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Promise of Blood: 1 Paperback – 8 April 2014
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Civil unrest cripples the citizens of Adro in the aftermath of the revolution that obliterated the monarchy. Now, Field Marshal Tamas and his lieutenants must confront the true cost of freedom in book one of the Powder Mage Trilogy.
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.
It's up to a few. . .
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. . .
Winner of the David Gemmell Morningstar Award for Best Debut Fantasy.
Brian McClellan is an explosive powder keg of imagination with an expertly-plotted fuse. The stories he tells are the stories we'll be reading for years to come.--Sam Sykes on Promise of Blood
Brings a welcome breath of gunpowder-tinged air to epic fantasy.--Anthony Ryan
Gunpowder and magic. An explosive combination. Promise of Blood is the best debut I've read in ages.--Peter V. Brett
I love the world Brian McClellan builds, Powder Mages with flintlock pistols against white-gloved Privileged for the fate of a nation and more. Promise of Blood feels like the start of something amazing.--Django Wexler
McClellan neatly mixes intrigue and action...in a society where new forces like labor unions, gunpowder-armed soldiers, and explosion-causing 'powder mages' clash with traditional magics, more, and beliefs.--Publishers Weekly
McClellan's debut is a lot of fun --- a historically influenced fantastical romp filled with machismo, intrigue and magic.--SciFi Now (UK)
McClellan's debut packs some serious heat...A thoroughly satisfying yarn that should keep readers waiting impatiently for further installments.--Kirkus (Starred Review)
The world of the privileged sorcerers and the strange abilities of the powder mages who can manipulate gunpowder are just as well drawn in this captivating universe.--RT Book Reviews (4 1/2 stars)
This book is just plain awesome. I found myself enjoying every moment of it. Innovative magic, quick-paced plot, interesting world. I had a blast.--New York Times bestselling author, Brandon Sanderson
About the Author
- Publisher : Orbit (8 April 2014)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 608 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0316219045
- ISBN-13 : 978-0316219044
- Dimensions : 13.97 x 4.13 x 20.98 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 275,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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So here we go.
From start to finish this book is outstanding, I don't think I can find one thing I didn't like about this book. I was that good.
This was a completely new genre for me having never read flintlock fantasy and I can definitely say it won't be my last. I think the fact I had never read a book of this nature before only added to it's enjoyment because I found the magic system brilliant. It was new and well thought out and sometimes costly.
McClellan’s writing ability is flawless, he creates deep and meaningful connections and evokes a full range of emotions from the reader despite being beautifully crisp and simple. Pair that with the realism his characters possess and you have a winner.
McClellan also excels in his world building, I didn't once find myself overwhelmed with information, he gently weaves its setting (industrial revolution), culture and religion into the character interactions seamlessly. Laying what is a solid foundation for the other installments.
Promise of Blood is told from several POV’s; Tamas, Taniel and Adamat (and that is probably the order in which I rate them 🙈). There is Nila too but she isn't a huge feature. McClellan has crafted an incredible cast of characters for Promise of Blood, with even the smaller parts being memorable and entertaining. Tamas and Olem were fun to read throughout, I loved the contrast between the two of these and how well they gelled despite it.
”Tamas suppressed a smile. He could like this man. Too free with his tongue, perhaps.”
Tamas is all about rules and against his better judgment he likes Olem.
”Olem shrugged. “You’re a teetotaler, sir, and it’s well known among the men you won’t abide smoking either.” “Then why are you hiding it behind your back?” “Waiting for you to turn around so I can have a hit, sir.”
Then you get another enjoyable duo; Taniel and Ka Poel. The fact that Ka Poel is mute just adds to this, by seeing the way they communicate with gesture and body language is greatly entertaining.
The pacing of this book is somewhat up and down, and does have several stages we're it is slower and less exciting but I didn't feel like this to take anything away from the book. This is because the story is filled with action, investigating, political plays and more, all of which require different paces.
As for the series: I have read the complete trilogy and would rate the overall experience as I have the books, with five big stars.
A unique variation on the theme of traditional magic makes the mechanics of this world fascinating. The book provides a solid foundation to the world without branching into long chunks of dialogue or exposition to keep the reader up to speed. Making a setting feel real and "lived in" from scratch is a difficult thing but this book achieves it effortlessly.The amount of description of characters and locations is deep enough to allow the reader to form an image in their own mind without burdening them with excess text to pour through. Some books go to extreme lengths in their descriptions and can bore the reader, sometimes less is more and this book does it well.
The characters are believable and relatable, they pull you into their lives and I never felt like I was simply reading characters in a book. There are many sub-plots; a valiant yet bloody battle against a foreign aggressor, an ancient magical mystery, a man trying to create a new and fair government out of the ashes of a coup and all of the political intrigue that entails, an estranged son sorely trying to win the approval of a distant father, struggles with addiction, and an element of "who dun it," each riveting on their own while combining and intertwining to make a greater whole culminating in a suspenseful finale.
One review I read here complains that the middle of the book seems to lose steam but I disagree, never during my first read through did I feel like there was lost momentum. There were different pitches of intensity but nothing less gripping than the pure-action parts. I was engaged and left wanting for more the whole way through.
A thoroughly enjoyable read and I'll be moving straight on to the next in the series.
The magic system is unique and I’ve never read anything similar to this day. The action scenes were outstanding, but it didn’t overshadow the story.
The characters were relatable, you could understand the motives behind their actions and I felt so emotionally invested in them all.
A fantasy, but one that is a little different to the standard epic, there is a more down to earth feel to it, at least to start with. The story itself concerns the overthrow of the decadent and insular monarchy, reminiscent to the French Revolution, but there I also that feeling that it is merged with parts of the American old west, albeit one with a slightly lower level of technology – in this case muskets and flintlock pistols, rather than six shooters.
Of course there is a lot more going on than just the revolution, there is the aftermath and the growing realisation that just removing the nobility is not going to solve all problems in one fell swoop. There is going to be a period of instability, of power grabs, and of course there are other things going on at the same time, which start of just as urban rumours that seem to grow into life of their own accord.
McClellan introduced an interesting and varied magic system, from the Privileged, almost a traditional style magic user, using their hands to form and control their powers. They are the dominant form of magician, and are used by many as a power base to maintain order and power. They are joined by the knacked, individuals that have one talent that is beyond normal – a perfect memory or not needing to sleep. And then there are the newer former of magic users, the Powder Mages, individuals who are able to gather strength from gunpowder and use it to strengthen themselves and improve their abilities with guns. Seen as dirty and wrong kind of magic…
And it is one of these, the near legendary General Tamas who has caused the revolution. Initially it seems that he has done it out of altruism , but as the story it progresses we begin to see hints that there might be more to it than just that.
Just as in the way we see that Tamas’ true motives might be a little obscured we begin to learn that there is more going on than might be originally anticipated. Religion that seems to be little more than stories of another time begins to be looked at in more detail as new (perhaps old) powers begin to reveal themselves.
In the end it leads to a satisfactory story of political intrigued, entwined with more mystical happens. They are delivered in a well written and engaging manner, with characters that stand out. Some you just want to like, some you respect, some you hate and some you just want to punch in the nose, which is always a good sign.