When THE LAST MAGICIAN by Lisa Maxwell came out in 2017, I was excited to feature it. And then came THE DEVIL’S THIEF. I’m thrilled to announce that the third book in the series, THE SERPENT’S CURSE, came out yesterday!
Stop the Magician.
Steal the book.
Save the future.
In modern day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives.
Esta is a talented thief, and she’s been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.
But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.
Hunt the Stones.
Beware the Thief.
Avenge the Past.
Esta’s parents were murdered. Her life was stolen. And everything she knew about magic was a lie. She thought the Book of Mysteries held the key to freeing the Mageus from the Order’s grasp, but the danger within its pages was greater than she ever imagined.
Now the Book’s furious power lives inside Harte. If he can’t control it, it will rip apart the world to get its revenge, and it will use Esta to do it.
To bind the power, Esta and Harte must track down four elemental stones scattered across the continent. But the world outside the city is like nothing they expected. There are Mageus beyond the Brink not willing to live in the shadows—and the Order isn’t alone in its mission to crush them.
In St. Louis, the extravagant World’s Fair hides the first stone, but an old enemy is out for revenge and a new enemy is emerging. And back in New York, Viola and Jianyu must defeat a traitor in a city on the verge of chaos.
As past and future collide, time is running out to rewrite history—even for a time-traveling thief.
Evade the serpent.
Heed the curse.
Rewrite the present.
Esta isn’t a stranger to high-stakes heists. She’s a seasoned thief who has no reservations about using her affinity for time to give her an edge, and she’s trained her whole life for one mission: travel back to 1902 New York, steal the ancient Book of Mysteries, and use its power to destroy the Brink and free the Mageus from the Order’s control.
But the Book held a danger that no one anticipated—Seshat, an angry goddess was trapped within its pages. Now that terrible power lives within Harte, and if given the chance, Seshat will use Esta to destroy the world and take her revenge.
Only Esta and Harte stand in her way.
Yet in their search to recover the elemental stones needed to bind Seshat’s power, Esta and Harte have found themselves stranded in time with a continent between them. As Esta fights to get back to Harte, the Order is no longer the only obstacle standing in her way.
Saving Harte—and magic itself—will put even Esta’s skills to the test. And all the while, another danger grows, one more terrible than both Seshat and the Order combined…
In our last interview, you said, “…the thing about gut instinct is that we often discount that feeling that we should/shouldn’t do something.” Can you give an example of a time you followed your gut, and it paid off?
I had the sense that THE LAST MAGICIAN was a good idea and could be a great book or series, but my initial editor wasn’t convinced. I could’ve just let it go, but I believed in the idea enough that I buckled down and mapped out a really thorough synopsis. By the time I was done, I had a new editor, and he ended up loving the idea. And the whole publishing team got behind it. If I would have let that initial “meh” response guide me, the book never would have been written.
What a great example of following your instincts, especially when doubts are put in front of you. THE SERPENT’S CURSE is the third in The Last Magician series. In what ways, if any, did this book surprise you?
It turned out to be a bigger story than I had planned, which caused a lot of problems because I kept trying to fit everything into a series ending volume. It really did a number on my writing process, and it also delayed me in a lot of ways. Luckily, I have a really supportive publishing team, and we eventually agreed to make the book into the third of four. Once the pressure of finishing the series in book 3 was gone, the story arc made so much more sense.
Interesting! What do you do to get yourself unstuck when writing?
Set a timer and free write. Either that, or I force myself to go outside and take a walk. I’ll walk dictating into the notes app on my phone (and probably looking like a complete weirdo as I go through the neighborhood mumbling about magic), but it usually does the trick.
I’ve heard enough good things about dictation that I should probably try it one of these days! If you were stranded on a desert island with three books, what would they be and why?
This feels like such an impossible question! There are so so many to choose from. Probably Outlander, because I never get tired of re-reading it, something that covered the basics of survival, because I’m pretty pointless out in nature, and maybe a huge volume of poetry that I could come back to again and again.