Blaze of Glory, by Michael Pryor

Before the accident, Aubrey knew he would have completed the challenge without difficulty…he’d always managed to surprise people with his determination in running, boxing or games. Boys much larger than him had learned that provoking skinny Aubrey to fight could be a poor idea. He could drag himself over broken glass if he set his mind to it.
But since the disastrous magical experiment, things were different. Balanced on the edge of true death as he was, physical strain – even emotional strain – could tip him over. He only kept the semblance of a normal existence by a combination of arcane spells and strength of mind. If his magic failed, it would be the end of him.

Aubrey Fitzwilliam is far from being an ordinary boy. His father is an ex-prime minister, his grandmother a dame, and he himself is a skilled magician. But it his magic which has landed him in trouble – because technically Aubrey is dead, even though those around him are unaware of the fact. To complicate matters, two prominent magicians have dies in suspicious circumstances, and an attempt to assassinate the Crown Prince is foiled when Aubrey and his friend George disturb a Golem sent to perform the assassination.

Blaze of Glory is the first in Michael Pryor’s Laws of Magic series, and a first instalment which will have readers eagerly seeking out the next. Aubrey is a nicely flawed main character – good at so many things, but rash and a little arrogant, and unable to communicate with the girl who takes his eye. There is plenty of action and a fantasy world which is delightfully parallel to the real world of pre-World War One, with notable differences including the existence and acceptance of magic.

Suitable for teens and for adult readers, this outstanding tale is as good as fantasy gets.

Blaze of Glory (Laws of Magic)

Blaze of Glory, by Michael Pryor
Random House, 2006