cover image A Fading Sun: The Sunpath Cycle, Book 1

A Fading Sun: The Sunpath Cycle, Book 1

Stephen Leigh. DAW, $16 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-7564-1121-3

Leigh’s complex and substantial fantasy series opener adds elaborate spellcasting and powerful sorcerers to the legend of Celtic warrior queen Boudica repelling the Romans. The war machine Mundoa conquered Albann, home of the spiritual Cateni people. Generations later, Cateni Voada Paorach lives a comfortable life as the wife of the tax collector, but she’s secretly a draoi, or magic user. After Voada publicly guides the spirit of her husband to the afterlife, she is vilified by Mundoan governor Maki Kadir, beaten, and left for dead, and her children are sold into slavery. She vows to eradicate Mundoa from Albann and free her people. Voada sets off on an epic adventure to cultivate the power she draws from draoi ancestors, battling both the Mundoan forces and a spirit that’s trying to consume her. Leigh (The Atonement Tango) skillfully weaves together a comprehensive and rich mythology, intricate fight sequences, and a mother’s all-consuming revenge. The story holds few surprises, but the engaging characters will draw in readers. (July)