This debut work of sociological science fiction follows a deadly battle for succession, where brother is pitted against brother in a singular chance to win power and influence for their family.
The cavern city of Pelismara has stood for a thousand years. The Great Families of the nobility cling to the myths of their golden age while the city's technology wanes.
When a fever strikes, and the Eminence dies, seventeen-year-old Tagaret is pushed to represent his Family in the competition for Heir to the Throne. To win would give him the power to rescue his mother from his abusive father, and marry the girl he loves.
But the struggle for power distorts everything in this highly stratified society, and the fever is still loose among the inbred, susceptible nobles. Tagaret's sociopathic younger brother, Nekantor, is obsessed with their family's success. Nekantor is willing to exploit Tagaret, his mother, and her new servant Aloran to defeat their opponents.
Can he be stopped? Should he be stopped? And will they recognize themselves after the struggle has changed them?
Wade's excellent high fantasy debut, the first in the Broken Trust series, invites readers into an intricately constructed and morally ambiguous world full of complex political maneuvering and familial pressure. For centuries, the cavernous city of Pelismara has housed the 12 Great Families that comprise the noble class of the city's strict caste system, who cling to the glory of a long-faded golden era. When a mysterious illness known as Kinders fever kills the city's Eminence, the 12 families vie to fill the power vacuum. It's up to 17-year-old Tagaret to represent his family in the competition to become heir to the throne, but his sociopathic brother Nekantor's twisted attempts to help their family ascend to power threaten to tear down everything that Tagaret holds dear, including the reputation of the woman he loves. As the fever spreads among the lower classes, Pelismara's society hangs on by a thread. The impressively winding plot, layered worldbuilding, and psychologically acute characterizations are sure to hold readers' attention. Wade is an author to watch.
Can’t wait for more!
Mazes of Power is an extravagant but nuanced worldbuilding delight. The people of Varin live in vast caves (underground, obviously) to escape the extreme intensity of their sun. Their society is divided into rigid castes, with the inbred ruling Grobal in declining health and subject to a contagious disease often fatal, but only to them. The book tells the story of one family in a struggle for power after the ruling head of the Grobal dies unexpectedly of this disease, and of the members of the other castes they interact with in surprising ways. I loved the characters (even the bad brother who I often wanted to just punch in the neck) and the way Ms. Wade introduces us to her world but leaves so much to look forward to.