This book is the first of a quintet of fantasy novels. The world as imagined in the book is divided into the Named Lands and the Churning Wastes. At the beginning, science, magic, and the entirety of the Named Lands have been controlled by the Androfrancines, a religious order, since the time of the Laughing Madness. The balance of power is overthrown when Windwir, the capital of the Andofrancine Order, is destroyed. As a result, war erupts between the different powers of the Named Lands. Lord Rudolfo of the Ninefold Forest Houses allies with Lady Jin Li Tam of House Li Tam to rebuild the library of the Andofrancines and to fight Sethbert, the man who destroyed Windwir. The war is further complicated when two popes claim power over the remnants of the Andofrancine Order. One supports Sethbert, while the other backs Rudolfo. Misinformation, intrigue, and changing allegiances abound before the war is resolved. The story has a conclusion, but a new plot twist is revealed at the end to encourage reading the next book.
This book was enjoyable but confusing. The viewpoint alternates among ten characters. The many plot twists and the various points of view make the story interesting but also keep the reader in the dark. Even at the end, not all the mysteries are solved. The postlude indicates that more answers will be found in the next novel. This book is recommended for anyone who enjoys novels filled with magic, intrigue, and complicated plots.
This book contains sexual and violent content, though most of it is implied rather than explicit. This book would be best for teenage or adult readers.
Reviewer City, State and Country: Royersford, PA United States