Written by British author Tom Holt, J. W. Wells & Co. is a humorous fantasy series about a fictitious firm of magicians in modern London. But J.W. Wells & Co. is not any firm, it’s the one from the light operetta The Sorcerer by Gilbert and Sullivan, and its leaders are ready to do anything to remain on top.
It’s something that Paul Carpenter, or any new hires to be honest, will discover and quickly finds himself a bit over his head. Because the business of magic is a competitive one, you will risk (and lose your life), if you’re not just wind up transformed into a piece of office equipment.
How to read the J. W. Wells & Co. Series in Order?
Every entry in the J. W. Wells & Co. book series works as a standalone story, but the lives of the different characters evolve from one novel to the other.
- The Portable Door – Starting a new job is always stressful (particularly when you don’t particularly want one), but when Paul Carpenter arrives at the office of H.W. Wells he has no idea what trouble lies in store. Because he is about to discover that the apparently respectable establishment now paying his salary is in fact a front for a deeply sinister organisation that has a mighty peculiar agenda. It seems that half the time his bosses are away with the fairies. But they’re not, of course. They’re away with the goblins.
- In Your Dreams – Ever been offered a promotion that seems too good to be true? You know – the sort they’d be insane to be offering to someone like you. The kind where you snap their arm off to accept, then wonder why all your long-serving colleagues look secretly relieved, as if they’re off some strange and unpleasant hook … It’s the kind of trick that deeply sinister companies like J.W. Wells & Co. pull all the time. Especially with employees who are too busy mooning over the office intern to think about what they’re getting into. And it’s why, right about now, Paul Carpenter is wishing he’d paid much less attention to the gorgeous Melze, and rather more to a little bit of job description small print referring to ‘pest’ control …
- Earth, Air, Fire, and Custard – J.W. Wells seemed to be a respectable establishment, but the company now paying Paul Carpenter’s salary is in fact a deeply sinister organisation with a mighty peculiar management team. Paul thought he was getting the hang of it (particularly when he fell head over heels for his strangely alluring colleague Sophie), but death is never far away when you work at J.W. Wells. Unlike the stapler – that’s always going awol. Our lovestruck hero is about to discover that custard is definitely in the eye of the beholder. And that it really stings.
- You Don’t Have to Be Evil to Work Here, But It Helps – Colin Hollinghead is a young man going nowhere fast. Working for his dad might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but starting at the bottom in the widget-making industry has, predictably, lost its appeal. And now the business is in trouble. At least his father has a plan to turn things around-a new work force that will improve profit margins and secure the company’s future for all eternity. The deal looks great on paper, but they do say that the devil is in the detail-and the arch fiend definitely seems to be involved in some capacity. Colin needs help. Perhaps his new friend from J.W. Wells & Co. can help…
- The Better Mousetrap – It touches all our lives; our triumphs and tragedies, our proudest achievements, our most traumatic disasters. Alloyed of love and fear, death and fire, and the inscrutable acts of the gods, insurance is indeed the force that binds the universe together. Hardly surprising, therefore, that Frank Carpenter, one of the foremost magical practitioners of our age, felt himself irresistibly drawn to it. Until, that is, he met Jane, a high-flying corporate heroine with an annoying habit of falling out of trees and getting killed. Repeatedly. It’s not long before Frank and Jane find themselves face to face with the greatest enigma of our times: When is a door not a door? When it’s a mousetrap.
- May Contain Traces of Magic – There are all kinds of products. The good ones. The bad ones. The ones that stay in the garage mouldering for years until your garden gnome makes a home out of it. Most are harmless if handled properly, even if they do contain traces of peanuts. But some are not-not the ones that contain traces of magic. Chris Popham wasn’t paying enough attention when he talked to his SatNav. Sure, she gave him directions, never talked back to him, and always led him to his next spot on the map with perfect accuracy. She was the best thing in his life. So was it really his fault that he didn’t start paying attention when she talked to him? In his defence, that was her job. But when “Take the next right” turned into “Excuse me,” that was when the real trouble started. Because sometimes a SatNav isn’t a SatNav. Sometimes it’s an imprisoned soul trapped inside a metal box that will do anything it can to get free. And some products you just can’t return.
- Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Sausages – Polly is a real estate solicitor. She is also losing her mind. Someone keeps drinking her coffee. And talking to her clients. And doing her job. And when she goes to the dry cleaner’s to pick up her dress for the party, it’s not there. Not the dress — the dry cleaner’s. And then there are the chickens who think they are people. Something strange is definitely going on — and it’s going to take more than a magical ring to sort it out.
- The Eight Reindeer of the Apocalypse – The team of commercial sorcerers at Dawson, Ahriman & Dawson can help with any metaphysical engineering project, large or small. (Though by definition, they all tend to be pretty large.) They can also create massive great puddles of chaos that might one day swallow up the entire universe. Take, for example, the decision to recruit a certain bearded fellow whose previous work experience mainly involves reindeer and jingle bells. It might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but is he really the best person to save the world from Tiamat the Destroyer?
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