The Last Days of Magic – Mark Tompkins

About the Book

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.

400 pages (hardcover)
Published by Viking
Published on March 1, 2016
Author’s webpage
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This book was sent by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Have you ever read a book that impressed you so much you had to chew on it a while before you could even really talk about it? I’m not just talking about a good book. I’m talking about the kind of book that completely alters how you define good books.

Yeah, The Last Days of Magic is like that.

I absolutely love a good historical fantasy, but they tend to all have their own issues where authors obviously focus on one aspect too much and another aspect pays for it (also, I’m picky). I didn’t really run into that with The Last Days of Magic. In fact, the research and historical detail is so well done, and woven throughout the novel that it’s really hard to tell where the actual history ends, and the fantasy begins. That’s exactly how I love my historical fantasy – it’s a perfect circle.

Tomkins had to do an incredible amount of research to write this book. It really does boggle my mind. I can’t imagine how long it must have taken him to do it all, and it had to be a kind of exciting/frustrating process on his part, but it really pays off in the novel. There is so much detail and depth here, and I learned a lot, when I didn’t really expect to. What I loved the most, however, was that Tomkins didn’t just tell a story about a period of history, he actually wrote a book that sort of tells how a lot of these myths that we hear of now (fae, etc) started, and how they fit into the world’s history and to a certain extent, our current events.

There are numerous points of view in this novel, and I was really surprised at how quickly I took to all of them. The book itself starts out kind of dark, with a threat looming, and Aisling losing everything she has ever loved very early on and having to learn to exist in a sort of half-life. On the other side, we have Jordan, who starts sort of dark but quickly turns into a thread of hope in the novel.

The Last Days of Magic is a sprawling, vast epic in just about ever sense. There’s blood and passion, love and loss, tragedy and hope. With how easy it was for me to really, genuinely care about all the characters in the novel, I was just about instantly engaged and feeling all sorts of emotions far more powerfully than I expected as I read this book. The plot is intricate and while some points move a bit faster than others, there is something riveting happening all the time. But most importantly…

This is one of those books that makes you feel.

The Last Days of Magic does take some getting used to. The book is told in linear fashion, but there are flashbacks and point of view jumps, and some historical detail dumps (they are interesting, trust me). However, all of this does take some getting used to. Once readers adjust to Tomkin’s style, the book will absolutely fly.

The Last Days of Magic absolutely blew me away. Hands down, this is one of the best historical fantasy books I’ve ever read. Tomkin’s has a love of detail, a knack for bringing history to life, and a real skill with exploring complex and weighty relationship of truth and myth.

I’m not sure why you’re still reading this. Go read the book! Read it!


This book is too good to rate.

One Responses

  • A publisher rep pitched the Mark Tompkins sec book as “the next Lord of the Rings;”
    I chided her for saying so.
    While her comparison was faulty, her recommendation was not. Mark N Tompkins wrote a book that has much to my liking. It is focused in Ireland, not Finland, but it has more in common with The Kalevala, which inspired Tolkien, than it does with his own works. He certainly would not have condoned the use of biblical verses and portrayal of the Catholic Church, to which he belonged. The less said about him and the more acclaim for the accomplishment of this novel, the better. Could it be called Shakespearean, although it pre-dates him and has Chaucer as a character?

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