cover image Engines of Empire

Engines of Empire

R.S. Ford. Orbit, $17.99 trade paper (640p) ISBN 978-0-316-62956-0

Despite a prologue a bit too reminiscent of the start of A Game of Thrones, Ford (the War of the Archons series) succeeds in building a complex fantasy world, complete with warring factions, fearsome creatures, and bloody struggles for power in his Age of Uprising series launch. The nation of Torwyn is distinguished by its focus on engineering; its Hawkspur Guild has achieved ascendancy, from its humble beginnings as couriers, by constructing a comprehensive system of rail lines traversing all of Torwyn. But Guildmaster Rosomon Hawkspur confronts multiple threats to her organization’s primacy and challenges to the reign of Torwyn’s emperor, Sullivar Archwind. Among them is a false accusation that her artificer son, Fulren, assassinated Assenah Neskhon, a royal emissary of a rival nation regarded as demon worshippers. Ford effectively maintains tension by toggling between Fulren’s plight and the perils faced by his siblings: Conall, a military captain, and Tyreta, a webwainer able to manipulate the crystals that are Torwyn’s main energy source. Their struggles build to a well-earned dramatic conclusion that sets up the next book nicely. Fans of R.A. Salvatore’s DemonWars Saga will be especially hooked. John Jarrold, John Jarrold Literary. (Jan.)