Acclaimed epic fantasy author John Gwynne returns with the first book in a new trilogy, perfect for fans of George R. R. Martin, Brandon Sanderson, and David Gemmell.
"A Time of Dread reminds me of why I became a fantasy enthusiast in the first place." -- Robin Hobb
A race of warrior angels, the Ben-Elim, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands, but their peace is brutally enforced.
In the south, hotheaded Riv is desperate to join the Ben-Elim's peacekeeping force, until she unearths a deadly secret.
In the west, the giantess Sig investigates demon sightings and discovers signs of an uprising and black magic.
And in the snowbound north, Drem, a trapper, finds mutilated corpses in the forests. The work of a predator, or something far darker?
It's a time of shifting loyalties and world-changing dangers. Difficult choices need to be made. Because in the shadows, demons are gathering, waiting for their time to rise. . .
Nice guys finish alive, and not always last, in this gritty but not grimdark fantasy of battling supernatural forces, set in a fantasy world where humans battle the demonic Kadoshim with the assistance of the Ben-Elim, a winged race of warriors from the ethereal Otherworld. Bleda, a human warrior-prince whose siblings are killed by a Ben-Elim they attacked, is taken hostage and raised by the Ben-Elim. When the supposedly defeated Kadoshim suddenly spring out of hiding with their own human allies and human-demon children, Bleda teams up with Riv, a fellow denizen of the Ben-Elim citadel, to take them on. Riv finds that the angels she knows often fight and scheme among themselves, their conflict instigated by the issue of "improper" human Ben-Elim relationships. Separately, Sig, a bear-riding giant familiar from Gwynne's The Faithful and the Fallen series, embarks on a solo quest to eradicate the Kadoshim, and Drem, son of a trapper, discovers his heritage is with the Order of the Bright Star, who have their own fight against the demons. The Hebraic names are a bit misleading, since neither the characters nor the cosmogony are recognizably Jewish in any way. Gwynne relies on some of the currently popular elements of high fantasy blurred lines between good and evil, a willingness to kill off significant characters but avoids much of the cynicism that reduces epic struggles to mere realpolitik.