In the third Shadow Campaigns novel, Django Wexler continues his “epic fantasy of military might and magical conflict,” (Library Journal) following The Shadow Throne and The Thousand Names.
After the king’s death, war has come to Vordan. The Deputies-General, led by a traitor-seeking zealot, has taken control. Queen Raesinia Orboan is nearly powerless as the government tightens its grip and assassins threaten her life. Unwilling to see the country come under another tyranny, she sets out to turn the tide of history.
As the Sworn Church brings the powers of the continent to war against Vordan, General Janus bet Vhalnich offers a path to victory. Winter Ihernglass, newly promoted to command a regiment, has reunited with her lover and her friends only to face the prospect of leading them into bloody battle.
And the enemy is not just armed with muskets and cannon. Dark priests of an ancient order, wielding forbidden magic, have infiltrated Vordan to stop Janus by whatever means necessary...
Wexler's third Shadow Campaigns military fantasy (after The Shadow Throne) moves the ascent of General Janus bet Vhalnich forward while increasing concerns that he might have a hidden agenda. The land of Vordan is both at war and dealing with threats from within. A bomb nearly goes off under Queen Raesina; she'd have survived, thanks to the demon that protects her, but that revelation would be devastating to her reign, so Vhalnich assigns Marcus d'Ivoire to guard Raesina while she pretends to leave the city. Winter Ihernglass, still disguised as a man, is leading the Girls' Own, the all-female regiment of the army, but her orders from Vhalnich may damage her relationship with her girlfriend, Jane. Maurisk, Raesina's former ally from her days as a student radical, might be responsible for the conspiracies they face, and is certainly a political threat now that he's gained some level of power. Wexler continues to nicely mix spycraft, political intrigue, and sorcery in his fascinating fantasy setting. This is definitely not a good starting point for new readers, but returning ones will be delighted that the story is clearly far from over.
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Author spends too much effort on an awkward lesbian love story. All the male characters (bar the suspect evil genius) are morons and the women are all repressed but reluctantly capable of taking care of the men. But the lesbian love scenes are just obnoxious. They occupy basically half the novel and I found myself flipping pages to get through the stereotypical tropes. First book was good, but the series has gone seriously downhill since.