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Fantasy Friday: The Cursed Mage Case Files Basement Tour Pt. 2

The Arch-Mage's WandDark places abound in The Order of the Dark Rose – here’s one more in the basement tour blog series.


Note: this is a continuation of an ongoing post series about The Cursed Mage Case Files. Here is the previous post:

Fantasy Friday: The Cursed Mage Case Files Basement Tour Pt. 1

Dark places attract hidden secrets, but they can also provide useful seclusion for an investigation.

Manny used to be a sniffer (spy), so there are plenty of secrets he knows, including some safe houses and a variety of places used in past years by the Imperial spies services.

When Manny and Wish find themselves followed during an investigation, they work together to avoid their stalkers and meet in a place Manny considers safe, if not used in a long time. It’s one more basement the pair use to avoid their enemies. Here’s another underground setting used by the characters in this tour of basements:

“Shhh, it’s me.” Manny eased his grip on my face. His soundless approach left me stricken. He motioned to the basement door that stood slightly ajar. “Down here.”

My heart thrummed in my ears, but I shuffled down the steps with my bag in hand and entered Manny’s safe house. It stank of mold and sat almost empty of anything of value except for a table below the landing of the steps that led to the basement floor. I opened my mouth to speak, but Manny motioned for quiet. My partner removed his gadgets from a pocket and checked me for any magical attachments, then scanned my original clothing. My eyebrows shot up as he removed quite a bit more than I expected.

When he was finished, Manny stowed his wands in his coat pockets. “I found some crude listening magic on me, and I figured you had it too. Most likely from Thistledown.”

I inspected the confines of the basement. “Nice place. Used it much?”

Manny threw the lock on the door. “It’s an old safe house used by the sniffers. Been a long time since it was active. I picked the lock and disabled the booby-trap.”

“Trap?” I glanced at the bare, mold-stained walls in the light of a candle that sat on a table below the landing.

Manny shrugged. “Just some darts. The knockout potion probably wouldn’t have worked after all this time, but the puncture wound would’ve hurt like the hells of Clo Clana.” He extended one finger up. “Rusty, too, so they might have left someone sick, if not dead.” He grinned and shifted his gaze to me. “Anyone follow you?”

I set about switching back to my original clothing. “My tactics shook him back at the station with a sudden jump on the train as it left. I made a quick disguise anyway. Lofton will get charged for all that.” I set the bag aside and motioned to it. “My new umbrella.”

Manny peered into the bag. “Nice choice. Brown hat and blue tweed jacket. Classy style there, Wish.”
I re-armed myself and swallowed my complaints about the mediocre clothing. “Best choices available.”

“Better than a knife in your kidney.” Manny smirked at me.

“True.” With my fleer gun settled back into its original pocket, I gazed about the room and waited for Manny to continue.

“Nice limp, by the way.” He straightened my coat collar. “Saw you from the front windows.”

“Thanks.” I tugged my lapels straight and brushed wrinkles from my sleeves. By the looks of those dirty windows, it was a miracle Manny had glimpsed me at all. “I think I saw your tail. Were you followed? Is this case really that dangerous?”

“Pointy-nosed fellow? I easily lost him without all your measures. And I do think something is definitely going on at Thistledown, much deeper than expected. Someone signaled the driver, who tipped off our man with the pointy nose. I’m surprised there were actually two men.” He retrieved the note from Thistledown’s butler and considered the information.
Our hasty departure from Thistledown returned to mind as our evasive adventures receded from the forefront of my thoughts. “Why did we leave so abruptly?”

Manny ran his hands through his hair and descended the steps to the basement floor, where he paced. “You noted the marks in the bedroom?”

An arch-mage can handle almost anything. Unless he’s cursed, lost his job and facing an unknown enemy.

The Order of the Dark Rose

Dark places abound in the book, including basements, cellars, and more…

The Gallantean Empire relies increasingly upon magical technology which cleans sewers, runs trams and much more. Within the capital city of Cal Rindon, magic is pervasive, but not necessarily used without crime involved. The bustling metropolis boasts constant innovations mixed with growing pains. Amid the good lurks the bad with unrest and growing crime.

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Arch-mage Manny Mandeheim fell under a curse, watched his fiancé die, and then lost his job as a spy. So what’s an arch-mage to do? Start his own magical investigation service while he works to clear his good name and maybe avenge his lost love. With his very un-magical partner, Wish Ackford, Manny discovers the menace of a much larger conspiracy than he expected looming behind his curse. Suddenly, the limitations from the hex leave him at a distinct disadvantage as he and Wish investigate.

Assassins lurk at every corner or in every tram car. The threat of an unknown mastermind with murky intentions lingers just out of sight. A questionable source offers the hint of a secret order hounding Manny’s footsteps. A murder leads to wrenching discoveries.

Nothing an arch-mage can’t handle…

Unless the curse limits how much magic he can use or kills him outright.

A mixture of Sherlock Holmes and Harry Potter, The Order of the Dark Rose is set in an alternate fantasy world where magic is both commonplace and dangerous. Mysteries abound in this original, new fantasy from P. H. Solomon, author of the award-winning, best-selling epic fantasy series, The Bow of Hart Saga.

Can Manny survive long enough to break his curse? Or will the arch-mage’s hidden foe escape him? Click the Your Favorite Retailer button to enter this high concept world of magic and fantasy to discover more about Manny and Wish.

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Reviews for The Order of the Dark Rose:

Reviewed By Rabia Tanveer for Readers’ Favorite
The Order of the Dark Rose is the first novel in The Cursed Mage Case Files series by P. H. Solomon. This epic fantasy is set in a world where magic is real and integrated into daily life. Manny Mandeheim, an arch-mage, was once a spy, but all that changed when his fiancé passed away; he was cursed and lost his social standing. In order to redeem his name, he opened his own investigation company with Wish Ackford and tried to look for a reason why he was cursed. However, the more they delved deeper into the mystery, the more complex it became. Before Manny and Wish knew it, they were knee-deep in a conspiracy that could very much end their lives. They were nowhere near figuring out who was the person behind this yet the danger only increased. All they needed was a single nudge in the right direction. But would they get it? Or was it already too late?

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The Order of the Dark Rose gave me serious Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie vibes, and I loved it. P. H. Solomon’s narrative style is very similar to these literary legends. I could find similarities in the way the author introduced the action, pushed it forward, and made it an integral part of the story. The mystery and suspense were alive in the story, and that was all thanks to how the author handled the main plot while supporting it with equally important subplots. The flow was incredible, the world-building was “magical” and the character development was brilliant as well. There was hardly a moment when I was frustrated with Manny or wanted him to do something differently. He was smart, he was calculating, and he was ready to do something about his predicament. Overall, a great start to a fantastic new series!

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