cover image Blood Song

Blood Song

Anthony Ryan. Ace, $27.95 (592p) ISBN 978-0-425-26769-1

Ryan hits all the high notes of epic fantasy—a gritty setting, ancient magics, ruthless intrigue, divided loyalties, and bloody action—in this originally self-published launch title for the Raven’s Shadow trilogy. When 10-year-old Vaelin Al Sorna is delivered by his father, Battle Lord to King Janus, to the House of the Sixth Order, Vaelin is told that he has “no family now save the Order.” Although the Sixth Order is charged with smiting its enemies, particularly servants of the Dark, Vaelin sympathizes with the heretic rebel Deniers. Through years of brutal training, Vaelin endures and rises as a leader among his fellow students. Along the way, he also learns that giving him to the Order was his late mother’s idea, and that she hoped to protect him—but from what, he has no idea. Hints of a long-lost Seventh Order and questions about King Janus and the Dark cause Vaelin to question his loyalties. Ryan balances brisk action with tangled intrigue in this promising debut. (July)