What’s it all about?
The Tressian Republic is in trouble. More concerned with their own internal political wranglings, the powers that be pay little heed to the army marching ever onwards to their doors. Stuck in the middle of the Tressians and the invading Hadari are the Southshires, whose people are subject to Tressia after a failed rebellion. Key to quelling that rebellion was Viktor Akadra, who slew its leader, Katya Trelan. Now, in a cruel twist of fate, Viktor needs to make amends with Katya’s son Josiri in order to inspire the people of the Southshires to hold off the Hadari while he gets the politicians to remove their heads from their arses. Can Viktor make peace with the man who considers him his mortal enemy, and will the squabbling Southshires come together long enough to hold off the powerful Hadari army while the Tressians recognise the impending threat?
Is it any good?
Did I mention I loved this book? This is the proverbial rollercoaster. It sets you up with an awesome prologue, trundles along through the next couple of chapters, then rips the air out of your lungs as you scream with pleasure at each juncture. The setting is familiar but not enough to be run of the mill. The additions that set it apart are quite striking. The Parliament of Crows, essentially supernatural gangsters, are very cool and play even more of a role as the trilogy progresses. There are the Tressian Kraikens, essentially battle mechs and have played a key role in their previous success. At times, the surrounding landscape seems like a character in itself and is well painted by the author. The pantheon of gods are fun and play a major role in all the goings-on. But the real treat in this book is the characters, and what a grey bunch they are. Despite the opposing dark and light magic (mere names in this book), each character has their own conflicts and motivations. Despite liking most of the main characters, my favourite was by far was Ebigail Kiradin, who stole the show with a performance that would have been panto villainesque if not for the well-drawn back story and justifiable motivations. Even those we consider to be the heroes have their dark sides, some literally, and we begin to question who we want to win the day. The author does a terrific job of not just maintaining interest throughout an 800-page book but makes us doubt those whom we thought we were rooting for. This review, short as it is, doesn’t begin to do this story justice. All I can say is, read it and judge it for yourself.
One of my favourite books of the last many years.
Format: Trade paperback
Obtained from: Library (support your local library, people)
Print length: 800