Some authors have the ability to blend fact and fiction in such a way that it becomes nearly impossible to untangle the threads. Even more impressive is when the author can use historical facts woven with fantasy elements from myths and legends to create a narrative that rings true. ( I've said it before and I'll say it again; if a book makes me want to do further research at its conclusion then it was a good book.) Mark Tompkins has this unique ability and he's illustrated it perfectly with his debut novel The Last Days of Magic. The story is set in the Middle Ages (excluding a bit from the beginning and end) in Ireland. These are the days when everyone knew that magic was real and that there were creatures that roamed the earth that possessed skills unimaginable to any mere human being (Grogochs seem familiar somehow). Tompkins took this a step further by incorporating the Dead Sea Scrolls which brought an edge of religious fanaticism to the tale. A cast of characters is introduced and at different points in the story my allegiance ebbed and flowed among them. I did a complete 180 on one character in particular that still has me scratching my head. It was an enjoyable read that had a steady pace and it was more than obvious that the author did his homework. It's well researched and imaginative. I have to warn you, however, that this is not a book for children. There are graphic sex scenes (two words: Imp erection) as well as coarse language and lots of gore. So reader beware!