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Marilee J. Layman

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08:39 pm: Mairelon The Magician by Patricia C. Wrede
A few years back on rec.arts.sf.composition, the writers were talking about how important it is to get a good copyeditor and Pat shared that in one book, set in an alternate 1880s, she had a housemaid say "Coo!" in surprise and that the copyeditor changed it to "Cool!" Pat changed it back, but the copyeditor changed it again and it went out with 1970s slang in an 1880s book. Well, this is that book. I laughed for minutes when I hit that point.

This is probably YA -- bigger font & space -- but still a good story. Our protagonist, Kim, is keeping herself alive by pulling small cons and housebreaks, and most importantly, pretending to be a boy. She makes a deal to get into a magician's wagon and see if a particular silver bowl is there, and is caught by the magician. It turns out the bowl is part of a heavily magic set that many people are looking for. The magician, Mairelon, takes Kim in, much to the resentment of his man, Hunch, and trains her in magic, culture, and reading. All at the same time, they're risking their lives, tramping through woods, being shot at, and having encounters of the uneasy kind.

This is really a great story and I recommend it. The magicians are part of the Royal College of Wizards, which carries on in Pat & Caroline Stevermer's books, and there is a sequel to this one, Magician's Ward, that I could have sworn I had and the shelves and bookbase say no. So I'll start another book and order the sequel.

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From:dsgood
Date:February 1st, 2009 02:53 am (UTC)
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It was originally published as adult fantasy, but was republished as YA.
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From:mjlayman
Date:February 1st, 2009 03:26 am (UTC)
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And going by shana's comment below, I must have the YA version.
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From:shana
Date:February 1st, 2009 03:02 am (UTC)
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It's alternate Regency, not 1880s -- they mention Mairelon staying on the Continent after Waterloo.

And it was Coo! in the original printing, the 'l' came in during the YA reissue.

It's one of my favorite books; I'd love to see the big reveal scene dramatized.
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From:mjlayman
Date:February 1st, 2009 03:26 am (UTC)
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Now, see, I remembered that wrong, except for the actual words. The reveal scene made me think of the inverse of the "cozy mysteries."

And it turns out that The Magician's Ward is very expensive! I guess there aren't many left. I got one within my reach that sounds like it's in pretty good shape, but some were up to $125.
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From:green_knight
Date:February 1st, 2009 11:27 am (UTC)
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I must hunt this down - I have Magician's Ward, which is delightful, and always wnated to know how Kim got there.
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From:sraun
Date:February 1st, 2009 05:28 pm (UTC)
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They are fun! I should go re-read them sometime soon.

I'm like you - I have a copy of Mairelon The Magician and would have sworn I had a copy of Magician's Ward, and discovered I was mistaken. Fortunately, I discovered this sufficiently long ago that the latter was still in print!
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