Promise of Blood (Powder Mage #1)
By: Brian McClellan
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
The Age of Kings is dead . . . and I have killed it.
It’s a bloody business overthrowing a king…
Field Marshal Tamas’ coup against his king sent corrupt aristocrats to the guillotine and brought bread to the starving. But it also provoked war with the Nine Nations, internal attacks by royalist fanatics, and the greedy to scramble for money and power by Tamas’s supposed allies: the Church, workers unions, and mercenary forces.
Stretched to his limit, Tamas is relying heavily on his few remaining powder mages, including the embittered Taniel, a brilliant marksman who also happens to be his estranged son, and Adamat, a retired police inspector whose loyalty is being tested by blackmail.
But when gods are involved…
Now, as attacks batter them from within and without, the credulous are whispering about omens of death and destruction. Just old peasant legends about the gods waking to walk the earth. No modern educated man believes that sort of thing. But they should…
I had heard of the Powder Mage trilogy in passing but it wasn’t until I read the short story The Girl of Hrusch Avenue (review) that I was keen to pick up the first book and read it. It sat on my TBR pile for quite a while but I finally got around to reading it (hurray!).
The Girl of Hrusch Avenue (The Powder Mage short story)
By: Brian McClellan
Format/Source: eBook; see below
Vlora is an orphan living at a boarding school as a ward of the state. Even at her young age, she already has enemies: the Bulldog Twins, Baron Fendamere, and her own headmistress. When a strange man offers to buy her, Vlora runs away and takes to the roofs above the gunsmithies of Hrusch Avenue. It is there that she meets a boy named Taniel and begins a friendship that will change her life forever.
I found out about this author and this short story because it was featured on SFF blog A Dribble of Ink (the short story is free to download until 10 May 2014 (I hope I counted the days right)). The premise sounded interesting, especially I don’t read much fantasy fiction set in a gunpowder-capacity world.
I greatly enjoyed reading this story. It introduces the reader to the world that Vlora, Taniel et al. lives in; you could really feel the streets that Vlora and the Bulldog Twins run around in, the conditions of the house that Vlora lived under. The author does a wonderful job in presenting Vlora and the other characters–both savoury and unsavoury–and in particular what drives and interests Vlora. The story is accessible and quick-paced without a dull moment, the emotions are palpable, the characters on a whole were interesting, and all around was just intrigued about this world and whatever else is part of it.
So overall, fantastic short story, it was great introduction to this world that the author has created while keeping the story interesting and focused. I will definitely keep a lookout for The Powder Mage books as my interest is now piqued. I highly recommend checking this short story out if you’re into fantasy fiction and want to check out a new series 🙂
Visit the author’s official website