Sancia Grado is a young thief who escaped slavery and now scratches a living in the Commons of Foundryside, the squalid shanty town that exists in Tevanne between and around the campos where the four leading merchant houses exist in their own comfortable enclaves thanks to their wealth and their magic/technology – scriving. Scrived objects are created with industrialised magical inscriptions. They power everything: carriages that move without horses, ambient flying rigs (basically targeted parachutes), and weapons that are powerful enough to shoot a bolt through metal. Sancia has a talent. She can hear the chattering and murmuring of scrived objects and by touch can learn the nature of whatever she touches. She saves this for inert objects. Touching another human is frequently too painful. When her usual fence offers her a job that will pay a small fortune the fee is simply too tempting to apply her normal caution. She steals an ancient artefact, which has some very peculiar properties, but before she can deliver it and get paid, people start to die. From then on she's trying to get out of the resulting scrape, but she can't do it alone.The pace is lively, the characters interesting and the magic system complex (and occasionally boggling). This is the first in a new series. It's out on 23rd August from Jo Fletcher books. I had a review copy from Netgalley.