The Sixteen Burdens (The Burdens Trilogy, Book 1)

Written by David Khalaf
Review by Steve Donoghue

What if humanity’s great historical figures weren’t just talented — they were supernaturally talented? In this fresh spin on urban fantasy, history’s illustrious leaders, thinkers, warriors, and entertainers all share a secret…and a perilous destiny.”

The first volume in David Khalaf’s Burdens Trilogy, The Sixteen Burdens, presents readers with an exciting and thrillingly inventive mash-up of historical fiction and urban fantasy, with crime-fiction and mystery elements stirred in.

The time is late 1939, the so-called Golden Age of Hollywood, and Khalaf’s unlikely hero is “teenage ruffian” Gray Studebaker, who peddles maps of the homes of famous movie stars to make a living. As one after another of those stars are targeted for abduction and worse, Gray gets caught up in a behind-the-scenes drama more elaborate and unbelievable than any movie. A backstage world full of dangerous figures wielding superpowers, a world in which Khalaf blends obviously extensive research into the lives and personalities of such period stars as Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford with a very well-constructed supernatural world in which Gray has more of a pivotal role to play than at first seems likely.

The result is a drama full of history, action, and quite a bit of deadpan humor, all of it delivered with winning confidence.

This is an author and a series to watch.

Enthusiastically recommended.