2018 BookNest Fantasy Awards Finalist for Best Novel
“This book has everything I love: Clean, crisp worldbuilding. Characters that live and breathe. A story that teases and surprises me. I like Master Assassins so much I wish I'd written it, but deep down, I know I couldn't have written it this well.”—#1 New York Times bestselling author Patrick Rothfuss
Two village boys mistaken for assassins become the decisive figures in the battle for a continent in the thrilling new desert-based epic fantasy by the author of The Red Wolf Conspiracy.
Kandri Hinjuman was never meant to be a soldier. His brother Mektu was never meant for this world. Rivals since childhood, they are drafted into a horrific war led by a madwoman-Prophet, and survive each day only by hiding their disbelief. Kandri is good at blending in, but Mektu is hopeless: impulsive, erratic—and certain that a demon is stalking him. Is this madness or a second sense? Either way, Kandri knows that Mektu’s antics will land them both in early graves.
But all bets are off when the brothers’ simmering feud explodes into violence, and holy blood is spilled. Kandri and Mektu are taken for contract killers and must flee for their lives—to the one place where they can hope to disappear: the sprawling desert known as the Land that Eats Men. In this eerie wilderness, the terrain is as deadly as the monsters, ghouls, and traffickers in human flesh. Here the brothers find strange allies: an aging warlord, a desert nomad searching for her family, a lethal child-soldier still in her teens. They also find themselves in possession of a secret that could bring peace to the continent of Urrath. Or unthinkable carnage.
On their heels are the Prophet’s death squads. Ahead lie warring armies, sandstorms, evil spirits and the deeper evil of human greed. But hope beckons as well—if the “Master Assassins” can expose the lie that has made them the world’s most wanted men.
Epic fantasy author Redick (the Chathrand Voyages series) opens a series with this taut story about a motley pair of half-brothers who alter the course of a holy war by trying to escape it. Neither Kandri nor Mektu is a true believer in the Prophet, and Mektu's sanity is also in question. But they remain in the Army of Revelation until Kandri inadvertently kills someone the Prophet loves. Her rage forces the accidental "master assassins" to flee to a lethal wasteland ahead of the Prophet's ruthless hunters. The apocalyptic Time of Madness is approaching, and the world contains horrors that the brothers can't escape no matter how far they run. Redick excels at portraying how Kandri and Mektu teeter on the edge of disaster in a harsh, bare-bones world constricted by religious fears, with imminent menace always snapping at their heels. They cling to memories of love amid a brutal flight, making their struggles all the more intensely felt. The names, science, medicine, military life, and other elements are reminiscent to Arabic, Persian, and Turkish culture from the Middle Ages and later. Redick's fine series launch is recommended for all fantasy readers.