Elizabeth Bear has clearly done her history homework. Not that this is history, or even alternate history, but more a hero's tale knitted from impres..Show More »sions of history. In a world where various empires have come and gone, battling gods have shattered the very sky. The war rising to sweep across nations begins with a reluctant claimant to a his grandfather's throne, stumbling alone off the battlefield after having been left for dead.
Temur doesn't want to rule, he only wants to live and maybe find a new family with the woman he loves, but his uncle wants him dead, and a distant cult bent on sowing chaos and destruction wants to use him, or his unborn child.
Once-Princess Samarkar has given up her fertility to find power of her own. Now she must put her skills and wits to use in aiding Temur's cause, as that seems the best course of stopping the cult using necromancy and black sorcery that is seeking to spread war to every realm under the shattered sky.
The story moved along at a good speed, and I found the characters believable, earthy and easy to care about. Just be warned that this is part one, and the end will leave you desperately wanting to know what happens next.
This is part two of a series. Part one is 'Range of Ghosts'. Hopefully Audible will list them as a series soon.
The followers of the Eterna..Show More »l Sky seem to be based on the Mongols, at the time when their empire was being torn apart by a war of succession, and other characters are from neighboring empires based on those along the Silk Road, but in this world, there are hungry ghosts, djinn, ghuls, rocs, clever magicians and dark sorcerers. Bear's characters seem very human, and she's got a real talent for description. Once you're immersed in their gritty, day to day lives enough to almost feel the gait of a steppe pony beneath you, the supernatural seems to fit right in.