Arcanum 101 by Rosemary Edghill
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Fifteen-year-old Tomas Torres, the son of an immigrant family who are just barely making it, gets picked up by the police for doing some work for the local padrone (collector). For this work, Tomas has made $1000 a week, a lot of money by anyone's count. But what is the work? What is Tomas arrested for? Arson, but arson that cannot be explained. Tomas has a most unusual gift: he is a fire-starter--he can start fires with sheer force of will that flame from the tips of his fingers. More, he can will fireballs to hurl at his enemies or opponents, and he can incinerate any evidence. But the courts decide they have enough to convict young Tomas and send him off to a school (which Tomas believes to be a kind of jail): St. Rhiannon's School for the Gifted and Exceptional Student.

At St. Rhiannon's, Tomas soon finds that he is not alone. St. Rhia's, as they call it, is a school for students of all ages with "gifts" like Tomas's: students who are pre-cogs, storm-callers, witches, healers, wizards, techno-shamans, psionics, firestarters, teleporters, psychics, sensitives and much, much more. Things he could never have imagined happen at St. Rhia's, and in time Tomas comes to feel less alone. He begins to believe in what he actually sees (astral warriors, for example) and all that he is taught by his attractive young mentor, VeeVee.

All students at St. Rhia's are attempting to learn to control their gifts. Tomas, too, must learn about the ethics and the laws of magic (of which he knows nothing) and more, how to control the strength and force of his fire.

Join Tomas and his friends as they journey through St. Rhia's and beyond, both through the outside world and through magical Gates to the magical worlds of Chaos and other kingdoms where their gifts will be tested. If they succeed, their powers will take on new relevance and meaning.


Mercedes Lackey is a well-known author of fantasy novels, and she often collaborates with other authors. She is known for her Valdemar novels (which involve complicated stories about relationships between human and non-human beings) and that bring into the story all manner of cultural issues such as social mores and ethics.

While the structure (outer structure) of Lackey's world in her writing resembles our world as we know it, the world within the world is one that is inhabited by vampires, fire-starters, witches, elves, magicians, sensitives, wizards and the like all who can work powerful magic in our world through different portals (as in this book). Lackey lives with her husband outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma in a house that is a 2 and 1/2 story concrete dome with an octagonal wooden shell placed over it; a house that is as unusual as the stories she creates.

Rosemary Edghill is the pseudonym for the American writer and editor eluki bes shahar (her legal name) who publishes work that is science fiction, fantasy, and romance. She collaborates here with Mercedes Lackey. Edghill was born in 1956.

About Rosemary Edghill

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Published January 7, 2012 by RosettaBooks. 195 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Arcanum 101

Shiny Book Review

And as Tomas has adventure after adventure (some with VeeVee, some not), he starts to realize that the world as he knew it is a whole lot bigger — and a whole lot deadlier — than he’d ever imagined.

Oct 21 2012 | Read Full Review of Arcanum 101: Welcome New Stud...

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