Putney, M.J. Stolen Magic. A book of romantic fantasy in which Guardians, those with magical powers, attempt to prevent rogue mages from misusing their powers. Simon Malmain is a hunter, a Guardian who hunts rogue mages and strips them of their powers. However, Simon underestimates Lord Drayton, who has been stealing magic from others and keeping them in thrall in order to use their magic to augment his power.
Simon's confrontation goes wrong when Drayton channels the power of one of his thralls and transforms Simon into a unicorn. Drayton intends to kill Simon and use the unique power of the unicorn's horn to defeat the Guardian's and change the world. Simon manages to escape, but is recaptured when he is irresistibly drawn to a virgin. Mad Meggie realizes that she has been used and later frees the unicorn and escapes with him. The battle to prevent Drayton's mad plan makes up the majority of the book.
Although the book reads very quickly, there are some areas that don't quite work. In Simon's original confrontation with Drayton, he says he has gathered sufficient evidence to confict him, but when the Guardian Council meets, the evidence is lacking, and Drayton is exonerated. If the evidence was available initially, why wasn't it produced at the trial? Another area that I found intrusive was the "steamy sex" -- not terribly graphic, but seemingly inserted to appeal to a particular audience. In my opinion, these scenes distracted from the story, coming as interruptions rather than integral parts of the story.
It was a light read in the midst of a couple of nonfiction works. An interesting concept, but not entirely satisfying. I enjoyed it as a quick, magical, frivolous relief from nonfiction, but it won't make my list of really great fantasy.
Fiction. Fantasy. 2005. 337 pages.