Wow, Harriet dear really is just phoning it in now.
Ok, the first paragraph is ok. She should have stuck with that and not gotten into details (those pesky details that prove you've actually read something to read it, not skimmed it for your review pile.)
Sir Richard Whitestone was an Earth Master, as his family before him, tuned to the elements of hearth, home, and healing. He was called to London to capture and kill a dreaded Necromancer, practicer of forbidden blood and spirit-binding magics. Just part of his duty as a "good" magician and Master to help protect the innocent. While away in London, his beloved wife dies in childbed, and as he sees her lying dead hours later, he blames it on Susanne, their newborn daughter.
He forgets his grief by isolating himself on his magic-filled second-floor, poring over tomes of dusty magic practice, while Susanne is raised by the servants in the equally-isolated Yorkshire moors.
After 20 years, grief and desperate desire have driven Sir Richard to become what he once hated, and with his need for a perfect "vessel" for his wife's spirit, he chances to see Susanne out on the moors, and realizes that she is the perfect image of his wife. Now his hatred and bitterness has an outlet. Now all he must do is catch her.
Now, I won't go any further to avoid spoilers, but here's some highlights.
Susanne is feisty, spunky, and a better magician than her father, with an interesting magical sponsor.
Sir Richard is suitably mad, and totally misogynistic. I think the progression of his obsession with Susanne came up a little quickly, but otherwise, he's an excellent villain.
Lords Peter and Charles are interesting, and the sections with Peter and his man Garrick (especially the "impersonating a mad artist" bits) out investigating in Yorkshire are quite fun. I love the way Charles' manor and holdings and people are described.
The tale gets very dark around the midpoint, with the intro of WWI into the characters' lives. Everyone is threatened both by war, and by the mad, unimaginable power that Sir Richard now posesses.
Some slight flaws:
At the very beginning, Sir Richard gets magical 'poisoning' from being in London for only a week or so, due to the death and pollution and etc, but later on, Susanne is living in London for months with no ill effects. Likewise on the battlefields of France, with death and poison and shattered magical earth-bonds, there's no mention of this causing trouble. Perhaps a niggling point, but it bugged me enough to take me out of the story at several different places.
In another type of niggle, Susanne herself, other than having a mad father, isn't ever really challenged or directly threatened magically. She deals with any number of difficulties, but these aren't ever exactly threats. That, coupled with the insistence on her magical prowess (which we never really see either) made everything seem slightly unreal, and a litle less dramatic - I wasn't ever worried for her.
Last niggle, the "love triangle" was totally unnecessary, and really wasn't handled as well as it could have been. Either make it more realistic, or leave it out entirely, I don't care which. Please don't throw silly love stories into something which otherwise tries hard to be a gritty portrayal of people dealing with the horrors of the undead and of WWI in the trenches. The contrasts do neither storyline any good at all.
Niggles totally aside, a very fun read, and totally worth the 2 hours of sleep that it cost me to finish last night.