cover image The Killing Fog

The Killing Fog

Jeff Wheeler. 47North, $14.95 trade paper (456p) ISBN 978-1-5420-1501-1

Wheeler (Broken Veil) opens the Grave Kingdom series with this winding tale of valor and sacrifice, set in a realm where using magic summons a heavy fog that kills every living thing it touches. Twelve-year-old Bingmei was born with a strange ability to smell people’s true intentions and was taught to fight from a young age, but she is still unable to save her family when they are attacked. Four years later, she joins a band of elite mercenaries who are charged with finding the mythical ancient palace of Fusang. Upon finding Fusang, Bingmei inadvertently releases Echion, the emperor of the Grave Kingdom, who means to conquer the world using his magic, which is far beyond the scope of what humans in this land can control. The only way to keep Echion from world domination is by fulfilling a prophecy that could cost Bingmei her life. Though the opening is somewhat unevenly paced, the threat of the fog looming in the background adds atmosphere and tension, and the plot kicks into high gear when Fusang is discovered, giving rise to mystery and an excruciatingly human moral dilemma. This excellent introduction to the prolific Wheeler’s work will appeal to fans of Asian-influenced fantasy. (Mar.)