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An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors: Book One in the Risen Kingdoms (2017)
Curtis Craddock

Princess Isabelle des Zephyrs, whose life and position are endangered by her birth defect and lack of magical abilities, secretly conducts math research that she publishes under a pseudonym. The mathematical subplot is not the only or even the primary interest in this fantasy novel, whose other main character is the musketeer who has been Isabelle's protector since birth, but it is a theme that runs throughout the book.

At one point, Princess Isabelle is able to listen in on a mathematician's attempt to solve a famous open problem because it is assumed that a woman would not be able to understand it:

(quoted from An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors: Book One in the Risen Kingdoms)

Professor Isaac said, "The proof of Agimestes's Final Theorem begins with a discussion of limits..."

Isabelle tuned her ear to the lecture, wiped her brushes clean, and dipped her finest point in paint thinned enough to flow like ink. She didn't want to smear anything he said.

She bent her mind to Isaac's math and her brush to the canvas, stretching in dense mathematical symbols around the equator of the balloon. Only someone verse in Isabelle's personal shorthand would recognize it as anything other than a fancy belt of stitching.

Her pulse skittered and her face flushed as the proof built upon itself, tantalizing her mind with greater truths. Agimestes's Final theorem has remained unproven mathematically for over two hundred years. If it could finally be nailed down, it would revolutionize aetheric navigation and so many other things. Sweat broke out on her brow and rand own her nose as the logic web approached its moment of maximum complexity, a dozen threads of reason pulled tight as harp strings. Brilliant...

But wait. her brush faltered as one of the deductions struck a sour note. She double-checked her notation, hoping she was wrong...Damn.

the proof was flawed, the intricate weave of reason snarled on a simple fallacy, easy to overlook in the deeper context of the proof. All that work for nothing. Well, not nothing exactly. She'd at least learned one more way the theorem wasn't solved. She noted the snarl in his reasoning with hash marks in a trail of stitching up the side of the balloon.

Unfortunately, being a woman, she couldn't just march into the library and point out Professor Isaac's mistake. That would be a job for Martin DuJournal in his next missive.

DuJournal, of course, is the name she uses for publishing her mathematics. It is a fake name she created for a fake person, or so she thought until he shows up and begins speaking for himself.

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Works Similar to An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors: Book One in the Risen Kingdoms
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Damned Souls and Statistics by Robert Dawson
  2. The World We Make by N. K. Jemisin
  3. Lost by Tamora Pierce
  4. A non-Euclidean story or: how to persist when your geometry doesn’t by Rami Luisto
  5. Incomplete Proofs by John Chu
  6. Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee
  7. Matrices by Steven Nightingale
  8. Prime Suspects: The Anatomy of Integers and Permutations by Andrew Granville / Jennifer Granville / Robert J. Lewis (Illustrator)
  9. Night of the Eerie Equations by Robert Black
  10. Black Numbers by Dean Frank Lappi
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MotifProving Theorems, Female Mathematicians,

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Exciting News: The 1,600th entry was recently added to this database of mathematical fiction! Also, for those of you interested in non-fictional math books let me (shamelessly) plug the recent release of the second edition of my soliton theory textbook.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)