Mark Charan Newton. Pan MacMillan, $14.95 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-4472-1929-3
In this lackluster start to a historical fantasy-mystery series, Newton (The Broken Isles) creates a tough, gritty, Roman-era world crammed with political intrigue and powerful rulers. The Vispasian Royal Union comprises eight nations on the continent, and the men and women of the Sun Chamber enforce its laws and keep the entire continent safe. Lucan Drakenfeld returns to the nation of Detrata and its capital, Tryum, for his father’s funeral and is unexpectedly thrust into a murder investigation when the king’s sister, Lacana, is found dead in a locked temple room. Drakenfeld is soon pitted against an adversary who holds all the cards, while Drakenfeld has only his wits and training in his favor. Newton’s no-nonsense, Jack Webb–esque hero plods his way through thin plotting and labored, bloody fight scenes that are meant to give the feel of high-fantasy scheming and subterfuge, but this story mostly exists to set up further adventures. Agent: John Jarrold, John Jarrold Literary. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/23/2016
Release date: 04/01/2016
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 400 pages - 978-0-230-77141-3
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-230-76682-2
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