The Empire’s Ghost

Isabelle Steiger. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $25.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-250-08848-2
Steiger’s enjoyable epic fantasy debut weaves in and out of the lives of people on all sides of the struggle to determine the destiny of a continent. A tavern kitchen boy and his friends accidentally get tangled in the affairs of Emperor Elgar, who’s trying to decide whether to turn his conquering ambitions on the kingdom of Reglay or the country of Esthrades. The boy king of Reglay seeks allies, and the marquise of Esthrades seeks power in more arcane ways, which leads her principal servant, Seren Almasy, into a chance encounter with the hapless protagonist. Steiger handles a complex plot and a multitude of viewpoints neatly and well. Revelations about the world and the characters are placed at suspenseful intervals, and the story raises many interesting questions that remain unanswered. Unfortunately, this series launch has no conclusion of its own but simply stops, and most of it is spent setting up events and revelations that readers will have no opportunity to experience until the next book is published. Steiger’s talent does make this less frustrating overall than it otherwise might be, but the lack of emotional payoff in this installment is very noticeable. Agent: Thomas Flannery Jr., AGI Vigliano. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/27/2017
Release date: 05/16/2017
Ebook - 978-1-250-08849-9
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