The city of Ro Canarn burns. The armies of the Red march upon the northern lords. And the children of a dead god are waking from their long slumber...
The Duke of Canarn is dead, executed by the King's decree. The city lies in chaos, its people starving, sickening, and tyrannized by the ongoing presence of the King's mercenary army. But still hope remains: the Duke's children, the Lord Bromvy and Lady Bronwyn, have escaped their father's fate.
Separated by enemy territory, hunted by the warrior clerics of the One God, Bromvy undertakes to win back the city with the help of the secretive outcasts of the Darkwald forest, the Dokkalfar. The Lady Bronwyn makes for the sanctuary of the Grass Sea and the warriors of Ranen with the mass of the King's forces at her heels. And in the mountainous region of Fjorlan, the High Thain Algenon Teardrop launches his Dragon Fleet against the Red Army. Brother wars against brother in this, the epic first volume of the long war.
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As war brews in the human world, a deeper, more sinister game is afoot in the lands of the gods. Told from the viewpoints of a variety of characters on all sides of the conflict, Smith's decidedly epic debut, which layers a plethora of religious overtones onto fascinating worldbuilding, entices and entertains despite some flaws in execution. Duke Hector of Canarn planned to break away from the Kingdom of Ro, but a traitor reveals his plans and the king's elite church knights reclaim his lands. Hector's children are declared traitors to the crown and must flee, aided only by a handful of friends. They and others attempt to figure out exactly what role the Seven Sisters, feared enchantresses, play in these political plots, even as their gods make demands in what appears to be a celestial chess match. With flowing action and a plot that is varied and enticing, the novel stands as a testament to careful, effective characterization. However, frequent repetition stands merely to lengthen an already robustly detailed tome, and the constant switches in perspective make it hard to reconcile all the different threads of story. Agency: Diane Banks Associates (U.K.).