BOOK RADAR: “Creatures of Will & Temper” by Molly Tanzer

Molly Tanzer’s new novel Creatures of Will & Temper (John Joseph Adams Books) is out this week. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Tanzer at the World Horror Convention a couple of years ago. I dipped into the book — it’s written with lush, decadent prose that recalls my muse, the late Tanith Lee.

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From the Back Copy:

Victorian London is a place of fluid social roles, vibrant arts culture, fin-de-siècle wonders … and dangerous underground diabolic cults. Fencer Evadne Gray cares for none of the former and knows nothing of the latter when she’s sent to London to chaperone her younger sister Dorina, an aspiring art critic.

At loose ends after Dorina becomes enamored with their uncle’s friend, Lady Henrietta “Henry” Wotton, a local aristocrat and aesthete, Evadne enrolls in a fencing school. There she meets George Cantrell, the kind of experienced fencing master she’s always dreamed of studying under. But soon, George shows her something more than fancy footwork—he reveals to Evadne a secret, hidden world of devilish demons and their obedient servants. George has dedicated himself to eradicating demon and diabolist alike, and now he needs Evadne’s help. But as she learns more, Evadne begins to believe that Lady Henry might actually be a diabolist … and even worse, she suspects Dorina might have become one too.

Combining swordplay, the supernatural, and Victorian high society, Creatures of Will and Temper reveals a familiar but strange London in a riff on Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray that readers won’t soon forget.