cover image The Black Coast

The Black Coast

Mike Brooks. Solaris, $14.99 trade paper (670p) ISBN 978-1-78108-824-1

With this marvelous series opener, sci-fi author Brooks (Dark Deeds) demonstrates that he’s as skillful at fantasy epics as he is at space capers. Saana Sattistutar, chief of the Brown Eagle clan, has sailed her people from their island nation of Tjakorsha to distant Narida, fleeing the draug, a beast akin to a demon that has conquered most of their archipelago. The Tjakorshi have only ever raided the Naridan shore but now hope to settle among its people. When Naridan Daimon Blackcreek, adopted son of the thane of Black Keep, sees the overwhelming numbers of the Brown Eagles, he helps to subdue and capture his vengeance-hungry father to prevent bloodshed. Meanwhile, Princess Tila departs Narida’s capital in the guise of her alter ego, criminal leader Livnya the Knife, travelling to Kiburu ce Alaba and seeing to it that the only other claimants to her brother’s throne are assassinated. Brooks richly imagines the cultures of Narida, Tjakorsha, and Kiburu ce Alaba, and peoples them with multifaceted characters—plus creatures suspiciously like dinosaurs. The many point of view characters create a tapestry of blood, honor, and survival. Any fan of epic fantasy will find something to love here, particularly readers of Raymond E. Feist or Victor Milán. Agent: Robert Dinsdale, Independent Literary (U.K.). (Feb.)