The Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan

I’ve tended to avoid epic fantasy lately – typically, the investment of time and dreariness of the storylines can be daunting. But the unique set up, interesting world building, grounded and realistic characters, and intricate plot line had me completely hooked with Promise of Blood. The story is exceedingly well written and had me enthralled from the first scene.

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Story: Adamat is a veteran police detective who finds himself on the doorstep of a coup – an overthrow of the monarchy. Field Marshall Tamas has led a revolution with his powerful powder mages but now must stabilize the situation in the City – especially with neighboring countries circling like vultures. His son, Taniel, resents his powerful but distant father but finds himself embroiled in the coup. And Nila, the laundress, will use all her wiles to protect a little boy, her noble employer’s son, from execution. Together, they will find that Tamas’ coup will have set far more into motion than either could ever have realized.

First off, this really is epic fantasy. I love that the feeling of a revolutionary era France was taken and woven into an intricate story featuring magic and Gods, guns and carriages. It could have really gone wrong but instead was a perfect complement of technology (guns), magic systems (from powder mages to “knacked”), and very intricate politics. The story starts very small, converges for a short time, and then explodes across the country as we follow the four main characters in their individual quests.

The characters were extremely well done. The interactions between Taniel and Poel, Adamat and SouSmith, Tamas and his generals/bodyguards were grounded, realistic, and fascinating. As well, the incredibly intricate plot that slowly builds and expands – starting with a coup but ending up being so much more, kept me intrigued. This isn’t a simple story on any level – not the world building, characters, politics, diverse magic system, or plot. I am greatly looking forward to the next book in the series.

I listened to the audible version and the narrator did an excellent job with all the different characters.

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