Imagine an America where, instead of states governed by a central government, you have kingdoms rules by kings. Oh, and there's magic, too. Throw in a dozen or so colorful characters, an army of human/animal hybrids, and a few undead assassins and you have Dave Butler's Witchy Eye.
Of course, I'm not doing the book justice. It's an amazing alternative history set in 1800s America. The book's hero is Sarah Calhoun, fifteen, growing up in Appalachia embarks on a journey to New Orleans to find a soldier, a man who fought with Sarah's father. Sarah, who wears a patch over her eye, is not only the daughter of a famous general, but also a queen.
Butler weaves the Sarah's story, the story of those vowed to follow her, and those in her company seamlessly. One aspect of the story I especially liked was the lack of an organized and well-defined magic system. I've heard the author speak several times on the topic. The magic in Witch Eye is always understandable. Butler uses magic the way a cook used different spices to flavor the meal, or in this case, the story. Too much and it ruins everything.
This is not then end of Sarah Calhoun. More books are on the way, which makes me happy. There are so many small details interwoven into the storylines, I could read it again and again and get something new each time. Butler created a world full of wonder, intrigue, goodness, and horror. where good battles evil, power and pain. And he's done a masterful job of it.