cover image The Red Prince: The Long War, Book 3

The Red Prince: The Long War, Book 3

A.J. Smith. Head of Zeus, $14.95 trade (544p) ISBN 978-1-78408-088-4

Alliances are made and broken as the Long War among the gods, played out through their human counterparts, continues in this grueling third book (after The Dark Blood) of Smith’s increasingly epic series. Cities have fallen. The Seven Sisters, enchantresses in service to the Dead God, are working to cement their deity’s hold in this world, preaching a gospel of debauchery to lure the masses. Opposing them are a wide variety of people, including the assassin known as Rham Jas Rami; the Red Prince, Alexander Tiris; and Halla, an axe maiden. Their equally diverse motivations include noble duty, a mission to rescue a child, and personal religious devotion. The multi­perspective structure of the novel allows for an almost omnipresent view of a cosmic chessboard in a tale that incorporates high fantasy, military exploits, and touches of an almost Lovecraftian mythos. Keeping up with the expansive cast of characters and places tends to pull the reader out of the narrative, and the flow from one battle directly into another leaves one wishing for a bit more substance than a steady diet of loss, death, and religious posturing. Agent: Diane Banks, Diane Banks Associates. (Apr.)