The City of Lost Fortunes

With mysticism emanating from every page, Bryan Camp paints a stunningly deceptive post-Katrina New Orleans in his debut, The City of Lost Fortunes. Deities from all walks of mythology weave among the realms of the living and dead as humans go about their days.

Camp's protagonist, Jude Dubuisson, exists in both the sphere of mortals and that of gods. He's never met his father but possesses a special gift passed through their shared lineage; he can find lost things. This ability serves him well in conjunction with his earthly role as a magician, but it's turned on its head when Hurricane Katrina hits the Big Easy. With the chaos, destruction and all-around havoc, losses are everywhere: people, things, dreams, futures. Jude is overwhelmed by his power and the sheer magnitude of destruction. He remains quietly in his corner of New Orleans until he is summoned to a decrepit shotgun house hidden in the Garden District. Here he finds five deities around a card table, with an open seat for him. The game they're playing is unlike anything Jude's ever experienced: Fortunes. "Nothin's wild, everything's open. Prosperity trumps calamity," Dodge, the Fortune god, informs the players. From there, Jude is pulled back into a world he's tried so hard to leave behind.

Camp succeeds in creating an alluringly magical fantasy realm, and he also knits it seamlessly into the reality of a vibrant New Orleans. The City of Lost Fortunes is a composition as stunning as the music that springs from its Louisiana setting. Play on, Bryan Camp, play on. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

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