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“Moving from ancient Russia to the dawn of the New World, stretching into an endless future, but mainly rushing madly around postwar Paris, Babayaga covers a lot of ground. Vengeful witches hunt, charm, and wage battle. Evil scientists hatch sinister plans. A dashing spy runs a crew of outcast mercenaries. A good-hearted police inspector stays on his case, even in the form of a flea! And hapless Will, ad man/CIA informant, is caught in the whirlwind, which just might be the best thing that's ever happened to him. Babayaga crackles with an electric energy driven by its hilariously inventive plot, clever prose, and outrageously eccentric cast of characters.”
— Sara Hinckley, Hudson Booksellers, Marietta, GA
The year is 1959, and strange events are brewing in Paris, a city where nothing (and no one) is as it seems.
We meet Will, who hails from Detroit and works at an international advertising agency, which is also a front for the CIA. Then there's the enchanting Zoya, who could cast a spell with her looks--and, as a witch, she often does (she also recently impaled her ex on a spike).
Inspector Vidot, on the other hand, is a hardworking police detective who cherishes a quiet evening at home. Until he follows a lead on a particularly gruesome murder--and finds himself turned into a flea. And the adventure wouldn't be complete without Oliver, a fun-loving American patrician who has come to Paris to launch a literary journal with the support of certain secretive friends.
Add a few chance encounters, a chorus of angry witches, and a weaponized LSD program, and you have Toby Barlow's Babayaga a wickedly sharp tale of the City of Light that's part love story, part thriller, and pure brilliance.
“This supernatural-spy-thriller-romance-history is one of the most entertaining books you’ll read [this season]—or decade.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Tolkien meets Graham Greene meets Anne Rice in this wild, surrealistic caper.”—New York magazine
“A fun brew of witches, CIA spies, and fraught romance....Barlow casts a magical spell.”—People
“Barlow is adept at combining unexpected genres....When Barlow began writing fiction, he has said, he was ‘blessed by Plimpton’s spirit of making the impossible possible.’ This book continues in that tradition: It’s an absurd hybrid that winds up as a bewitching caper novel.”—Los Angeles Times
“Toby Barlow is a warlock. Babayaga is his potion. Drink up.”—Robin Sloan, New York Times bestselling author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore