The Last Days of Magic by Mark Tompkins


Genre: Historical Fiction, Science Fiction, Magical Realism, Fantasy

Pages: 400

Published by Viking



An epic novel of magic and mysticism, Celts and faeries, mad kings and druids, and the goddess struggling to reign over magic’s last outpost on the Earth

What became of magic in the world? Who needed to do away with it, and for what reasons? Drawing on myth, legend, fairy tales, and Biblical mysteries, The Last Days of Magic brilliantly imagines answers to these questions, sweeping us back to a world where humans and magical beings co-exist as they had for centuries.

Aisling, a goddess in human form, was born to rule both domains and—with her twin, Anya—unite the Celts with the powerful faeries of the Middle Kingdom. But within medieval Ireland interests are divided, and far from its shores greater forces are mustering. Both England and Rome have a stake in driving magic from the Emerald Isle. Jordan, the Vatican commander tasked with vanquishing the remnants of otherworldly creatures from a disenchanted Europe, has built a career on such plots. But increasingly he finds himself torn between duty and his desire to understand the magic that has been forbidden.

As kings prepare, exorcists gather, and divisions widen between the warring clans of Ireland, Aisling and Jordan must come to terms with powers given and withheld, while a world that can still foster magic hangs in the balance. Loyalties are tested, betrayals sown, and the coming war will have repercussions that ripple centuries later, in today’s world—and in particular for a young graduate student named Sara Hill.

The Last Days of Magic introduces us to unforgettable characters who grapple with quests for power, human frailty, and the longing for knowledge that has been made taboo. Mark Tompkins has crafted a remarkable tale—a feat of world-building that poses astonishing and resonant answers to epic questions.

This book intrigued me from the get-go, between the summary and the cover I was drawn in immediately. Even the first few pages of the present day entwining with the prior years [the 1300s,] drew me in. However…

There is obviously a catch because I only gave this a 3 and that is no fault of the author’s writing. The writing is beautiful, it’s eloquent and paints such imagery in your mind’s eye that you don’t really need to fight too hard to conjure up images. But amidst the pages, there is a vast history of both faith, mythology, and Ireland’s history. Kudos to the Mark Tompkins for researching all of this, honestly. His knowledge is impressive and how he wove fact into fiction is equally impressive.

Unfortunately, a lot of the story was lost on me not because I couldn’t comprehend the story but it was a little too much info dump as far as histories go. Sometimes I’d become so lost in the history that when it would leap to the actual story I was like “Oh, that’s right.. I’m not reading about that…”

The switching around was difficult, and the main story, at least, what I figured to be the main story, about Aisling, she is a human reincarnation of the triple goddess Morrigna. Aisling is to bring together the magical beings and Celts, to bring peace amongst them. Except things don’t go as planned and soon discord leads to advances to war.

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the story, I did, but I felt like there were a few too many characters and altogether a lot more going on than there ought to have been. Still, it’s a fantastic read. I will look for more from Mark Tompkins in the future.

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