It’s been a little while, but good to get back to the Emperor’s Edge series which is a little outside my standard high/classic/medieval fantasy (I’ve also been binge-reading The Black Company, which I might collectively review once I finish Soldiers Live).
Obviously there are spoilers for previous entries, though I’ll try and keep those and current book spoilers to a minimum.
The story picks up with our band of assorted rapscallions back in the capital, with Emperor Sespian officially deemed out of the picture (although actually still very much alive and well and rescued by Amaranthe and her chaps). Already the contest for the throne is underway, with Maldonado’s brother (a general) backed by his own men and Forge, while other claimants have powerful support as well, and some generals are standing fast and considering their options.
Soldiers in the city are showing support for one faction or another with coloured armbands, and while fighting hasn’t broken out there’s simmering tension in the air. Propaganda has replaced news, and a chance discovery by Sicarius presents a possible means of infiltrating Forge. Amaranthe, keen to do something about their incredible technological edge (sure to guarantee victory should it come to outright war), seeks to exploit the opportunity. At the same time, Sespian is sent to make contact with a neutral general in order to try and build support at reclaiming his throne. Sicarius goes along to shadow his son, while the other members of Amaranthe’s merry men are split between the two.
I did find myself getting sucked into the book a lot, with various tense/action scenes nicely done, and some ambiguity here and there adding to uncertainty in a good way. Slightly less a fan of the ‘ending’ (it’s only part 1 of Forged in Blood, to be fair) for reasons I can’t really explain without massive spoilers, but it’s certainly not a deal-breaker or anything like that.
I’ll still be picking up part 2 in the nearish future, and am currently reading The Guardians of Byzantium, book 1, a historical fiction set in 395 AD.