cover image Last to Rise

Last to Rise

Francis Knight. Orbit, $16 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-0-316-21774-3

Knight’s Rojan Dizon trilogy conclusion presses its growing cast of characters into intense moments of loyalty and sacrifice to close with a sharp turn into darker, more rewarding territory. The Storad, whose attack on the corrupt and crumbling city of Mahala concluded Before the Fall, have the city under siege, the wealthy bribing their way to safety while the poor fend off starvation on a diet of rat meat. Pain mage Rojan Dizon doesn’t care for the theocratic oligarchy, but he joins forces with his brother, Perak, the Archdeacon of Mahala, to save a city that Rojan would happily see destroyed. As cynical, wisecracking Rojan desperately counters the Storad onslaught, Knight forces him to mature. With Rojan’s best friend anchoring him to humanity on one side and his exhausting, bloody, agonizing magic driving him closer to insanity on the other, the novel takes on a propulsive, fractured energy that mirrors Rojan and Mahala’s increasingly frantic struggle for survival. The series, which has grown in complexity since the beginning, reaches a profoundly moving conclusion that is both unexpected and entirely satisfying. (Nov.)