cover image Seven Deaths of an Empire

Seven Deaths of an Empire

G.R. Matthews. Solaris, $24.99 (550p) ISBN 978-1-78108-913-2

Matthews (Silent City) launches his Six Kingdoms series with a page-turning dark fantasy that kicks off with the sudden death of the Emperor of Sudrim while he’s away on a mission. From within the imperial palace, General Bordan, the leader of the Empire’s army, oversees the operation to return the Emperor’s body to his family, and with it the amulet “which contains his soul and wisdom” to be passed down to Sudrim’s next ruler. Meanwhile, apprentice magician Kyron co-leads the convoy escorting the Emperor’s remains. But enemies from within and without stand in the way, among them assassins who aim to dispatch the royal family and tribesmen whose lands the convoy must cross. After two members of the royal family are slain in the palace, a battle erupts between the imperial army and the traitors attempting to hijack Kyron’s caravan and steal the amulet. Interweaving Bordan’s and Kyron’s narratives, Matthews builds suspense with hints of treason and treachery among the Empire’s nobility. Though it takes some time to acclimate to Matthews’s visceral world, the plot’s surprising twists and turns will wow fantasy fans. This is an impressive series opener. [em]Agent: Jamie Cowen, Ampersand. (June) [/em]