cover image Master Assassins: The Fire Sacraments, Book One

Master Assassins: The Fire Sacraments, Book One

Robert V.S. Redick. Talos, $14.99 trade paper (458p) ISBN 978-1-945863-37-0

Epic fantasy author Redick (the Chathrand Voyages series) opens a series with this taut story about a motley pair of half-brothers who alter the course of a holy war by trying to escape it. Neither Kandri nor Mektu is a true believer in the Prophet, and Mektu’s sanity is also in question. But they remain in the Army of Revelation until Kandri inadvertently kills someone the Prophet loves. Her rage forces the accidental “master assassins” to flee to a lethal wasteland ahead of the Prophet’s ruthless hunters. The apocalyptic Time of Madness is approaching, and the world contains horrors that the brothers can’t escape no matter how far they run. Redick excels at portraying how Kandri and Mektu teeter on the edge of disaster in a harsh, bare-bones world constricted by religious fears, with imminent menace always snapping at their heels. They cling to memories of love amid a brutal flight, making their struggles all the more intensely felt. The names, science, medicine, military life, and other elements are reminiscent to Arabic, Persian, and Turkish culture from the Middle Ages and later. Redick’s fine series launch is recommended for all fantasy readers. Agent: Matt Bialer, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Mar.)