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This is a novel that I read in early 90s, but I suspect was written well before then.

It occurs in modern times and there are multiple conspiracy groups in it. Each of these groups is referred to by an animal name, like the snakes or the badgers, by the person accompanying the protagonist, who is himself in one of the groups.

One of these groups is a group of mages, who prepare a spell, a weave, throughout the book. There are at least three groups; I believe there are four. I'm quite certain there's no more than five.

At the end of the book, the protagonist becomes part of all the groups at once. The one who had been accompanying him makes him their king, the wizards give him control of their weave after it went out of control, and a third group kidnaps him.

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  • If someone posts the correct answer, you can accept by clicking on the checkmark by the voting buttons, as per the tour.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Oct 6, 2023 at 19:51

1 Answer 1

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This might be Fourth Mansions by R.A. Lafferty. From this review:

Front cover of Fourth Mansions from the 1988 paperback

Despite all the sound and fury that surrounds it, the plot of this novel is deceptively simple. It is the classic Fool’s Journey. The hero, simple every-man journalist Freddy Foley (Fool - get it?) must navigate the mysterious powers of The Four Great Beasts (here twisted by Lafferty into Serpents, Toads, Falcons, and Badgers) in his journey of discovery. He starts off unsure even of what he is actually doing, but certain that he must do it. Along the way he interacts with representatives of each of the Beasts, and learns to see with all of their eyes, and in the end, these interactions leave him utterly transformed at the End of the World. Will the cycle repeat, or break on through to the other side?

Found with a search for site:goodreads.com modern magic conspiracy weave "the badgers"

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  • I am phenomenally impressed that anyone has been able to an answer out of the few vague scraps I gave. Thank you!
    – Kinro
    Oct 6, 2023 at 22:20
  • @Kinro I guessed Fourth Mansions as soon as I read the title of your question, but FuzzyBoots had already answered. If you liked Fourth Mansions look for Lafferty's other novels, such as Space Chantey, The Reefs of Earth, Past Master and Annals of Klepsis. And of course his short stories, which most people rate higher than his novels: "900 Grandmothers", "Snuffles", "The Ugly Sea", "Narrow Valley", "Continued on Next Rock", "Been a Long, Long Time", etc. etc. etc.
    – user14111
    Oct 7, 2023 at 1:49

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