The Dark Backward
Magda, a career cutpurse, has been hired to recover the lost manuscripts of Fabrizio Yatushenko, the greatest poet in Yazik. To guarantee her success, she has hired the infamous sorcerer, Hildigrim Blackbeard, who seems quite knowledgeable-indeed, a bit too knowledgeable-about the manuscripts in question. With the documents in hand, they flee to the estate of Lady Mary, Countess of Cinquefoil, and her young daughter, Lena, who takes an eager interest in their mysterious guests. Unfortunately, this interest proves her undoing, as she finds a strange book in the crates...a book that writes by itself as she turns the pages, killing off important people with every sentence.
Magda learns that this book is nothing less than The Dark Backward, the oldest book of wizardry and spellcraft. Even worse, it seems to have chosen Lena as its amanuensis, urging her to fill the pages with endless predictions of death and murder. To silence the book, Magda must become Hildigrim's apprentice and learn to trust magic instead of her instincts as a thief...though Hildigrim is already dead and at least two astrologers and a magician from the ancient past are in desperate pursuit.