Magic. Powers. Japanese Imperium. Dirigibles. Kanji. Grimnoir Knights. Peace Ray. Demons. Zombies. Tesla Device.
Fans of superhero stories may have a new book series to follow. Harry Correia’s recently released Hard Magic, the first book in the Grimnoir Chronicles, is alternate history and superhero fantasy, with just a touch of science fiction added. In this Prohibition era story, WWI was ended by the United States shooting a Peace Ray at Germany; Dirigibles are common; the Japanese Imperium is the new world threat; and a growing group of people, Actives, have magical abilities. These abilities fall into categories called “powers.” A secret society, the Grimnoir Knights, vow to use their powers to overcome evil and to protect the weak. The story is action packed and, for me, has the fun of superhero stories like Iron Man.
Briefly, the book chronicles the story of two actives. Jake Sullivan is a heavy, someone who can control gravity, who was sent to prison after he accidentally killed a police officer using his ability. As part of his probation conditions, Jake must take special assignments given to him by J. Edgar Hoover. After one of these assignments, Jake is recruited by the Grimnoirs. Jake is a patriotic, wants-to-do-right, type of a character. Unbeknownst to him, his brother is a member of the Japanese Imperium’s Iron Guard. Faye is a young traveler, someone who can move instantly from one place to another. Her family of origin abuses her because she is different, and they sell her to a farmer. This kindly man is also a traveler and teaches her how to use her abilities. When he is murdered, she vows to get revenge. Her adopted grandpa was once a member of the Grimnoir Knights and was safeguarding a piece of the Tesla Device, a device that can destroy a third of the United States with a single shot. Faye meets up with the Grimnoirs while she is carrying out her adopted grandpa’s dying wishes. Faye is a naïve but talented Active, who reminds me a bit of Elly May from the Beverly Hillbillies. Jake, Faye, assorted Grimnoir Knights and friends, try to stop the Japanese Imperium from using the Tesla device.
I am adding the Grimnoir Chronicles to my list of guilty pleasures, along with some of the silly detective series I follow. Hard Magic does not have a deep message or an impressive literary style. It does have a well thought out magic taxonomy and an interesting context for the magic. I will be looking for Dark Ocean this coming November.