A short story on TOR.com.
A Spell of Vengeance introduces Ethan Kaille who is a thieftaker, a former convict, and a conjurer in Colonial Boston. Using magic is illegal, not to mention feared by the masses, so Ethan does his best to conceal his skills. However, Suffolk County’s sheriff Stephen Greenleaf has strong suspicions about him, but no proof, yet. So, Ethan is very surprised when the sheriff brings two merchants to meet him. A witch is thretening the men and they are looking for someone to protect them. They pay well and even the sheriff agrees not to arrest him, so Ethan agrees. However, things are not as they seem.
The story is set in Colonial America which is currently at war with the French. Magic works but it’s illegal which is no wonder because the magic we see in this story works with conjuring dead spirits with blood. For each spell Ethan conjures his spirit guide whom he calls Uncle Reg and speaks a phrase in Latin.
Ethan is an unusual protagonist. He’s definitely an adult and has a limp from his years in prison. Some people don’t want anything to do with him because he’s a former convict. He’s a thieftaker which seems to mean that he can find objects which have been stolen. I was very intrigued to find out that his chief rival thieftaker is a woman “and her thugs”. Jackson’s novel Thieftaker will come out next month so I’m hoping to see more of the rivalry. Ethan seems like a likable protagonist (although I must confess that my mental image of him is of Ethan Rayne, from Buffy. But this Ethan seems to have a backbone. For one thing, he keeps his word even if it’s not the wisest thing to do.)