Most people only see what’s in front of them, be it a monstrous intellect or a beautiful fiction.
Crimson Smoke’s first conscious memory is of their appearance in the woods outside of town on a backwater island. Their only friend, the reclusive half-Jotunn investigator known as the Emerald Flame, plans to catch a thief in what he assumes will be a simple case. But when a government agent turns up dead, the pair soon find themselves on the hunt for much more dangerous prey.
As the clues in the dead man’s bed lead them deeper into the heart of the island, Crimson discovers there is more than one mystery to unravel. According to Emerald, Crimson is a being made of little more than light and magic, but the genderfluid “sidekick” believes they are much more than that. They make a bet: if Crimson can solve the mystery of the secretive village hidden in the highlands, Emerald will finally admit that Crimson is a person in their own right.
With each new clue, however, Crimson learns more about their creator’s tormented past and the history of the village itself. Emerald is keeping dark secrets of his own, and Crimson may have more in common with the murderer than either of them would have believed.
For years, the outcast Emerald Flame has traveled the world, solving mysteries that only a magic-wielder could unravel. But when his imaginary friend gains a mind of their own, both are forced to grapple with their identities as well as the enchanted forces working against them.
A high-fantasy mystery perfect for fans of J. R. R. Tolkien and Arthur Conan Doyle!