cover image The Heron Kings

The Heron Kings

Eric Lewis. Flame Tree, $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-78758-389-4

Lewis’s excellent debut introduces a band of well-drawn outlaws who don’t care who wins the civil war that’s ravaging their land, just so long as it ends. Young healer Alessia abandons her monastic order when it bows to the bloodthirsty General Taurix, peasant Ulnoth is out for revenge after soldiers murder his family, and soldier Corren leaves his battalion to avoid killing innocents. Though their personalities initially clash, the deserters band together in a forest encampment, where they attract other refugees. But living peacefully proves impossible, and the three new leaders enact a cunning, deadly defense against the increasingly vicious armies. When they learn that the warring armies might themselves be pawns in a larger political game, it’s up to Alessia, Ulnoth, and Corren to stop the violence once and for all. The central trio are marvelously realized, and their developments amid the ongoing horrors are effortlessly convincing. Readers who love medieval-esque fantasy will delight in this rousing tale of rebellion. (Apr.)