This installment in Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters saga is a very loose retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's classic fairy tale “The Snow Queen.” Set in 19th-century England, The Wizard of London pits powerful mage Lord David Alderscroft against a cunningly evil Elemental Master obsessed with omnipotence and immortality. Alderscroft, a Fire Master of unequaled talent, is the influential head of the British Elemental Masters Council. He seemingly has it all -- power, fame, fortune -- but his heart is ice cold. It's almost as though an integral part of him is missing… Isabelle Harton is Alderscroft's former childhood infatuation. Now happily married and running a boarding school for children who have the potential for unusual magical ability, Isabelle is truly content. Teaching students like Sarah Jane Lyon-White, a well-mannered child of African missionaries who can communicate with the dead, and Nan Killian, a precocious street urchin with rare clairvoyant abilities, Isabelle feels that her life is close to idyllic: until someone -- or some thing -- tries to kill the girls. When Isabelle and Alderscroft's paths finally cross, earth-shattering revelations abound. But is it too late to save Sarah and Nan?
Fans of Lackey's previous Elemental Masters novels (The Serpent's Shadow, The Gates of Sleep, and Phoenix and Ashes) should thoroughly enjoy this book. Comparable to works by Patricia A. McKillip, Juliet Marillier, and Cecilia Dart-Thornton, The Wizard of London blends historical fiction with folklore and mythology to create a fantasy suitable for all ages. Paul Goat Allen