cover image The Will of the Many

The Will of the Many

James Islington. Saga, $29.99 (688p) ISBN 978-1-982141-17-2

Maintaining suspense for almost 700 pages is a tall order, but Islington (the Licanius trilogy) makes it look easy in his staggering Hierarchy series launch, set in a world dominated by the Roman Empiresque Hierarchy. The Hierarchy maintains its power through an insidious scheme: those at the top draw energy, or Will, from those beneath them, who “voluntarily” cede some of their strength to benefit from the system. Against this backdrop, prison worker Vis, 17, must conceal that he’s really Diago, the prince of Suus, a kingdom vanquished by the Hierarchy when it executed Vis’s family. Vis gets an opportunity for revenge when he’s adopted by a powerful senator, Ulciscor Telimus, who wants him to join the Catenan Academy, where the next generation of Hierarchy leadership is trained. Ulciscor’s brother, Caeror, died there under suspicious circumstances, and Ulciscor hopes Vis can find the truth. But Vis’s options change after an encounter with violent rebels seeking to topple the Hierarchy. Islington’s worldbuilding is exceptionally detailed and thoughtful, making suspending disbelief effortless. Perfectly balancing character development and plot momentum, this will have fantasy fans clamoring for more. Agent: Paul Lucas, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc.(May)