cover image Wraithbound


Tim Akers. Baen, $18 trade paper (464p) ISBN 978-1-982192-55-6

This heart-pounding series opener from Akers (Valhellions) launches young Rae Kelthannis on a career as a spiritbinder. In Akers’s unusual magic system, humans bind themselves to elementals to gain control over the spirits of life, death, law, chaos, or one of the forces of nature. Rae’s father, a stormbinder, is in service of Baron Hadroy when justicars descend to prosecute Hadroy’s other adviser, the heretic Rassek Brant, sending Rae and his family on the run. A decade later, in remote Hammerwall Bastion, justicars come asking questions once more. Rae resolves to become a spiritbinder in secret, hoping to earn enough money helping a criminal acquaintance that his family will be able to escape the justicars once more. The deal goes wrong and, while Rae and his sister, Lalette, are away, a mage attacks and kills their parents with the help of a demon. Rae and Lalette escape into the wastelands with the thug Mahk in tow. There, the young trio encounter a lifebinder who helps them (for reasons that are unclear) as they run from the fiendbinder, revealed to be Rassek Brant, back from the dead. Akers slowly reveals the secrets of this world while leaving plenty to be explored in future volumes. Epic fantasy fans of all ages will look forward to Rae and Lalette’s next adventure. (Apr.)