Today's book review is Stealing Magic by Tanya Huff.
I think this is the only Tanya Huff book not in the combined collections of me and my mother. I think it's also the only one that's unobtainably out of print; the only time I had seen one offered for sale, it was a used copy on Amazon for rather more than cover price. So when I saw a copy in the Interfilk auction at OVFF this year, I assumed that it was headed for the voice auction and would sell for over $100, since that is the way of anything that's actually worth having at Interfilk auctions. Still, I placed the first bid on the bid sheet. I bid $40, thinking that if I were very lucky, that might just scare people away. And it did.
Stealing Magic comprises nine short stories, six about Magdalene, a highly unlikely but most engaging figure of a wizard, and Terazin, a remarkably competent thief. The Terazin stories are also found in Relative Magic, but the Magdalene stories aren't available in any other Tanya Huff books. These are all delightful stories. Magdalene is a delight. Her attitude is a wonderful poke in the eye to both the traditional pomposity of powerful well established wizards and the greedy controlling nastiness of powerful people in general, and these lighthearted stories let the sense of humor that turned me into a rabid Tanya Huff fan when I first heard her read "Another Fine Nest" at FKO two years ago (gee, is it really only two years ago?) shine through brightly. The Terazin stories are slightly more serious, but they still have room for a little fun, and they do take full advantage of the chance to take a poke at the nastily overambitious. Even though I had already read them recently enough that I remembered the punch lines, they still held up really well.
10 out of 10. This may be hard to find, but it's worth the effort.