Marcus’ hero days are behind him. He knows too well that even the smallest war still means somebody’s death. When his men are impressed into a doomed army, staying out of a battle he wants no part of requires some unorthodox steps.
Cithrin is an orphan, ward of a banking house. Her job is to smuggle a nation’s wealth across a war zone, hiding the gold from both sides. She knows the secret life of commerce like a second language, but the strategies of trade will not defend her from swords.
Geder, sole scion of a noble house, has more interest in philosophy than in swordplay. A poor excuse for a soldier, he is a pawn in these games. No one can predict what he will become.
Falling pebbles can start a landslide. A spat between the Free Cities and the Severed Throne is spiraling out of control. A new player rises from the depths of history, fanning the flames that will sweep the entire region onto The Dragon’s Path-the path to war.(From Amazon.ca)
Take this one in slowly. Read it carefully and just let it all sink in. This is one of those kinds of novels where you have to pay attention to what you’re reading, and in the end you’re rewarded with a spectacular book.
World building is fantastic and well done. The politics involved is extremely well done and I loved that part the most. It is a little difficult to get into at first, but once characters are established, and plot (and sub plots) are understood, then the reading gets more smooth.
I found some readers weren’t that keen on the characters in this book. I’m the opposite. I loved the character development and the vast amount of detail put into their personalities and their own individual story arcs. I also liked how there’s a small group of characters. It’s not too many where the reader is overwhelmed, and has to go to an appendix at the back of the book to figure out again who is who and under what faction/house they’re under. It’s more centralized on a handful of characters so it’s not confusing and it’s easier to manage.
I’d have to say, Geder is the one I like to read about the most. You either feel sorry for him, or hate him for his actions. On the other hand, he has the potential to do a lot of good, but also what he might see as the greater good could make him the biggest jerk to have ever been written. I also particularly enjoyed reading about Cithrin’s character development. Although I might not agree with her actions and the outcome of her choices were well deserved, she turned mopey and whiny which didn’t make her any more likable. However, I still enjoyed her story nevertheless. Marcus would be my least favorite because not much really goes on with him except taking care of Cithrin. I wish there should have been more to his story but perhaps that will be revealed more in detail in future books of this series. Also, what I thought was really interesting was, these characters are different from what you see in the majority of fantasy novels (that I have come across) there’s no band of warriors, no group of characters out to banish evil, it’s a banker, a mercenary, and a soldier. Very different and not the norm, but I like it!
I only wish there was more information about the world, and the other different races. An appendix would have been nice for this kind of information – at least. It is a long book and some might find it a little difficult to get into at first but it’s a rich story, with lots of to take in, and it’s a great fantastic read for fantasy lovers who want something a little different. I’m definitely going to pick up the second book in this series!
I give it an 8/10