The capital has fallen…
Field Marshal Tamas returns to his beloved country to find that for the first time in history, the capital city of Adro lies in the hands of a foreign invader. His son is missing, his allies are indistinguishable from his foes, and reinforcements are several weeks away.
An army divided…With the Kez still bearing down upon them and without clear leadership, the Adran army has turned against itself. Inspector Adamat is drawn into the very heart of this new mutiny with promises of finding his kidnapped son.
All hope rests with one…
And Taniel Two-shot, hunted by men he once thought his friends, must safeguard the only chance Adro has of getting through this war without being destroyed…
Woah, this book was a real rollercoaster ride! It’s up there with the first book of the series and I think it’s definitely the most action-packed.
We pick up with our now beloved pov characters Tamas, Taniel, Adamat and Nila and see their stories progress. They are still in the middle of a war with the Kez, while everyone in Adopest is preparing for the upcoming election of a new minister. Something Tamas and his team have worked for for years. It’s not all that easy though, as another foreign candidate turned up in the previous book. It’s a mess everywhere you look.
Poor Adamat just wants to go back home to his wife and kids, but he ends up in the middle of several conspiracies again and again. He’s been through so much during the last months though and although he is whinging about getting old and being all washed-up, he is brave and capable. Adamat is being sent back to Adopest to help his old friend Ricard win the election and figure out who exactly his opponent is. I liked Adamat’s storyline a lot, as it’s half fantasy, half mystery/crime.
Even Nila grew on me in this book, as she is coping with her newly discovered ability and tries to adapt to her new role in the army. I liked reading about her figuring out how to use her power and touch the Else, as we haven’t really had an insight there before. Borbador as her teacher & companion was fun and they made a good team. I though I’d be more annoyed by them bickering, but it was actually very pleasant and Nila didn’t give him too much attitude. Thanks for that.
I was a BIG fan of all the reunions. Characters who haven’t seen each other for a whole book or longer met up again and it let to all kinds of interesting situations. I loved reading about Taniel again, as well, but this was kinda Tamas’ book, if you ask me. We see him a lot more vulnerable than before and his armor is cracking. He is still brilliant and strong, but he DOES make mistakes and admits to it. I was a big fan of Tamas’ banter with Olem or even Vlora. Vlora became more likeable to me as well in this book and I am looking forward to reading more about her in the second trilogy.
This book really doesn’t have any boring parts. Tamas and his army are always on the move, there’s danger at every corner, some interesting twists and even more betrayal than in the previous books. Characters show their true faces and there’s some impressive surprises. The fighting & battle scenes are bloody & gory but feel so real and are always exciting to read about. McClellan is up there with Steven Erikson when it comes to writing battle scenes, which means he’s one of the best!
The ending might have been a bit ‘overbooked’, which means there was a bit too much going on and it was kinda explosion after explosion. It was highly entertaining though and I am happy with the ending as a whole. It was bittersweet and almost made me cry, but it also wrapped up everything nicely, while leaving room for more (which there is, luckily!).
Some other tidbits:
- My MVP of the minor characters has to be Andriya. I would have loved to read more about this slightly insane, blood-thirsty Powder Mage! The small scenes that featured him were a treat!
- The best romance in this book is colonel Arbor and his fake teeth, I am SO upset he lost them in the final battle!!!
- I really like them mentioning food so often in the trilogy, and I love the common thread of them all going nuts for Mihali’s squash soup 😀
- Love the dry humor, especially in the dialogues between Tamas & Olem
GREAT trilogy, I can recommend it to everyone who loves High Fantasy/Flintlock Fantasy, action, battle scenes, magic and wants to read about engaging characters!