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This article contains spoilers, meaning it has information and facts concerning recent or upcoming releases from the Assassin's Creed series. If you do not want to know about these events, it is recommended to read on with caution, or not at all.

This template should be removed from the article 2 November 2022.

Assassin's Creed: The Engine of History – The Magus Conspiracy is a novel by Kate Heartfield. It is the first entry in The Engine of History trilogy and was first released in August 2022, published by Aconyte Books.

Publisher's summary

London, 1851 — When Pierrette, daring acrobat performing at the Great Exhibition, rescues the mathematician Ada Lovelace from a gang of thugs, she becomes immersed in an ancient feud between Assassins and Templars. But Lovelace is gravely ill, and shares her secrets with Pierrette, sending the acrobat in search of a terrible weapon—the Engine of History—which she'd been developing for a shadowy figure known as "the Magus". Pierrette's only ally is Simeon Price, Lovelace's childhood friend who belongs to a Brotherhood devoted to freedom. With Simeon's aid, they uncover a startling web of political assassinations destabilizing Europe. As they race to foil the Templars' deadly plot, murders and bombs are everywhere they look, but hope is nowhere in sight.[1]

Summary

Prologue

Lance corporal Simeon Price remains awake alongside Private Sawyer Halford as they were traveling on the HMS Birkenhead towards the Xhosa Kingdom. However, the HMS Birkenhead suddenly hits a massive rock, which severely damages the hull. Venturing below, Simeon finds Halford as they help any wounded incoming. Yet, Price is called by Lieutenant Grimes, who ordered him to calm the horses. However, a cloaked figure knocks Grimes out and asks Price for help. Both men continue to save any soldiers below. Soon, the cloaked man unmasks himself as he tells Price to leave for his men. However, Price does not care and refuses to leave the other men. Seeing potential, the cloaked figure tells Price that if he wants to be free of the Queen's army, he should travel to Vienna and join their brotherhood. Price later joins back with Halford as they tend to other matters on the sinking ship. The situation is dire as the captain tells the men to swim to the shore. However, Grimes orders the men to stand firm as Halford and others followed him. Soon, the ship breaks in half and some of the men, including Halford, die on impact. Nevertheless, Grimes continues to maintain his orders aloud.

Chapter 1

In the summer of 1851, Pierrette tries to convince her ringmaster Major Wallin to perform as the lead in the act "Mazeppa", despite his initial refusal on the grounds that he is like a second father and could not bear her being hurt. However, Wallin concedes after Pierrette lists her reasons. Along with the show's entourage, consisting of Hugh Robinson, Ariel Fine, Tillie Wallin, and Jovita Ferreira, Pierrette performs as Mazeppa, which astonishes the crowd. However, as she performs her tasks with her horse companion Attila, she notices a woman being surrounded and attacked by four men. Discontinuing the illusion, Pierrette saves the woman and helps her escape from the thugs, then asks to accompany her safely home. However, the woman, who introduces herself as Lady Ada Lovelace, remains adamant to walk home alone. With the pair having passed the Great Exhibition within the Crystal Palace, Pierrette has to move quickly within Hyde Park as the thugs continue their chase.

Bypassing the bridge towards Lovelace's home, Pierrette holds Ada tight as the number of thugs trailing them kept increasing. Although trying to feign attention, Pierrette garners no help as she moves fast enough to be near a couple walking along the road. Luckily, Pierrette and Ada find themselves in a crowd as the thugs lose their chance to grab Lady Lovelace. The two women make it to the Ada's home as she thanks Pierrette. Before going in, Ada admits that she loved riding in her neighborhood, though her health has restricted her movements. Saying goodbye to the acrobat, the lady offers to meet her "Mazeppa" next time.

Chapter 2

The next day, Pierrette's performance has garnered mixed reviews as Major Wallin hired a new performer for Mazeppa. Being called an "urchin," Pierrette recalls how her upbringing by her parents, two working musicians, shows the truth. However, during the Paris riots in 1848, the Arnauds placed their daughter with Major Wallin to protect her as they protest. Nevertheless, her parents were killed as Major Wallin moved his circus away from France to England. Pierrette soon finds an invitation to a soiree and readies herself, with help from Jovita and Nell Robinson. Soon, Ada finds Pierrette and introduces her to John Ruskin as she asks the notable journalist to write a favorable review on the acrobat's exquisite performance.

Pierrette's notoriety skyrockets as Ruskin's review was highly favorable, especially of her skills. Pierrette quickly becomes part of high society's gatherings, especially Ada's colleagues. However, she sometimes meets Lady Byron, Ada's mother, who has stated Ada was unwell due to her health. Nevertheless, at the end of July, Ada invites Pierrette to her country house in Surrey and talks about her family life. Lady Lovelace discusses how she wrote to notable scientists and wonders of all the problems her "engine" may solve. During one dinner with Lady Byron, Ada discusses how her father's body came back to her and how it was done weirdly while Arnaud recalls the scandal of Lord Byron's possible child with his half-sister.

Winter arrives as the Aurora Equestrian Troupe agrees to stay in London longer. However, Ada's health began to deteriorate as the seasons change. Luckily, despite the Great Exhibition ending, the troupe still performs especially with Benjamin Silver as their new Mazeppa. However, Ada soon becomes motionless and too ill to move, but Pierrette visits her friend despite Lady Byron's opposition. Nearing her end, Lady Lovelace lays alone with Arnaud besides her as she states she had a secret, which drove her husband away. Softly, Ada admits that she has been corresponding with a scientist named "Magus" and that their work resulted in an invention that may take lives. The lady asks her friend to find Simeon Price, a childhood friend. Ada describes him as the only one who could really understand her mind, but she tells Pierrette that he does not know about her declining health.

Ada shows a coded letter from Simeon about how he survived his ship crash and how he left the army for another brotherhood. The lady tells her friend to seek Simeon and have him end her invention. Yet, Lady Lovelace continues to worsen. Wanting to help ease Ada's pain, Pierrette tries to comfort and aid her but the lady stops her and adamantly tells Arnaud again to find Simeon.

Chapter 3

Simeon, under the alias, "Jack Straw," finds himself in Alexandria, Egypt a year after his ship crashed. Except to Ada Lovelace, Simeon remains dead to the rest of the world while in reality, he has abandoned England's army. However, Price, wearing a disguise, finds his way to Vienna and tries to find the "brotherhood." Weeks pass as he hears a conversation about a brotherhood and a man by the name of Kane. Through investigation, he finds out the full name, Oscar Kane near a coffee house near Graben. At an apartment complex, Price meets a doorman who knows Kane and repeats the creed to him. After a moment, the doorman lets him in as Simeon climbs up the stairs to meet Kane in person. Oscar opens his home to Price as he divulges that he and the man he saw are Assassins and they follow a creed of conscience.

Kane reveals his childhood as an orphan of the Assassins as well as growing up in Ireland during its famines and riots for food. Oscar reveals he left for Germany, but states he found the same results. However, Kane admits to his persistence and how he made investments in railways and founded his work in Vienna. Confused, Price asks why Oscar is telling him about the Assassins. Kane happily states that a man like "Jack Straw" to make it from Africa to Vienna is a man with secrets and thus one he can trust. In return of providing a home, Kane asks Price to become his apprentice of his business and help him on his new plan to protect the innocents. As he shows his birds and a room to wash and live in, Kane promises to have Price meet the other Assassins soon as he helps him ready himself. Cautious, Price washes and shaves as he accommodates himself in his new residence.

Chapter 4

Oscar and Simeon find themselves at a tailor shop run by János Libényi, a Hungarian who witnessed the emperor's ordered attack on the Hungarian rebellion. While tailoring his clients, János notices Price's background as a former soldier while Simeon asks to put "Jack Straw" on the name of his order. During Price's apprenticeship, Kane reveals more about the Assassin's history and their ongoing conflict with the Templars, the creed, and the consequences of living as an Assassin. Meanwhile, the business with Kane leads Price to see how his devices worked and were used in multiple businesses, such as his devices that conducted electrolysis. Price soon finds himself as a messenger and deliveryman for Kane, as he finds time to read Kane's books.

However, Price feels out of place as he reads Kane's books due to not having books of his own as a child. Kane soon gives a range of books to Simeon and began to test him in combat skills and stealth techniques. On Sundays, they study philosophy as they discuss the breakdown of the creed. Once summer arrives, Price hones his power of observation atop the Garben for a week and observes a collection of twelve people. After completing this task, both men travel to St. Stephen's Cathedral, where they climb atop its tower. Alone, Kane assigns his apprentice to go from a window and climb down from the cathedral's side as he takes the stairs down. Worn and wary, Price climbs down the cathedral as he tries to find a solid place to land every time. At the bottom, Kane offers him breakfast for his descent. While eating, Price reads the news about the death of Lady Ada Lovelace.

Chapter 5

A few days before Christmas, both Kane and Price arrive at a party, both equipped with weapons. Fashioned by Libényi, Price feels uncomfortable in such a disguise as he meets the host, Baron Julius Jacob von Haynau. The baron reveals that he invited Kane and shows off the "beautiful" women at his party to "John Straw." One woman, Countess Konstanze von Visler, is introduced by the baron to his guests. After formal introductions, Baron Haynau discusses how the countess represents the "model" of womanhood as Oscar draws a contrast to the women in the rebellion in Hungary. The barons affirms his stance on the women acting like rebels and admits to flogging them as punishment. The baron boasts of his deeds of abuse and killing rebel generals, much to Price's shock.

Joining the conversation, the baron's lawyer, Karl Mayr, agrees to the baron's assessment on Hungarian women rebels as he introduces himself to "Mr. Straw." Mayr offers details about a pair of rebel siblings who traveled to Vienna to make a living after the rebellion. Yet, the baron finds their place of work to be a tailor shop in the old city wall as he laughs about tearing it down to the renewal of the city. Mayr bleeds the tailor dry financially with false laws as Price realizes that they are talking about János. The countess eases the tension by asking Kane's apprentice to dance. Before they do, Price asks Kane about why their conversation happened. Kane admits that the baron has a reputation for his brutality and insinuates that he may need to be dealt with, accordingly.

Dancing, Simeon keeps up with the countess as he recalls his training with his friend, Ada. However, the colors and atmosphere of the party prove to be unsettling to Price, who notices Kane and Mayr leaving the party. Leaving the countess, he follows and finds himself in a room, where he sees Mayr strangle Kane with his scarf. Going to save Kane, Price tries to use his gun but there was no bullets. Using a metal pen, Simeon stabs Mayr, who releases Kane. In a midst of the struggle, Mayr begins to find his weapon until Price grabs his head back, pulls his razor out, and slits Mayr's throat. Gently laying the dead lawyer down, Price goes to Kane, who tells to retrieve Mayr's blood.

Confused, Price is told by Kane that it was tradition to do so and with his caller's card, "Jack Straw," he swapped Mayr's blood. Able to stand, Kane leads Simeon towards a window to escape. Entering Kane's carriage, Simeon asks Kane what happened. Kane tells of a deal gone bad as Mayr sought an opportunity to end Kane's life. Piecing it together, Simeon deduces that the baron and Mayr are Templars and they know Kane and him are Assassins. Simeon also figures out that the gun was tampered as Kane explains that he needed to see his apprentice be willing to kill in the shadows. Feeling manipulated, Price asks why the baron still lives. Kane states that the baron may be retired but still has influence in the courts and murders with impunity. Price looks at his bloody hands while Kane reassures him of his composure and their second chance. Kane even promises that Baron Haynau's time will come.

Chapter 6

Kane and Price regroup back at Kane's laboratory and talked about confirming their kill on Mayr to an Assassin Council. However, Kane replies to do so as he tells his apprentice to notify Libényi about Mayr's death. Heading down to the tavern, Nachzehrer Cellar, Simeon awaits for Libényi as he meets with a friendly local butcher, Joseph Ettenreich. As János entered, Price composed himself while they all talk about the emperor destroying the country's constitution and ordering printed lies about the Hungarian rebels. János admits that the city council, especially Mayr, ordered a road through his shop. Defeated, the tailor agrees to give up however Price stops him from leaving. Simeon admits that Mayr has been killed by his own hand and that János may be able to receive a reprieve from the fees he paid to Mayr. Shocked, both men look at and ask "Straw" about the consequences he may face.

Unsure, Simeon agrees but reassures his company of doing his best to keep the people safe from the abuse of power. Happy, János celebrates with another round as Price agrees to pay the round. Realizing Price's kindness, János promises to repay him back undoubtedly.

Chapter 7

Simeon wakes up after a night with Ettenreich and Libényi and receives a letter from Kane to prepare himself for a carriage. Given new garments, Price enters the carriage and is brought to a white conservatory. Kane meets his apprentice and lets him know that Countess von Visler is expecting them in her house. Entering inside, both men see and meet with the countess, who continues with her demonstration. Unveiling a steam-powered rock drill, the countess offers a quicker and efficient way to mine with less casualties but Price asks of the relinquished working men. Konstanze and Kane agree to the new device as she admits that after several trials, her alternative device works better. With Kane's new power cell, the countess' device began to demonstrate in front of her guests. As Kane explains the composition of his power cell, a smaller replica of her drill is activated atop a piece of granite. After a minute, a divot in the rock is made.

All begin to applaud as lunch is later served. However, Kane and Price talk aside about the device and the countess. Kane relates Konstanze's upbringing and wit to Lord Byron and his daughter, Ada, as they both share a wit. Saddened, Price is asked by Kane about a possible infatuation with the countess. Price rejects the claim as he explains that he wants to be on the same level with the Templars in their advantages in science and industry. At the moment, the apprentice deduces that von Visler is a Templar as Kane confirms his thought. As Price remains confused of their presence in her house, Kane explains that they hide in plain sight and learn from their enemies. He affirms to only strike at the right moment and time. Still, both men join the rest of the party for lunch.

Price catches up with Konstanze, only to be scared of his probable next task. Thus, Price leaves the party abruptly. Price clears his head as he questions about his morality and loyalty to Kane. He also feels perplexed in his belief in the creed, especially its innocence and no compromising aspects. Atop a city bastion, Price sees soldiers and people pass by, until he notices the butcher, Joseph, running. Looking closer, Price follows Ettenreich, who runs to a waiting and focused Libényi. Feeling something wrong, Price notices Libényi with a knife going towards two military men, one being the hated Emperor Franz Joseph. Trying to stop him, Price tries to stop the tailor but János ends up stabbing the emperor in the neck.

Chapter 8

The emperor's blood splashes everywhere as Simeon and Joseph restrain a numb János. As Price pushes the audience back, the emperor's aide demands to know if the knife has poison. Simeon tells him that the knife is from the kitchen while the aide thanks the men for their act of heroism. Recognizing János' fear, Price later sees the shocked tailor being taken away by soldiers. Price finds and meets with János' sister and discusses why reason her brother blatantly attacked the emperor. Price is told by the sister that János has been meeting with radicals before but has been corresponding with a new stranger pushing him to fight back. Price looks over the consequences of the tailor's actions and work to free the tailor before his hanging. Price later meets with Kane about the recent event.

Kane admits that the Brotherhood has nothing to do with the assassination attempt while he expects János to be hanged. Price remains adamant to saving and breaking the tailor out. Oscar promises to financially aid János' sister and relents to help his apprentice with the prison breakout. At night, Kane and Price tread over the prison walls as the apprentice has to provide a distraction. Kane has to go on the prison's third story to find the tailor and melt the bars off his prison windows. To time around midnight, Kane equips his apprentice with his own version of smoke bombs, to use at a quarter past midnight to lure the guards near a far end of the prison's perimeter. With timed intervals, Price had to create multiple distraction as Kane works on the window. At the allotted time, Price starts a commotion by pretending to be a drunk singer, who garners the attention of two guards.

However, Simeon notices Kane still working and becomes more of a nuisance with a gun. After a minor scuffle and a non-fatal gunshot, Price is brought into a different police station and stays overnight. In the morning, Kane bails him out as he reveals that he could not save Libényi. Going to Kane's carriage, both men talk about the unfortunate circumstance of Libényi's death. Kane hopes for a peace for the passed tailor but Simeon knows better from a hanging.

Chapter 9

TBC

Gallery

References

  1. Aconyte Books. Assassin's Creed: The Magus Conspiracy. Aconyte Books. Retrieved on December 10, 2021.

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