cover image The Cold Commands

The Cold Commands

Richard K. Morgan. Del Rey, $26 (512p) ISBN 978-0-345-49306-4

Morgan’s gory fantasy delves deep into the war-torn world introduced in 2007’s The Steel Remains. Three veteran warriors, briefly reunited, split up once more to take vastly different paths. The semi-immortal Archeth, disillusioned and apathetic, wearily continues serving her emperor as he slowly adjusts to the news that humanity’s ancient rivals, the magical dwenda, have returned. The tribesman Egar fidgets restlessly in his self-imposed retirement, and the powerful sorcerer Ringil is off slaughtering slaver caravans in an attempt to atone for his failure to rescue his cousin. When the three heroes meet again, they uncover the dwenda’s new, subtle plot. Vivid, bloody battle scenes and enthralling, multifaceted characters are more than adequate to prop up the sagging story line, and the slow pace is at least forgiving to readers new to the series. (Oct.)