The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry

Sparks fly in this enchanting fantasy novel from the author of Unnatural Magic when a down-and-out fire witch and a young gentlewoman join forces against a deadly conspiracy.

Dellaria Wells, petty con artist, occasional thief, and partly educated fire witch, is behind on her rent in the city of Leiscourt—again. Then she sees the “wanted” sign, seeking Female Persons, of Martial or Magical ability, to guard a Lady of some Importance, prior to the celebration of her Marriage. Delly fast-talks her way into the job and joins a team of highly peculiar women tasked with protecting their wealthy charge from unknown assassins.
Delly quickly sets her sights on one of her companions, the confident and well-bred Winn Cynallum. The job looks like nothing but romance and easy money until things take a deadly (and undead) turn. With the help of a bird-loving necromancer, a shapeshifting schoolgirl, and an ill-tempered reanimated mouse named Buttons, Delly and Winn are determined to get the best of an adversary who wields a twisted magic and has friends in the highest of places.


"Waggoner makes a delightful return to the vibrant, Victorian England–inspired world of Unnatural Magic for a rollicking standalone fantasy featuring a scrappy but endearing heroine[...]With this winning ensemble adventure, Waggoner again proves her skill at crafting immersive, historically flavored fantasy."

Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"Waggoner’s characters absolutely shine, and she writes with an ear for the cadence and rhythm of their voices, from the streetside lingo of Delly in all her alley-speech glory to the parlor room parlance upon which mysteries and thrillers are born—Agatha Christie in design and Pratchett-esque in execution, but all very much her own."

"There's great fun in figuring out the rules of the game[...]Delly is an engaging heroine, at once magically aggressive and socially uncertain, and she leads us into a milieu both strange and, in a literary way, familiar."

The Wall Street Journal

"Whether it’s the magic, the adventure or the crazy language, The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry is just rollicking good fun."

Fantasy Literature