cover image A Harvest of Ash and Blood

A Harvest of Ash and Blood

D.J. Molles. Blackstone, $29.99 (546p) ISBN 979-8-212-02727-4

Molles (the Remaining series) takes readers into the heart of a genocidal empire in an impassioned if flawed epic fantasy. The Brannic Empire, led by the Church of Alchemy, slaughters children suspected to have magic and uses their ashes as a power source, though what exactly they’re using it to do is only hazily established. Sgt. Lochled Thatcher, whose own daughter was taken away by the Church, is assigned to lead a mission into the conquered Leftland to gather ashes from the Tickers, the land’s magic-wielding native inhabitants, whom the Church deems “low-minded beings.” As Lochled and crew, including new recruit Rony Hirdman, loot and murder their way across the Leftland, infighting breaks out among the soldiers and realization slowly dawns that the Tickers may not be what the Church has made them out to be. Molles renders this bone-crunching war with gore galore and a strong sense of camaraderie among the soldiers. Though the unlearning of years of bigotry and indoctrination happens unbelievably quickly, it’s still a powerful message. Military fantasy readers will find plenty to enjoy. (Aug.)