The Conductors

Nicole Glover

fiction fantasy mystery
adventurous challenging mysterious slow-paced

384 pages | first published 2021

A compelling debut by a new voice in fantasy fiction, The Conductors features the magic and mystery of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files written with the sensibility and historical setting of Octavia Butler’s Kindred: Introducing Hetty Rhodes, a magic-user and former conductor on the Underground Railroad who now solves crimes in post–Civil War Philadelphia.

As a conductor on the Underground Railroad, Hetty Rhodes helped usher dozens of people north with her wits and magic. Now that the Civil War is over, Hetty and her husband Benjy have settled in Philadelphia, solving murders and mysteries that the white authorities won’t touch. When they find one of their friends slain in an alley, Hetty and Benjy bury the body and set off to find answers. But the secrets and intricate lies of the elites of Black Philadelphia only serve to dredge up more questions. To solve this mystery, they will have to face ugly truths all around them, including the ones about each other.

In this vibrant and original novel, Nicole Glover joins a roster of contemporary writers within fantasy, such as Victor LaValle and Zen Cho, who use speculative fiction to delve into important historical and cultural threads.

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summary of 60 ratings (see reviews)

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adventurous 87%
mysterious 87%
emotional 35%
tense 32%
hopeful 22%
dark 19%
funny 12%
reflective 9%
informative 6%
inspiring 6%
sad 6%
challenging 3%
lighthearted 3%


medium 70%
slow 22%
fast 6%

Plot- or character-driven?

A mix: 57% | Plot: 36% | Character: 5%

Strong character development?

Yes: 48% | No: 31% | It's complicated: 20%

Loveable characters?

Yes: 76% | No: 11% | It's complicated: 7% | N/A: 3%

Diverse cast of characters?

Yes: 93% | It's complicated: 6%

Flaws of characters a main focus?

Yes: 57% | No: 26% | It's complicated: 15%

Average rating