Academia Meets the Occult

Good afternoon fairy-tale enthusiasts!

A little while back I reviewed a collection of folk tales from Nordland Publishing. Though not directly related to fairy tales, my interest was piqued again when Nordland Publishing mentioned a new book to me in which academia intersects with the occult. Having been involved in the academic world since 2003, I couldn’t resist!

So I was sent a copy of The Guardian: Blood in the Sand by MJ Kobernus, the first instalment of The Guardian series.




It’s the story of an ordinary academic named Philip Entwhistle. You can’t help but love this unlikely hero – a boyish and bookish historian, who’s office is a mess, and who frequently falls asleep at his laptop.

But one minute he’s plodding along with the usual business of research, and the next his investigations are leading him into a world of witches, spells, djinn, romance, and magical visions of the past. It’s about time academia got a bit sexy and mysterious, am I right?

There were a few moments when I wished that there was a bit of magic to help me along in academia. In one scene, Philip awakes from a dream to find that he’s somehow written 7,000 words of his research manuscript without even realising it. Why couldn’t that have happened during my PhD?? Anyone else have major research envy here?

There were a few nice touches in this book. I let out a little squeal of delight when I realised that together the chapter titles form a poem! I also enjoyed the quotes that opened each chapter – from Shakespeare, to Kierkegaard, to the Arabian Nights.

Of course, the book ends with a little bit of a cliffhanger to prepare for the next instalment, The Guardian: Blood in the Snow. I must admit, I’ve gotten a little attached to dear Mr Entwhistle, so I look forward to seeing how things turn out for him.

If you’d like to read The Guardian: Blood in the Sand, you can get a copy here.


Enchanted regards,
Dr Belinda Calderone
Monash Fairy Tale Salon





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One response to “Academia Meets the Occult

  1. bowneps

    It’s great to see this reviewed! I read a pre-copy last year and enjoyed it a lot. Thanks for promoting academic fantasy. It’s a great genre without a good home, and it would be wonderful if we developed a ‘watering hole’ of sorts where we could come together and discuss it.

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