A first novel.
The harmless Old Man, a street teacher to slum children, struggles to maintain his humanity. He is more than he seems. His age is in the thousands; his magical power is the highest. Behind his innocent face, he experiments with Barrow's citizens' lives. Will they do better because of his manipulations, proving his superiority? Will they struggle to success unaided, proving the value of their humanity, and his? Adrift in timeless, spaceless Elsewhen, can Barrow's very universe survive? First, however, there is the matter of another insane master magician, bent on destroying the Old Man and leveling the city. Then, there is the metalorganic monster in the swamp who finds humans a convenient food. Thieves and smugglers try to overwhelm the city watch, as tensions between the city's diverse populations threatens civil war. With destructive magic as everyday as shop- keeping, can the Prince unify the city before it tears itself apart. Will the Old man's manipulative magic help, or will it only reveal the far greater sorcerous danger forming beyond the horizon? A heart of magic and adventure beats in the city by the Wat River. Open its doors and enter, but keep one hand on your coin and one on your sword.