cover image City of Ruin

City of Ruin

Mark Charan Newton. Spectra, $16 trade paper (448p) ISBN 978-0-345-52088-3

The ambitious second installment in Newton's Legends of the Red Sun dark epic fantasy series (after 2010's Nights in Villjamur) contains some deeply weird moments. The corrupt city of Villiren is now home to a number of refugees from the capital, including Investigator Rumex Jeryd and Cmdr. Brynd Lathraea of the elite Night Guard. The residents are more focused on internal affairs, like the rash of mysterious disappearances, than on the encroaching alien army allied with the exiled former empress. Labor issues, mad scientists and their creations, racial and religious intolerance, and extradimensional travelers all contribute to the elaborate canvas of the story. Great balanced battle scenes, offering both individual perspectives and sweeping overviews, leave a sense of lingering horror. While the novel's reach may exceed its grasp, the expanded world and its inhabitants are consistently compelling. (July)