Shortlisted for the Morningstar Award for Best Fantasy Newcomer at the Gemmell Awards 2017
Pulled from a frozen sea, pierced by arrows and close to death, Knot has no memory of who he was. But his dreams are dark, filled with violence and unknown faces. Winter, a tiellan woman whose people have long been oppressed by humans, is married to and abandoned by Knot on the same day. In her search for him, she will discover her control of magic, but risk losing herself utterly. And Cinzia, priestess and true believer, returns home to discover her family at the heart of a heretical rebellion. A rebellion that only the Inquisition can crush…
Their fates and those of others will intertwine, in a land where magic and daemons are believed dead, but dark forces still vie for power.
Husberg's debut fantasy launches a projected five-volume series set in a standard high-fantasy world: quasi-medieval, populated by elves (who name themselves tiellan) and humans, dominated by a lightly camouflaged and very corrupt Christian religion. Tiellan are a fading race, persecuted in their ghettos. Winter, a restless young tiellan woman, is about to escape by marrying an amnesiac human man called Knot, but the ceremony is disrupted by attackers who kill most of the celebrants. Knot kills the attackers but is nonetheless blamed for all the deaths. He lights out for Roden, the city he feels strangely drawn to. Winter, who survives, soon follows him. Their parallel quest-journeys bring about the usual portentous meetings with mysteriously knowledgeable strangers. Interspersed are snippets about the priestess Cinzia, who's combating heresy in her family, but it takes too much time for her role in the overall narrative to become clear. Leisurely pacing and scant innovation make this story more workmanlike than enthralling. Husberg's prose is assured, however, and some of his tweaks particularly his variation on vampires indicate that the series may develop in intriguing ways.
An Excellent Beginning
Husberg’s first chapter in his quintet series hits all the marks and exceeds beautifully. His world building is phenomenally detailed and his characters are well crafted and memorable. This one is a “must read” for fans of fantasy and I’m very excited and eager to continue with “Dark Immolation,” especially after that ending.