14 must-read SFF releases that will make your September magical

The Lost Book of the White by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu. Image Courtesy Simon & Schuster
The Lost Book of the White by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu. Image Courtesy Simon & Schuster /
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The Left-Handed Booksellers of London – Garth Nix

In this latest novel from the author of Angel Mage, one girl’s quest to find her father leads her to an extended family of magical fighting booksellers who police the mythical Old World of England.

Um, sign me up right now?

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London feels a bit like Kingsman: The Secret Service, but populated by people who love books and wield magical artifacts, rather than, say, finely tailored suits and guns with umbrellas hidden inside. It’s kind of a similar vibe, except the bookshops in this universe are much more specific and special than the tailor’s storefront in the movie.

Set in 1983, the story follows eighteen-year-old Susan Arkshaw, who’s in London looking for the father she never knew. Instead, what she discovers is a young boy named Merlin, part of a clan of special booksellers who handle the stray supernatural creatures that cross into our world from myth and folklore. But when Susan finds herself targeted by a dark force, she, Merlin, and her new friends must figure out why.

The official synopsis describes the story in much more detail.

"In a slightly alternate London in 1983, Susan Arkshaw is looking for her father, a man she has never met. Crime boss Frank Thringley might be able to help her, but Susan doesn’t get time to ask Frank any questions before he is turned to dust by the prick of a silver hatpin in the hands of the outrageously attractive Merlin. Merlin is a young left-handed bookseller (one of the fighting ones), who with the right-handed booksellers (the intellectual ones), are an extended family of magical beings who police the mythic and legendary Old World when it intrudes on the modern world, in addition to running several bookshops. Susan’s search for her father begins with her mother’s possibly misremembered or misspelt surnames, a reading room ticket, and a silver cigarette case engraved with something that might be a coat of arms. Merlin has a quest of his own, to find the Old World entity who used ordinary criminals to kill his mother. As he and his sister, the right-handed bookseller Vivien, tread in the path of a botched or covered-up police investigation from years past, they find this quest strangely overlaps with Susan’s. Who or what was her father? Susan, Merlin, and Vivien must find out, as the Old World erupts dangerously into the New."

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London is available on September 22.