cover image Wrath


John Gwynne. Orbit, $16.99 trade paper (736p) ISBN 978-0-316-38634-0

Gwynne brings his Faithful and the Fallen epic fantasy series to a melee-laden climax in this violent fourth volume (after Ruin). He begins with a splash as two of his heroes, Veradis and Alcyon, fall from a tower into a river to escape from Calidus, a demon in human form who’s trying to gather seven treasures to bring a host of demons into the world of flesh. The pair join with remnants of an alliance led by another hero, Corban, who was defeated at the ancient fortress of Drassil. Corban has been captured by the Jotun clan of giants, but the rest of his forces seek to reunite and continue fighting against the demons and their allies and thralls. In the west, two queens clash, one a staunch ally of Calidus and the other refusing to believe that the God-War is upon them. Those who enjoy fantasy warfare will relish this installment, as there are endless skirmishes, duels, pitched battles, raids, ambushes, and every other form of combat. Some parts feel a bit derivative, though, as when a small band seeks to destroy powerful artifacts while a diversionary assault rages, à la The Return of the King. (Dec.)