cover image Empire of Exiles

Empire of Exiles

Erin M. Evans. Orbit, $17.99 trade paper (432p) ISBN 978-0-316-44087-5

Evans (the Brimstone Angels series) launches her Books of the Usurper epic fantasy series with a heady mixture of magic, murder, and revolution. Twenty-three years before the start of the book, Redolfo, Duke Kirazzi, attempted a coup in the empire of Semilla. But the Kirazzi Rebellion failed and Redolfo was executed. In the present day, Quill, an apprentice scribe, arrives in the capital city of Arlabecca to retrieve some ancient artifacts from the Imperial Archives on a special request from the remaining Kirazzi family. While there, the murder of a prominent lord throws the city into chaos. When Quill discovers a dangerous weapon hidden among the Kirazzi artifacts—one that hasn’t been used since the days of the coup—he must band together with the city’s Archivists to investigate the attack and halt a conspiracy that threatens to destroy the empire. There’s a bit of a learning curve to Evans’s complex worldbuilding, but readers will be drawn in by the memorable cast, vibrantly drawn fantasy cultures, and vivid prose. Epic fantasy fans will be eager to see where the series goes. Agent: Bridget Smith, JABberwocky. (Nov.)