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A Madness of Angels (Matthew Swift Series #1)

A Madness of Angels (Matthew Swift Series #1)

3.9 53
by Kate Griffin

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For Matthew Swift, today is not like any other day. It is the day on which he returns to life.

Two years after his untimely death, Matthew Swift finds himself breathing once again, lying in bed in his London home.

Except that it's no longer his bed, or his


For Matthew Swift, today is not like any other day. It is the day on which he returns to life.

Two years after his untimely death, Matthew Swift finds himself breathing once again, lying in bed in his London home.

Except that it's no longer his bed, or his home. And the last time this sorcerer was seen alive, an unknown assailant had gouged a hole so deep in his chest that his death was irrefutable...despite his body never being found.

He doesn't have long to mull over his resurrection though, or the changes that have been wrought upon him. His only concern now is vengeance. Vengeance upon his monstrous killer and vengeance upon the one who brought him back.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

YA fantasy author Catherine Webb (The Obsidian Dagger) makes an ambitious leap to adult urban fantasy under the Griffin pseudonym. Matthew Swift, a young London sorcerer, was brutally killed thanks to the machinations of Robert James Bakker, a superpowerful mage who also targeted several of Matthew's colleagues. Two years later, Matthew revives as a "we," sharing his body with an "electric angel." While seeking answers, Matthew meets magician Dudley Sinclair, who wants to kill Bakker and crush his group of evil dark arts practitioners-including Matthew's former apprentice, who has become Bakker's lover. Griffin's lush prose and chatty dialogue, modeled after the best work of other modern British fantasy writers, create a wonderful ambience but often diffuse the tension, leaving readers to make their own way through the uncomplicated plot. (Apr.)

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Library Journal

Awakening from a death that happened two years earlier, Matthew Swift finds that he shares his consciousness with a powerful yet naive composite being drawn from the magical impulses of electricity pulsing through London's telephone wires. Griffin, the pseudonymous YA author Catherine Webb, explores the nature of magic in a world of technology in her first novel for adults. Her prose style reflects the fiery synapses of the energy powering her protagonist, who must shape his new, shared awareness to accept a morality foreign to its former existence. Persistent readers should enjoy the unfolding layers of plot and counterplot. For most libraries.

—Jackie Cassada
Kirkus Reviews
YA author Catherine Webb (The Obsidian Dagger, 2008, etc.) takes a pen name for her first adult fantasy. In a contemporary London rife with magic for those who know how to seek it, power can be drawn from the scuttling of rats and the daily rhythms of commuters. Two years ago, Matthew Swift was a sorcerer attuned to these urban magics. Attacked by a mysterious shadow-creature and on the verge of death, Matthew escaped through a pay-phone receiver and joined the blue electric angels, the sentient bits of voice and data inhabiting the telephone wires. Now, Matthew and the angels have returned to his body, and as one multiple being, they search for his murderer and the one who summoned him/them into life. The broad outlines of the plot-a man seeking justice and revenge against a great evil/corrupted father figure-have been utilized many a time, but here they offer an opportunity to display superlative world building. Webb's urban fantasy is authentically gritty, down to the detailed descriptions of restaurants and street corners. She writes with assurance and polish, and her grasp of modern mythology-the magic and the poetry inherent in contemporary life-is strong. A very promising start, and great things seem likely to follow.

Product Details

Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
Matthew Swift Series , #1
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.60(d)


Meet the Author

Kate Griffin is the name under which Carnegie Medal-nominated author Catherine Webb, writes fantasy novels for adults. An acclaimed author of young adult books under her own name, Catherine's amazing debut, Mirror Dreams, was written when she was only 14 years old, and garnered comparisons with Terry Pratchett and Philip Pullman. She read History at the London School of Economics, and is now studying at RADA. A Madness of Angels is her first adult fantasy novel.

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A Madness of Angels (Matthew Swift Series #1) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 52 reviews.
danja More than 1 year ago
Great book with great story line. Stayed up late to finish it.
Ryan_G More than 1 year ago
It's been a few days since I finished this book, I've actually started and finished another plus started on a third, and I'm still not sure what I think of this one. For the most part I really enjoyed it, I found the premise interesting and enjoyed the action. What I didn't like was the sometimes frantic writing style, there were times I felt rushed by the author. The pace of the action and dialogue at times overwhelmed me and I felt completly lost until it slowed down once again. I almost think it was intentional on the part of the author, to match what the character of Matthew Swift had to be experiencing in his head. While I was typing this I remembered the other aspect of the book that took me a while to get used to. Matthew kept shifting pronouns between "I" and "We" when referring to himself. I don't want to ruin one of the major plot points by explaining it, but I needed to mention that it was a bit jarring at first. What I loved about the book was how alive the author made the magic for me. This was the magic of the city, the magic found in electricity, stop lights, graffiti, and forgotten telephone conversations. It was the magic of litter, signs, and plumbing. It felt real to me, that if magic exists today it will be found in this form. It has to be one of the most intersting magic systems I've come across and I want more of it. I don't want to give any of the specifics away but some of the things that can be done with this magic amazed me. For that reason alone, I can't wait to read the next book in the series.
SnarlaD More than 1 year ago
I am not, in general, a sci-fi or fantasy reader and bought this book almost by accident. In the middle of the first chapter, I thought I had wasted my money. Before that chapter ended, I was hooked. The fascinating take on magic evolving into a distinctly urban phenomenon and the feeling of the city of London as a participant in the events is striking and riveting. This book and its sequel, The Midnight Mayor, leave the reader with a somewhat eerie feeling of "What if...?" There are things happening on so many levels that it demands a second reading to explore the nearly overwhelming amount of detail, metaphor and philosophical speculation about the nature of reality. This is a book that cries out to be discussed. Indeed, I nearly forced it on a number of friends just in order to do so. It is therefore most suitable for club discussions.
Anzabel More than 1 year ago
I wasn't sure about A Madness of Angels in the beginning. It's written with a very unique style that takes a few pages to master. To really know what's going on in each scene, it's best to read every word, and skimming is a sure path to confusion. It has a lot of gore and blood and violence, some swearing, and no sex or nudity or anything like that. It's a highly descriptive read--every place Matthew goes, there are dozens of paragraphs explaining the writings on the walls, the colors of the dirt on the floor, the various smells, etc., but it simply adds to the ambiance. It can be cumbersome, but I found it a good tool overall. Despite that, the plot is original and satisfying, the characters diverse and interesting, the magic system unique and greatly modern, and the action isn't overdone nor underdone. I have to say that Matthew seems...well, younger than he really is. Half of me wants to say it's because of the blue electric angels, but there is a clear distinction between Matthew and the angels (which becomes easier and easier to see as time passes) and, though the angels are often childish, Matthew still seems younger. I would place his age somewhere between the teens to early twenties, though he has to be around 30. Other than that, it's an amazing read. I also find him very lonely, and I'd wish that he would start building stronger relationships in the second book. Highly recommended
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great plot, fantastic turns of phrase, and really engaging characters! This one was an unexpected joy! It got a little Hollywood deep into it, but the rest of it was so good that it's hard to live up to.
Aylesbury More than 1 year ago
A really great novel and a GREAT urban fantasy novel - I liked it so much that I went out and bought a map of London so I could folllow Matthew Swift on his journey. It is worth the money and worth the investment of time to read. I didn't feel shorted in any way. The author does an excellent job of world building, and her concept of Urban Magick is really original. I won't waste your time retelling the plot as you can read that in the advertisement. I'll just say that this book will leave you wanting more.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In London two years ago malevolent mage Robert James Bakker arranged for the death of sorcerer Matthew Swift. No doubt the young man was dead as his unknown adversary left a grand canyon in his chest. His body was never recovered and his killer never found. Matthew awakens in a strange bed, but no longer occupies his body alone. He has come back from the dead as a "we" with an "electric angel" as his co-occupant. Swift wants vengeance against his unknown culprit so he investigates what happened to him two years ago. He meets magician Dudley Sinclair, who believes Bakker and his evil cabal with the help of Matthew's seditious apprentice murdered him. Whereas Matthew is willing to die again to obtain vengeance, Dudley wants the entire Bakker cabal dead as all her evil practitioners. Although the story line is perhaps overly simplistic and too linear, being as straight as the Bonneville Salt Flats track, fans will enjoy the "Resurrection of Matthew Swift". Swift is an enigmatic protagonist while Sinclair and Bakker seem like Yin and Yang polar opposite practitioners. The key to the engaging urban fantasy is the world of Kate Griffin filled with mages and A MADNESS OF ANGELS feels genuine enabling the reader to get lost in this alternate London. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wer better
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the Gryffindor dormitory. The commons area is in the next result. Boys dorms are in the third result and girls dorms are in the fourth result.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have only read a little bit, but so far so good. Have not gotten into many details yrt.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great mix in urban magician with a thread of the U.K. background. Similar to J.Butcher or R. Thurman while distinct enough to keep you interested. :-)
AdrianneM More than 1 year ago
This urban fantasy is wildly creative. It has long descriptive passages that show how Matthew Swift is feeling/sensing his world that don't make much sense at first. But gradually as the story moves along, those passages draw the reader deeper and deeper into the mystery of who Matthew is, why he is, and what he needs to do. The rules of magic in this novel are fascinating and full of surprises. The plot is solid. The characters are intriguing. Pardon me while I go buy the next one.
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I enjoyed this book quite a bit! Especially the originality of the story itself, and even though the writing style was a bit different, I devoured this story in one sitting