Right Hand Magic (Golgotham Series #1) [NOOK Book]


Like most Manhattanites, aspiring artist Tate can't resist a good rental deal-even if it's in the city's strangest neighborhood, Golgotham, where for centuries werewolves, centaurs, and countless other creatures have roamed the streets.

Her new landlord is a sorcerer name Hexe, who is determined to build his reputation without using dark, ...
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Right Hand Magic (Golgotham Series #1)

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Like most Manhattanites, aspiring artist Tate can't resist a good rental deal-even if it's in the city's strangest neighborhood, Golgotham, where for centuries werewolves, centaurs, and countless other creatures have roamed the streets.

Her new landlord is a sorcerer name Hexe, who is determined to build his reputation without using dark, left-hand magic. As Tate is drawn into Hexe's fascinating world, they both find that the right hand does not always know what the left hand is doing-and avoiding darkness is no easy trick...

View our feature on Nancy A Collins' Right Hand Magic.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Upper-class sculptor Tate flees a bad breakup and her SoHo loft for a cheap apartment in Golgotham, New York City's supernatural ghetto, in Collins's bubbly urban fantasy series launch. Tate's new landlord, Hexe, is a warlock prince outcast for using only right-hand magic to help people, rather than the left-hand magic of curses. Soon after they rescue a were-cougar fleeing the fighting pits, Tate and Hexe fall in love. The first human on the block, Tate gains insight into gentrification while holding on to some unfortunate prejudices. Collins (Vamps) wins with images like centaurs harnessed to hansom cabs, but the humor is sometimes forced, as are regrettable attempts at local dialect ("until ya gets someone t'take it") and slang ("I'll never bend my knee to a nump-loving dexie!"). Readers will look for future installments to flesh out the intriguing setting, the true star of the series. (Dec.)
From the Publisher
"An entertaining story that demonstrates an amazing breadth of imagination and introduces a fascinating alternate society...an intriguing introduction to an environment peopled with eccentric and memorable characters."

"Collins is especially skilled at portraying the sweaty, nervous moments when everything goes wrong and help is too far away...a very well done portrayal of a strange neighborhood amid our all-too-mundane reality.

"Nancy A. Collins has reminded me why I loved [urban fantasy] in the first place...a lot of fun."

"[A] great beginning to what appears to be a fantastic new urban fantasy series. I look forward to reading the second story to see what the author does with this incredible and complex neighborhood."

"[Collins] does an excellent job of bringing Golgotham and its unusual occupants vividly to life, yet grounding the story in reality. Compelling characters and dangerous drama add up to dynamic and exciting fun!"
-Romantic Times (4 stars)

Library Journal
When Tate moves into an apartment in New York City's Golgotham neighborhood, she tries to fit in among that area's supernatural inhabitants—including her fae-like Kymeran landlord, Hexe, a sorcerer who practices only "Right Hand," or benevolent, magic. Tate's forays into her new stomping grounds bring her into a magical tangle of werewolves, vampires, and witches who fear that the presence of a mere mortal signals the end of the neighborhood. The author of the Sonja Blue series (Sunglasses After Dark; In the Blood) introduces a new urban fantasy heroine, a resourceful artist whose true colors shine in her relationships with those around her. VERDICT Collins's latest novel should attract fans of Sherrilyn Kenyon, Tanya Huff, and Laurell K. Hamilton.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101445778
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/7/2010
  • Series: Golgotham, #1
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 72,572
  • File size: 272 KB

Meet the Author

Nancy A. Collins has authored more than 15 novels, numerous short stories, and served as writer for DC Comics' Swamp Thing for two years. She is a recipient of the HWA's Stoker Award and the British Fantasy Society Award, and has been nominated for the Eisner, John Campbell Memorial, World Fantasy&International Horror Guild Awards. Best known for her ground-breaking vampire character, Sonja Blue, her works include Sunglasses After Dark, her Southern Gothic collection Knuckles And Tales, & the Vamps series for Young Adults. She currently resides in the Cape Fear area of North Carolina with her fiancé, Tommy, and their Boston Terrier, Chopper.
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Read an Excerpt

The address I was looking for was at the very top of Golden Hill Street, between Perdition and Beekman. Unlike the rest of the surrounding city, there had never been an attempt to turn Golgotham into flat, orderly squares. Because of this, the basic layout of the neighborhood had changed very little since the early eighteenth century.

I stared up at the house before me. If ever there was a perfect example of Golgotham architecture, this was it. With its twin turrets and ornate lightning rod perched high atop its peaked roof, it looked like an escapee from a Charles Addams cartoon. There was even a gargoyle poised atop the cornice, bat wings folded tightly against its humped back. Marshaling my nerve, I strode up the granite steps, grabbed the brass door knocker shaped like a coiled asp, and knocked as loudly as I could.

After a few moments, there came a squeal of rusty hinges as the heavy door swung open. Although I was half expecting Dracula, I was pleasantly surprised to discover the person on the other side was a very handsome young man, no older than twenty-five, with the lean, muscled body of a skater. He was dressed in a T-shirt, with SUPER FRIENDS printed on the front, skinny jeans, and had a pair of scuffed Chuck Taylors on his feet. His hair was shoulder length and unruly, as if it couldn't decide whether to be straight or curly, and deep purple in color, with pale blue highlights.

He tilted his head quizzically to one side, fixing me with golden eyes that had cat-slit pupils. I noticed with a slight start that he gripped the edge of the door with six fingers instead of five. It was only then I realized I was face-to-face not with just another Lower East Side boho hipster, but with an actual flesh-and-blood Kymeran.

I had seen Kymerans on television and in movies, and read about them in books and on scandal Web sites, but I had never actually laid eyes on the real thing before. A part of me was surprised that the extra finger wasn't like the rigid fake plastic pinkies sold at Halloween costume shops, but actually curled and flexed like the others on his hand.

"Yes? What is it?" he asked with a hint of irritation. He had noticed me staring at his hands.

"We, uh, talked on the phone earlier," I replied, color rushing to my cheeks. "I've come about the room."

"You got money?" he asked bluntly, eyeing my own tattered jeans. "I don't care how hot you look; I'll not have a lubbard under my roof."

I had no idea what a "lubbard" was, but it didn't sound complimentary. "I can pay three months in advance, plus deposit, if that answers your question."

He studied me for a long moment, as if trying to decipher something written on my forehead that only he could see, before finally stepping aside. "The room's on the second floor."

As I entered the house, I caught the scent of used jockstraps boiled in potpourri. Well, that probably wasn't what it actually was, but it sure smelled like it. I automatically wrinkled my nose in disgust.

"Sorry about the stink," he said, closing the door behind me. "I was in the middle of mixing something up when you knocked. Give me a moment—I need to take the cauldron off the boil."

He hurried down the hallway to the back of the house. Unsure of what to do, I followed him. As I tagged along, I glimpsed a double parlor with an adjoining dining room and what looked like a study on the ground floor.

The kitchen was large with plenty of counter space, every available square inch of which was littered with glass vials and containers. Sitting atop the old-fashioned gas stove was a large cast-iron vessel, the contents of which bubbled and gurgled like a pool of lava waiting to erupt. As I watched, he pulled on a pair of oven mitts and lifted the heavy cauldron from atop the burner ring as if it were a pot of spaghetti.

"Careful! Hot soup!" he said as he crossed the kitchen and placed the steaming container on a circular slab of marble covered in arcane symbols. "I have a little side business as a nimgimmer," the landlord explained, noticing the puzzled look on my face. "I have a client with a fondness for fauns, so to speak, and he's picked up an unfortunate case of orf."

"Uh-huh." I tried my best not to let on that I had no clue what the hell he was talking about.

"It's a form of knob-rot passed along by livestock," he explained with a wry smile.

"Oh!" I lowered my head and coughed into my fist so he couldn't see me blush.

"You're new to Golgotham, aren't you?" he asked, not unkindly.

"Is it that obvious?" I winced.

"Just a tad," he replied. "So what kind of psychic are you? Clairvoyant? Telekinetic? Dowser?"

"I'm none of those," I explained, slightly baffled by the question. "I'm an artist."

He stopped what he was doing, a surprised look on his face. "Really? I would have figured you for a medium, myself. Normally psychics are the only type of humans who look to make their home in Golgotham. What brings you here?"

"Rent, for the most part. I'm looking for a place where I can live and work in the same space. The raw materials for my art are expensive. I need all the help I can get. Plus, I've always been fascinated by this part of the city. It's so… real."

"I've never heard it described quite like that before," he laughed.

Kymerans are known for giving off natural perfumes, as opposed to body odor, and now that the noisome concoction in the cauldron was off the boil, I finally noticed the landlord's personal scent. When he brushed by, I caught a hint of citrus, moss, and leather. It was definitely a masculine aroma, and one I found quite attractive.

As we headed up the stairs to the second floor, I looked around for signs of other tenants. "Do you live here alone?"

"Hardly!" he laughed. "I have another boarder right now, but I doubt you'll have occasion to see him. Assuming you want the room, that is."

"I hope you don't take this the wrong way—but aren't you kind of young to be a landlord?" I asked.

"I inherited the job," he explained. "The house has been in the family for two centuries. When I told my mom I wanted to try my hand at lifting for a living instead of going to thaumaturgical college, she insisted I take over things here. It's worked out pretty good, so far."

Just then something small and close to the ground ran past me, brushing against my leg before disappearing into the shadows at the top of the stairs. Whatever it was didn't have fur.

"What the hell?!?" I yelped.

"Oh, that was just Scratch," the landlord laughed. "Don't mind him. He's always like that with strangers."

"Scratch is a… pet?" I asked uneasily.

"Something like that." He turned and addressed the darkness gathered at the second-floor landing. "Scratch! Come out and meet our guest!"

There was the sound of claws scrabbling on hardwood, followed by a flapping noise. Something resembling a house cat, save that it was utterly hairless with bat wings growing out of its back, leaped out of the shadows and made a perfect four-point landing on the second-floor balustrade.

"Dear God!" I clapped my hand over my mouth, but it was too late to hide my shock.

The winged, hairless cat fixed me with an eye as red as murder. "Who's the nump?" it sneered. "Another looky-loo?"

"Scratch! Where are your manners? Be nice. Or at least nice-ish. I'd like you to meet Miss…?" The landlord gave me a smile that pinned me to the spot like a butterfly. "I'm afraid I did not get your name earlier…?"

"Just call me Tate."

"Scratch, this is Miss Tate."

"Humph," Scratch sniffed, clearly unimpressed.

"Pleased to meet you, uh, Scratch."

"As well you should be," the flying cat replied curtly.

"Scratch is my familiar. I'm sure you've heard about such things from books and movies." As the landlord stroked the winged cat's back, Scratch butted his forehead against him, just like any other tabby would. "He is also my rent collector."

"Yeah—I eat the deadbeats!" The familiar grinned.

"Honestly, Scratch. You're such a liar. You're not allowed to take more than one bite, and you know it. Come along now, Miss Tate…"

I nervously glanced over my shoulder at the winged cat still perched on the banister; the creature's eyes glowed like hot coals in the dim light. My mouth went dry as paper. Maybe moving to Golgotham wasn't that great an idea after all…

"Ah! Here we are!" The landlord held up an old-fashioned key that looked better suited to unlocking a pirate's treasure chest than a door. He slid it into the keyhole and gave it a quick turn. The door swung open, revealing only darkness. He crossed the room and pulled aside the heavy velvet draperies that covered the windows facing the street. "Let's get some light in here."

As the late-afternoon sunlight spilled into the room, my trepidation about living among witches, demons, and things that go bump in the night instantly disappeared. The space was easily two thousand square feet—twice the size of the SoHo loft I currently called home—and outfitted with antique oriental carpets, a marble fireplace decorated with satyrs and nymphs, and a fifteen-foot vaulted ceiling.

"It's much bigger than I expected," I gasped in amazement.

"Yes, that's one of the unique features of this house. It was designed by my great-uncle Jack. He was a Mason of Hidden Degree, famous for utilizing a form of geometric origami that allows you to occupy more space than is physically available."

"That's amazing! How many rooms are there?"

"I'm not exactly sure. Some of them only manifest during certain astronomical convergences. This floor is relatively stable, but you should never go upstairs by yourself. That's how we lost Uncle Jack."

"You mean something up there killed him?" I asked, trying to control the alarm in my voice.

"Heavens and hells, no! We just lost him, that's all. He's probably still wandering around up there somewhere," he said, gesturing to the ceiling. "So, do you want the room or not?"

"I'll take it," I said as I pulled out my checkbook. "Who do I make this out to?"

"The name's Hexe, with an extra 'e' at the end," he replied, returning my smile. "And welcome to Golgotham."

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 77 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 77 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    a fascinating opening act of a new urban fantasy

    Her affluent parents are disappointed in Tate as they expect her to marry someone of their social group. Instead, Tate is a Manhattan based metallurgist, sculpting life-sized human figures. Tate feels she is on the way to making it as a metal sculptor when the Templeton Gallery in Chelsea plans a showing of her work.

    Tate finds a place to rent in the Golgotham, the oddest area in the city; some would say the world. Here is the true melting pot where Werewolves, Valkyries, Amazons, centaurs, and their ilk live above ground and Dwarves below the pavement. Also residing here is Kymeran witches who sell charms, spells, and curses to customers, mostly dumb humans. Tate's landlord is Hexe the Kymeran sorcerer who's a practitioner of the Right Hand magic. He shares in common with his new tenant the fact he has disappointed his mother the Golgotham Witch-Queen, Lady Syra by not following in her footsteps with using Left Hand curse magic. As Tate adjusts to Hexe's strange feline Scratch, a were-cougar stalks her. Hexe catches teenager Lukas, who is cold turkey detoxed from the drugs that had him out of control. He explains he fled from mob Boss Marz's pit fighting ring; the trio knows the gangster and his minion will be coming for their guest.

    Right Hand Magic is a fascinating opening act of a new urban fantasy that focuses in the New York neighborhood Golgotham which is filled with an assortment of non-humans. The story line introduces the audience to the neighborhood through the eyes of the newest resident. The action is somewhat limited as Nancy A. Collins establishes the lifestyle of an assortment of paranormal species and a horde of players. This first entry looks like the beginning of an engaging series as fans will want to walk the streets of Golgotham; albeit with some magic at their right and left hands.

    Harriet Klausner

    8 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2012

    Fantastic Book!

    I read a lot and find it really difficult to be truly entertained but Collins writes with such ease of the pen it was hard to put this book down. I really enjoyed the characters and the brief glimpse into their world. Extremely great read! If you like the paranormal, romance and fantasy genre this series is a definte read.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Nice addition to the urban fantasy genre

    This was an interesting read. It is urban fantasy and gives a different approach to the genre. Magic is an accepted, though separate, part of society. Fantasy creatures are part of everyday life and have their own cultures and customs. This is the story of an artist who is looking for a cheap apartment in New York and ends up in the magical community. She is confronted with prejudice on both sides and has to learn how to deal with them. Very entertaining story, original takes on traditional fantasy characters.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 12, 2010

    A perfect intro to the Golgotham world!

    I finished this in one day and couldn't be happier about impulsively grabbing this book on my way out of B&N. This was quirky and fun, with a wonderful cast of characters and a new outlook on the urban fantasy realm. I enjoyed every page of it and was only left wondering when there would be more.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 9, 2013

    Good read

    Never heard of this author. Someone told me about her books and found this one to be okay to pretty good.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2012


    Once again, harriet klausner has ruined another book. Bn, you are losing sales thanks to this poster. No one wants to read a book after she reveals everything that happens. Ban her already.

    1 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2013

    This was an interesting read.

    A new spin on the New York scene. I have to say I'd love if there was a different lace that resided in NYC. Something magical and beautiful.
    This was an interesting read to start off with and I am glad I took the time to read it, since in was a little nervous about it. But Nancy proved she can we eve a world around New York without messing it up entirely.

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  • Posted June 1, 2012

    Characters you love and love to hate :)

    Liked it so much I finished it over breakfast.

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  • Posted February 28, 2012

    fun read

    fun take on urban fantasy

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2012

    Delightful read

    I liked reading this book. Can't wait to get to the next one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Great Read.

    I will purchase the next book in the series.

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  • Posted October 10, 2011


    This is the only book I've ever bought that I had to force myself to finish because it was so awful. The story itself is decent, but the writing is agonizingly bad.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 12, 2011

    Highly Recommend to newcomers and hardcore urban fantasy lovers!

    I have to say that this is the best book I have read in quite some time. I couldn't put it down and am already waited for the next in the series. I was not disappointed in the visual creativity that washed through my mind with each page I read, thanks to Ms Collins written word. I loved the characters, the places, the story... it all captured my interest and imagination. Would suggest this book to everyone! Fresh...and fun to read!

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    Posted April 15, 2011

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    Posted May 22, 2013

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    Posted September 10, 2011

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    Posted June 21, 2014

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    Posted February 10, 2011

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    Posted April 17, 2011

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 77 Customer Reviews

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