I liked this start to a series more than any I’ve read since Mark Lawrence’s Prince of Thrones and bought the other books before I’d even finished this one (which is very rare for me). Like Mark Lawrence, Alex Marshall assembles a large and varied cast of characters whose ambiguous morality is described in different shades of grey and most of whom are refreshingly past their best (this is a long way from your usual coming-of-age fantasy).
Add to that a world which is vaguely familiar but different, complex plotting on the part of many of the devious characters and exceptionally good writing and you have a tale which will please any grimdark fan. If it was a film it would be rated MA/V/L/S (although the sex is implied rather than graphic) – and it also contains demons, drugs, and even (shock, horror) smoking, so if you’re easily offended run away, run away!
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