Ink and Bone, by Rachel Caine. New American Library, [2015]

Jess's father is a rough and ruthless London book smuggler. For centuries, the Great Library in Alexandria, Egypt, has sought to own all original books. As a result, there is a thriving - and dangerous - black market in books. So it's surprising that Jess is accepted as a postulant - or student - of the Library. His father smells an opportunity, and encourages him to accept, instructing Jess to send back insider info that will help his smuggling business.

At the Library, Jess, who has learned to trust no one, reluctantly forms close relationships with the other postulants in his group. They unite in their dislike of their mentor, Christopher Wolfe, as, one by one, their ranks are thinned from 30 to 9, when students fail tests and die. Only six will ultimately be accepted and placed into Library service as Scholars, Gardia, Alchemists, or Obscurists.

The Great Library series, which follows in the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson tradition, has a sort of "steampunk" feel. There are elements of old and new in an improbable mix - for example, the printing press has not yet been implemented, but scanned books are delivered electronically by the Library to "blanks" which are, essentially e-book readers. And although most transportation is via steam vehicles (coaches and trains,) people are also sent to distant places via transporters that resemble the "beam me up, Scotty" variety in the Star Trek TV series. Ink and Bone is the first title in what promises to be a suspenseful narrative with much to think about regarding the possession of knowledge. Fans of either series will like this new set of teen heroes.