A Conventicle of Magpies by LMR Clarke

A Conventicle of Magpies
LMR Clarke-Bloodskills Duology 1 600px


We are thrilled to share this amazing new book! A Conventicle of Magpies is the first book in the Bloodskills duology, and today we have an exclusive excerpt for you and a chance to win a signed copy of the book!


A Conventicle of Magpies

Rating: 4/5 stars

Genre: Gaslamp Fantasy, Adventure, Steampunk

Publication Date: January 6th, 2021



Rook is a thief, and entirely unapologetic about it as she’s determined to do anything to ensure her mother and siblings survive the squalid and dangerous streets of Stamchester.

Rook slips in and out of the homes of the ruling elite of Stamchester, the Avanish,like a shadow taking what she needs without regret.

Why should she? Had the Avanish not stolen her own people, the Saouiasei, from their own homes years before and transported them across the ocean to Stamchester to work as virtual slaves?

And, now the Avanish had no more use for Rook and her people, where they not determined to dispose of them?

The Avanish had already laid waste to a swathe of Saouiasei homes, a region which had become known as ‘The Scar’, in an attempt to drive them out?

However, Rook was not the only person hiding in the shadows. A far more dangerous figure was haunting the filthy streets of Stamchester striking fear into Avanish and Saouiasei alike; Billy Drainer, a serial killer who not only murdered his victims but drained them of every ounce of their precious, life giving blood.

For within blood was a highly sought after commodity, the ability to enhance a person’s natural abilities through the art of Bloodskill. To be faster and stronger than a normal person was something those with money were willing to pay handsomely for.



‘A Conventicle of Magpies’ is a fast-paced gaslamp fantasy adventure set in a Victorian-inspired world. Perfect for fans of Charlie N. Holmberg’s Spellbreaker and Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.

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About the Author

I’m LMR Clarke, though you can call me Rain, and I’m a writer from Northern Ireland. I’m thirty-something, a parent, and a teacher. I love books and I also draw.

I’m an enby (non-binary) and am still finding my way! My stories are all about identity and acceptance, and trying to find your place in the world.

LMR Clarke| Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube




Safe and sound in the Magpie’s Nest, Rook divested herself of her corseted dress and heels and returned to the comfort of a shirt and trousers. The young woman fell into an armchair, threw her booted feet onto the battered coffee table, and plucked up a newspaper. Even though she’d been out all day, she hadn’t seen the latest in the Stamchester Review. As she scanned the page, Rook shook her head, and a lock of black hair fell over her face.


At two o’clock this morning, a police constable came upon the scene of yet another gruesome murder. The body, which has not yet been identified, was found on the southbank end of the Buxridge Bridge. Like the other five bodies found in similar circumstances over the last few months, the corpse appeared to be drained of every last ounce of blood. Suspicion for this killing falls once more on the elusive fiend known only as Billy Drainer, although Inspector Kip Kerstammen declined to comment on this observation.

Rook licked her thumb and flicked to the next page. Inches and inches of news stretched through the broadsheet, as always full of sensationalism and very little fact. Only two parties enjoyed Stamchester’s string of murders: so-called Billy Drainer himself, whoever he was, and the newspapers. Both made significant gains from the events. News was always a profitable commodity in Stamchester, but blood was more valuable than gold. Those corpses weren’t bloodless for no reason.

A cough came from the doorway. Rook glanced up from the grim columns. A slim figure stood in the doorway, a tiny girl at the end of her teenage years. Pigeon stood in the low doorframe that led to the main Nest bar and jerked her head. The action sent her mass of dark curls tumbling to one side.



*Spoiler free review*

As a whole, this story captured my attention from the get go. Coming off of a pretty serious months long reading slump, this was the perfect story for me to pick up. The characters are gripping, the world is fascinating, the premise is unique, and the problems almost tangible. I dove right into the story and didn’t want to put it down as soon as I’d started. I can’t wait to continue on in this world as soon as more exists. If that’s not a fantastic end to a reading slump, I don’t know what is.

This story is such an interesting concept. I adore learning more about the Bloodskills and the way different people are able to harness the powers. It’s extremely clever to use blood typing the way they did in this story. It helps make the story seem more real, more plausible even though magic doesn’t exist that way in the real world. Adding blood sickness to the lore of this world is a really clever touch, something that gives the story even more depth.

Rook herself is such an enjoyable main character to read about. Being the top of her field, it’s easy to see the skill through which she does things. Yet she’s by no means perfect. She’s got a tempter to her that’s enjoyable to read about. (Okay, enjoyable might not be right right word for it. I don’t think you’re supposed to “enjoy” someone having a temper…) Of course, she’s pretty good at keeping this temper in check when she needs to. But it’s always there, just below the surface.

In general, I adore reading about outlaws, thieves, etc. Being someone who always tries to follow the rules and the laws of society, it’s a great escape for me to slip into a life like this. I wish I had the bravery and conviction that Rook has in everything she does. I wish I had the tenacity to go out and do what needs to be done… even when there’s a serial killer on the loose.

The political unrest that’s in this series is a very loud undertone throughout everyone’s actions and decisions. It’s clear just how deep the hatred lies on both sides. Heck, it’s even clear in the ways that Billy Drainer selects his victims. While political reads aren’t necessarily my favourite, this story covers the politics behind slavery and racism in a way that helps drive the story forward. It doesn’t detract anything from the actions of the characters – instead it enhances them. It’s sickening the fact that parallels can be made between A Conventicle of Magpies and the world around us, but to me that just helped make this story even more powerful.

If you’re looking for a fun, fast paced Steampunk story, you can’t go wrong by picking up A Conventicle of Magpies.



Click the link below for a chance to win a signed edition of A Conventicle of Magpies (International)

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A Conventicle of Magpies

Book Tour Schedule

February 1st

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

Books Rambling and Tea (Review) https://booksramblingsandtea.com/

Debjani’s Thoughts (Spotlight) https://debjanisthoughts.wordpress.com/

Phantom of the Library (Review) https://phantomofthelibrary.com/

@brendajeancombs (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/brendajeancombs/

The Faerie Review (Spotlight) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

February 2nd

Gwendalyn’s Books (Review) https://gwendalynbooks.blog/

I Smell Sheep (Review) http://www.ismellsheep.com/

Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

I’m All About Books (Spotlight) https://imallaboutbooks.com/

February 3rd

Rambling Mads (Review) http://ramblingmads.com

@better_0ff_read (Spotlight w/ Review to follow) https://www.instagram.com/BETTER_0FF_READ/

@joanna.zoe (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/joanna.zoe/?igshid=1xipr7pa6a9zl

@_ebl_inc_ (Review) https://www.instagram.com/_ebl_inc_/

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/the_magic_of_worlds/

February 4th

Book Review Crew (Review) https://bookreviewcrew.blogspot.com

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/

Sophril Reads (Review) http://sophrilreads.wordpress.com

@dreaminginpages (Review) https://www.instagram.com/dreaminginpages/

February 5th

@ypsylynn (Spotlight w/ Review to Follow) https://www.instagram.com/jypsylynn/

Bonnie Reads & Writes (Review) https://bonniereadsandwrites.wordpress.com

The Invisible Moth (Review) https://daleydowning.wordpress.com

Michelle Meng’s Book Blog 3 (Review) http://michellemengsbookblog3.simplesite.com/

@hoardingbooks.herdingcats (Review)  https://www.instagram.com/hoardingbooks.herdingcats/



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