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Magic's Poison [Kindle Edition]

Gillian Bradshaw
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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  • Length: 373 pages (estimated)
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Book Description

There was once a terrifying empire based on the magical power of the venom of a race of serpent-men. The empire fell, and the serpent-people are all extinct.
Or so the world believed . . .

Marin had never expected to be in the middle of the biggest magical crisis for two centuries. A peasant by birth, she was uncomfortable enough with her noble status as a Guardian, charged with policing the use of magic—even though her district, the White River, was a mere backwater. However, a renegade sorceror in that same backwater district somehow obtained a supply of a notorious magical poison—the venom of a race of serpent-people who’d been believed extinct—and it’s up to Marin to stop him. It obviously won’t be easy: the last people to use that poison ended up ruling the world.

Afraid for her life and aware that the governor of her own district has already been bewitched, Marin turns to the duke of the neighbouring province. When the duke’s expedition arrives in the White River, however, the situation becomes ever more complex. The sorceror’s poison-enhanced power is greater than they’d feared; the natives of the region are threatening war; and the king’s son, a bitter rival of the duke, is planning his own descent on the region. The serpent-people turn out to be nothing like what Marin expected, and the struggle over what to do about them has implications she’d never imagined. As if this weren’t enough, Marin realizes that she’s fallen in love with a duke. A simple farmgirl is out of her depth—but then, so is everybody.


A fantasy written by an established author when she should have been doing something else.

Cover image by Jen Berry

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 472 KB
  • Print Length: 373 pages
  • Publisher: Amazon.com; 1 edition (15 Mar. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004SBQ9JI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #322,214 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I was born in Washington DC in 1956--American father, English mother--and grew up there, in Chile, and in Michigan. I studied English and Classics (Greek) at the University of Michigan, then went on to do a second degree in Classics (Greek and Latin) at Newnham College, Cambridge. I'd started writing pretty much as soon as I could set pen to paper, but I sold my first novel when I was revising for my final exams at Cambridge. (Revision suffered: I was getting what seemed a lot of money for revising the book, but nothing for revising Textual Criticism--and Text Crit was much harder! I managed a 2-1: I might have got a first without the distraction. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.) I decided to stay on at Cambridge for another year and write a sequel. This proved to be a fatal decision, as I met my husband during that year, and never went back to the States.(Well, we had a year in California while he was a post-doc, but that hardly counts.

I've now written more than twenty novels. Many of them use my background in Classics, but I've also done some sci-fi and some contemporary fiction, as well as three childrens' books which I wrote for my own kids. (I have four: they're now grown up, and the first grandchild has arrived. I'd like to do a story for him, when he's a little older.)

When I'm not writing I like walking,cooking,singing with a choral society, and minding the grandson. We currently live in Coventry.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended 12 Dec. 2014
By I
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book. I liked the heroine and thought her reactions to the situations she found herself in understandable and believable (since the book is a fantasy that is I think unusual).
I have read and enjoyed a number of Gillian Bradshaw's historical novels and had no idea, until stumbling across this, that she wrote any other type.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new book by my favorite author!!! 27 May 2011
By Meredith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am a Gillian Bradshaw fan. I'll read whatever she writes. Her books have been with me through some of the hardest times of my life, giving me some escape. If there isn't a new one, I'll re-read an old one. She says that this was written when she should have been doing something else. Let the dust pile up, Gillian! A very enjoyable read! It took me out of here. (There's tornado damage down the road, so a few hours out of here was most welcome.) And put me into a place that doesn't - and couldn't - exist. As always, I wasn't entirely sure what would happen next. Gillian's good at that. As always, the main characters are honorable, not perfect. I'm rather dismayed that there is magic as a central theme. It's getting hard to get away from and if it weren't Gillian Bradshaw, I wouldn't have even given it a chance. As far as I know, this is her first Kindle-only work. Now I need to buy a Kindle for my brother, another Bradshaw nut, so that he can read this. Four and a half stars, because of the magic. Five stars, compared to most everything else out there.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable new fantasy series, deserves a wider audience 21 Nov. 2011
By Sophia - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
In "Magic's Poison," author Gillian Bradshaw enters the fantasy realm, focusing her talents on creating an alternate world in which ophidians - a race of serpent-like humanoids - once co-existed with humanity. Magical Guardian Marin has settled into her role, but is shocked to realize that aribissa, a drug-like substance generated by the ophidians - is making an appearance in her district, and her local governor is under its influence. Feeling out of her depth, Marin reaches out the the duke of a neighboring province, the handsome, brave (and widowed!) Duke Estevan, and, together, the two of them try to figure out the source of the drug, who they can trust and what's really happening.

This is a fun read. The "simple farmgirl out of her depth" plot device is a bit overdone, but it's a tribute to the skills of Ms. Bradshaw that the plot is still interesting. The action is realistic, with a decent amount of conversation and logistics to add realism to the faster-moving sections. There are a few unexpected plot turns that really liven things up a bit. It's also refreshing to see characters carefully considering all of the ramifications of their actions before deciding what to do, as many fantasy authors tend to skip that part.

I really enjoyed this story and hope that it gets released to a broader audience.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A charming and satisfying fantasy written by a master of historical fiction 10 Sept. 2011
By J. Renaud - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I find it strange that this book didn't find a publisher. On her website, Ms. Bradshaw said she submitted the manuscript many places and was taken aback by its "hostile reception." Apart from GRR Martin, I am not really that up on contemporary fantasy, but this was quite readable and fun, with some interesting and unusual world-building.

At first the story seems like it's going to be a cross between Lovecraft and Tamora Pierce-- eldritch serpent-men, long thought extinct from the world of humankind, whose venom was once used by unscrupulous mages, have seemingly returned, and our plucky lowborn magician heroine must save the day-- but it soon goes into a completely unexpected direction. There was a charming romance that was written with a subtle touch, just the right amount of action, and the plot moved at a brisk and satisfying pace. I liked the focus on politics, and how the geography and government was exceedingly well thought out; you can tell the author has a solid grounding in history, as everything felt really believable. There is a real humanity and depth to the characters lacking in most sword and sorcery books, and it doesn't devolve into gratuitously dark rapefests or hack n' slashery. It is possibly a bit more YA in feel than many other fantasy novels, but I'm okay with that... I tend to prefer YA fantasy.

Anyway, it's a bit depressing that a fine story like this would have been passed over by legacy publishing houses, and crap like Robert Newcomb's "The Fifth Sorceress" is gracing the shelves of big-box bookstores everywhere. At least self-publishing is easier now, so Gillian Bradshaw's fans can finally read "Magic's Poison." I for one definitely enjoyed it, and I would love to see a sequel.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The beginning of a delightful series 29 Nov. 2011
By Merri-Todd Webster - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I purchased this short novel on a whim, having read the author's first novel as a teenager and nothing of hers since. It was inexpensive and had an intriguing synopsis, so I clicked the buy button. I soon found myself unable to put down the Kindle! As of today I've read all four of the Magic's Poison series and decided I had to give it a review. Bradshaw blends political intrigue with a little action and a little magic in a series that features intelligent, competent female protagonists and an alien race that is better developed than many aliens in science fiction. Her heroines aren't excessively pretty or nobly born, but they get to have adventures, romance, jobs, *and* children (just like women in real life, what a thought). I suspect, though, that Bradshaw's real hero is the single character who appears in all four novels; he seems to have run away with her heart (and her brain), but that's not a bad thing. I highly recommend this series to fantasy fans who like a bit of world-building, a lot of politics, and heroines who get off their butts and act.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good writing 10 April 2014
By Barbara MacLachlan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Gillian Bradshaw never disappoints, I'm a fan. I've been enjoying her newer fantasy trend very much, but her historical novels hooked me to start with.
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