cover image Seven Blades in Black (Grave of Empires #1)

Seven Blades in Black (Grave of Empires #1)

Sam Sykes. Orbit, $16.99 trade paper (704p) ISBN 978-0-316-36343-3

Sykes (the Bring Down Heaven trilogy) launches his Grave of Empires trilogy with this rollicking, moving fantasy epic of revenge and magic, and the price they demand of one battle-scarred gunslinger. Sal the Cacophony has been arrested by the uncompromising revolutionary government. While awaiting her execution, Sal is given one last chance to tell the truth about her past and the lives she has claimed. But rather than providing a straightforward confession, Sal tells her captors about her journeys through the Scar, a wasteland devastated by two empires, with only her gun and her winged mount for companionship. Raised as a mage, Sal survived the agony of having her magic ripped away and now lives only to kill the 33 wizards who betrayed her. In a world where magic steals pieces of its users’ souls, Sal has learned to give up everything, even love itself, to fulfill her quest, so telling a few lies to her captors about her sins seems almost easy. With skillful worldbuilding, unexpected humor, and characters real enough to touch, this is easily Sykes’s best book to date. (Apr.)