Meet Callum, one of the talented magicians from Olivie Blake’s The Atlas Six

Each decade, only the six most talented magicians are selected to be considered for initiation into the Society of Alexandria…

We’re excited to share audio clips and excerpts from Olivie Blake The Atlas Six—the newly revised and edited edition is published March 1 with Tor Books and Macmillan Audio. Today we present to you Callum, voiced by Steve West in the audiobook narration. Check back all week for more content!

The Society of Alexandria, guardian of the lost knowledge of the greatest civilizations of antiquity, is the first secret society of magical academicians in the world. Those who earn a place among the Alexandrians will secure a life of wealth, power and prestige beyond their wildest dreams, and each decade only the six most talented magicians are selected to be considered for the initiation.

Enter the final round of six: Libby Rhodes and Nico de Varona, unwitting halves of an unfathomable whole, who exert uncanny control over every element of physicality. Reina Mori, a naturalist, who can guess the language of life itself. Parisa Kamali, a telepath who can traverse the depths of the subconscious, navigating the worlds inside the human mind. Callum Nova, an empath easily mistaken for a manipulative illusionist, who can influence the inner workings of a person’s inner self. Finally, there’s Tristan Caine, who can see through illusions a new structure of reality – an ability so rare that neither he nor his peers can fully grasp its implications.

When candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they will have one year to qualify for initiation, during which time they will have preliminary access to the Society’s archives and will be judged on their contributions to various subjects of impossibility: time and space, luck and thought, life and death. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. The six would-be insiders will fight to survive the next year of their lives, and if they can prove themselves the best among their rivals, most of them will.

Most of them.

Callum had a distinctly rare specialty as a would-be manipulator, and rarer still was his talent – far exceeding the common ability of any witch capable of casting at a basic level. He was smart to begin with, which meant convincing people to do exactly what he wanted must have been a considerable challenge before he really broke a sweat. He was also eternally looking for entertainment, and so the man at the door had to say very little for Callum to be convinced.

“Guardian,” Callum read aloud, peering at the map with his feet resting on his desk. He had arrived four hours late for work and neither the managing partner (his sister) nor the owner (his father) had anything to say about the meeting he had missed. He would make it up that afternoon, sitting for two minutes (it could be done in ninety seconds, but he would stay long enough to finish the espresso) with the customer Novas needed to get a complete portfolio. high-ranking illusionists for London Fashion Week. “Hope this is something interesting that you care about, Atlas Blakely.”

“It is,” Atlas said, standing up. “Must I pretend to see you, then?”

“Assumptions are dangerous,” Callum said, sensing the limits of Atlas’ interests. They were fuzzy and rough, not easily infected. He guessed that Atlas Blakely, whoever he was, had been warned of Callum’s special skills, which meant he must have dug deep to even discover his true nature. Anyone willing to do the dirty work was well worth a few minutes of time, according to Callum. “Who else is involved?”

“Five more.”

A good number, Callum thought. Quite exclusive, but statistically speaking, he might end up loving one in five people.

“Who is the most interesting?”

“Interesting is subjective,” Atlas said.

“So, me, then,” Callum guessed.

Atlas smiled humorlessly. “You are not uninteresting, Mr. Nova, though I suspect this will be the first time you’ve encountered a room full of people as rare as yourself.”

“Intriguing,” Callum said, lifting his feet off the desk to lean forward. “Nevertheless, I would like to know more about them.”

Atlas raised an eyebrow. “You have no interest in knowing about the opportunity itself, Mr. Nova?”

“If I want it, it’s mine,” Callum said with a shrug. “I can always wait and make that decision later. More interesting than the game is always the players, you know. Well, I guess more specifically,” he amended, “the game is different for different players.”

Extract of The Atlas Six© copyright 2202 by Olivie Blake

Brian L. Hartfield