The Shadow Commission by David Mack (Dark Arts Book 3)
English | 2020| Fantasy | ePUB | 4.2 MB
November 1963. Cade and Anja have lived in hiding for a decade, training new mages. Then the assassination of President Kennedy trigger a series of murders whose victims are all magicians—with Cade, Anja, and their allies as its prime targets. Their only hope of survival: learning how to fight back against the sinister cabal known as the Shadow Commission.
Naxos wasn’t paradise, but it was as close to one as Anja Kernova had ever found. The hilly, wooded Greek isle was one of many scattered across the Aegean Sea—all of them lush, beautiful, and blessed with rich volcanic soil. She and Cade Martin had made Naxos their home for over eight years, since shortly after they had married. Using aliases, they had bought a large house on the hilltop west of Apiranthos and paid for it in cash. None of the locals had ever asked them any questions—not about the sale, the source of their money, or who, exactly, they were.
“That is a good sign,” Anja had said to Cade, and he’d agreed.
Transforming the house into their home had taken time. They had filled its large upstairs library with books: grimoires, codices old and new on the art of magick, ephemerides, and reference materials on anatomy, geography, history, the physical sciences, philosophy, and many other topics. At some point Cade had turned his focus to setting up their kitchen and provisioning their pantry, while Anja had seen to the critical task of equipping and securing their conjuring room in the house’s basement, adjacent to its wine cellar and cheese cave.
The rest of the house had taken shape by degrees, mostly when neither of them was paying much attention. Their domestic comforts were simple but genuine, their furnishings comfortable if boring to look at. Their bedroom, the guest rooms, and the open main floor all had the feel of a rustic country home. In the afternoon its main room filled with honeyed light filtered through gauzy curtains; in the morning, the aroma of baking bread and fresh Turkish coffee wafted through the entire house, courtesy of the lamiae they had conjured as servants.
Thick woods covered most of the hill outside the house. Anja liked the privacy the trees provided. All the same, Cade had cleared enough of the property around the house to make room for a vegetable garden, a trellis for cultivating grapes, an apiary (for fresh honey as much as for beeswax, which was always needed to make ceremonial candles), and a small bellows-driven forge. Along the north side of the yard was a stand of olive trees Cade had planted a few years earlier. None of them had yet matured to the point of bearing fruit, but Cade remained hopeful; he had grand plans for pressing his own extra-virgin olive oil someday.
It was a nice dream, but Anja wasn’t holding her breath waiting for it to come true.
Dawn sunlight speared through the trees as Anja stepped out of the house to check on her newest student’s progress. Unlike most of her and Cade’s apprentices, who hailed from various distant parts of the world, Melina Volonakis—or Mel, as the couple called her—was a local girl whose academic bona fides had attracted their attention. Though she was only nineteen years old, Mel had impressed them with her knack for ancient languages as well as modern sciences. Open-minded and detail-oriented, she had only one serious shortcoming as a student of magick: she was impatient.