The War Against the Assholes
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Contemporary fantasy meets true crime when schools of ancient sorcery go up against the art of the long con in this stunningly entertaining debut fantasy novel.
Mike Wood is satisfied just being a guy with broad shoulders at a decidedly unprestigious Catholic school in Manhattan. But on the dirty streets of New York City he’s an everyman with a moral code who is unafraid of violence. And when Mike is unwittingly recruited into a secret cell of magicians by a fellow student, Mike’s role as a steadfast soldier begins. These magicians don’t use ritualized rote to work their magic, they use willpower in their clandestine war with the establishment: The Assholes.
anybody. I’d known kids who’d gotten mugged, for example. Part of city life. Or there was a woman, a few years ago, who tried to make a smart remark when a young sociopath pulled a gun on her. “What are you going to do, shoot me,” she asked. He obliged. They called it a tragedy but I never saw it that way myself. You ask for punishment and the universe obliges. Standing there in that sweet-smelling cavern, breathing hard, I blamed myself. You would have too if you’d been there and had any sense.
West and the East. While most theurgists never attained public, historical prominence, Mr. Stone said, notable exceptions existed. Adolf Hitler, he said, had been a minor theurgist and had enjoyed the aid of one of the greatest theurgists of the twentieth century, Rudolf von Sebottendorf. The art Mr. Stone practiced had no name. Call it what you like, he said again and again, it would be an act of presumption to give it a name. Like all slaves, he said, theurgists were full of irony, anger, and
victorious. If you die a free man, you win. No matter how sordid your death. I also learned THE FOUR WINDS, although I discovered Hob had cheated to perform one of the flourishes. I checked in with him every day, to see how he was carrying it. He sounded sick. I told him over and over Quinn was probably not dead. I had at that point inflicted serious physical harm on five people: Greg Gilder; the Barry brothers from Cardinal Corrigan, who jumped me after a football game; a kid at one of Simon
ringed hand and cried out another foreign phrase while Hob was still midair. The agate glowed yellow, red, sick umber, sicker black. I comprehended nothing of what he said. Hob plummeted and hit the gym floor with a brutal, soft thud. At the top of his arc his dark head had been among the upper chains of the light fixtures. His meager shadow had crossed my face. He must have fallen twenty feet. The fat man smiled. No sweat stood out on his brow or lip. No blood dripped from his nose. “That’s how
said. “Then why did you come here,” said Alabama. Looking into my eyes. The way an optometrist does. With intent to prove how blind you are. I didn’t blame her. “What I want is to know what to do next,” I said. “Well, I can’t,” said Alabama. I interrupted her. “So does Charthouse. So would anyone. And I think it’s incumbent on you to have some say.” The chair sang on. I’d revved up my leg-twitching for the last part. What I’d been most afraid of saying. To tell a shooter with a recent death on