"Just plain awesome" -- Brandon Sanderson
Civil unrest cripples the citizens of Adro in the aftermath of the revolution that obliterated the monarchy. Now, Field Marshal Tamas and his lieutenants must confront the true cost of freedom in book one of the Powder Mage Trilogy.
It's a bloody business overthrowing a king. . .
Field Marshal Tamas' coup against his king sent corrupt aristocrats to the guillotine and brought bread to the starving. But it also provoked war with the Nine Nations, internal attacks by royalist fanatics, and the greedy to scramble for money and power by Tamas's supposed allies: the Church, workers unions, and mercenary forces.
It's up to a few. . .
Stretched to his limit, Tamas is relying heavily on his few remaining powder mages, including the embittered Taniel, a brilliant marksman who also happens to be his estranged son, and Adamat, a retired police inspector whose loyalty is being tested by blackmail.
But when gods are involved. . .
Now, as attacks batter them from within and without, the credulous are whispering about omens of death and destruction. Just old peasant legends about the gods waking to walk the earth. No modern educated man believes that sort of thing. But they should. . .
Winner of the David Gemmell Morningstar Award for Best Debut Fantasy.
Borrowing from the French Revolution, McClellan's debut (the first in a planned trilogy) is a gritty tale of political overthrow complicated by divine retribution. Field Marshal Tamas leads a coup to prevent his country from being handed over to the hated Kez, sending profligate King Manhouch and his nobles to the guillotine. Concerned by their cryptic final oaths about "Kresimir's Promise," Tamas hires former inspector Adamat to learn the phrase's meaning. Tamas's son, Taniel Two-Shot, meanwhile chases a rogue sorceress to the Kez-besieged Holy City, Kresim Kurga, to stop her from summoning a vengeful deity. McClellan neatly mixes intrigue and action, effectively showing the tensions among uneasy allies (military, church, underworld) in a society where new forces like labor unions, gunpowder-armed soldiers, and explosion-causing "powder mages" clash with traditional magics, mores, and beliefs. While the villains are too obvious, they're balanced by sympathetic portraits of dutiful folks caught up on both sides of the rebellion.
So much promise but dies out in the second half...
This book started out fantastic. The world of the Nine (the collective name for the important countries in this series) is fantastically spun, with vivid imagery of Adro and its capital Adopest. Along with all the intregue of different types of magicians, I thought this book was going to be a new favorite of mine. Then it just stalled: Adamat's (one of the POV characters) storyline becomes boring and repetitive, Tamas’ storyline has almost nothing to do with war (the entire premis of his character really), and Taniels storyline, which arguably started with the most promise, goes absolutely nowhere, with some forced character development and some almost literal deus ex machina. It was painful to see such a fantastically begun book torn down, but thats not to say there isnt hope for the rest of the series.