An uneasy truce exists between the thanes of the True Bloods.
Now, as another winter approaches, the armies of the Black Road march south, from their exile beyond the Vale of Stones. For some, war will bring a swift and violent death. Others will not hear the clash of swords or see the corpses strewn over the fields. They instead will see an opportunity to advance their own ambitions. But all, soon, will fall under the shadow that is descending.
For, while the storm of battle rages, one man is following a path that will awaken a terrible power in him - and his legacy will be written in blood.
Scottish author Ruckley's outstanding fantasy debut, the first installment of the Godless World trilogy, introduces a sprawling realm abandoned by the gods after two races united to destroy a third. The peoples left behind struggle with centuries-old prejudices and unresolved conflicts that threaten to destroy them all. The start of winter is traditionally a time of celebration, but when the elflike Kyrinin and religious fanatics called Inkallim interrupt the festivities at Castle Kolglas with a masterfully planned attack, the bloodshed is just the first move in an apocalyptic war that won't end "until the world itself is unmade." As Ruckley chronicles the plight of numerous characters through an increasingly chaotic landscape, he develops unsubtle allegories to recent world history and some of humankind's more obvious shortcomings like bigotry, greed and apathy. The author's unapologetically stark yet darkly poetic narrative displays a refreshing lack of stereotypical genre conventions, ensuring a fervent audience of epic fantasy fans looking for something innovative in a genre that can be anything but.