Espionage and magic intertwine in Prague in the Cold War era in A Long, Cold Winter (The Witch Who Came In From the Cold #1.1) by Max Gladstone and Lindsay Smith.
In 1970 the streets of Prague are filled with various secret agents from the familiar major governmental players, the CIA and KGB, but there's a larger battle looming beneath the surface, and intermixed with the governmental strife, between the Consortium of Ice and the Acolytes of Flame, old organizations at odds with one another that are focused on harnessing elemental magic. An agent for both the KGB and Ice, Tanya Morozova encounters a Czech student, Andula, who unknowingly has been feeling the impact of magic in the area, and attempts to protect her from threats against her well-being. Meanwhile, CIA agent Gabe Pritchard works to secure a valuable asset, only to fall terribly ill at a most inconvenient time, facing again some of the horrible and haunting realities of his past.
This first installation in a 13 part planned series serves primarily to set the scene for what's yet to come in the world that it's establishing. The text is ambitious in its endeavor to combine elements of the Cold War, espionage, and magic into one narrative. With an intriguing premise set in a rather complex world, this story has good potential to develop into a captivating story of governmental and magical intrigue, but the broken up format of this narrative makes it difficult for me to become and remain invested in the briefly introduced characters as they navigate this odd world and I think this might work better for my reading style as a novel instead of serial episodes, which might help to temper the uneven pacing of action and character/world development.