The young nation of Fatrasta is a turbulent place - a frontier destination for criminals, fortune hunters, brave settlers, and sorcerers....
In a war that makes no sense, ten armies fight separately against a single foe....
A young warrior called Rezkin is unexpectedly thrust into the outworld when a terrible battle destroys all that he knows....
Enter a new world or return to see old friends in four Powder Mage Universe novellas featuring Erika, Tamas, Adamat, Taniel, Ka-poel, and Ben Styke....
Minalan gave up a promising career as a professional warmage to live the quiet life of a village spellmonger in the remote mountain valley of Boval....
The journey through the Serpent Spire won't be easy, but Corin won't stop until he gets his brother back....
It has been 20 years since the end of the war. The dictatorial Augurs, once thought of almost as gods, were overthrown and wiped out during the conflict....
When Soren is plucked from the streets and given a place at the prestigious academy of swordsmanship, he thinks his dream of being a great swordsman has become a possibility....
Since time immemorial, humans have worshipped the gods they call Fhrey, truly a race apart: invincible in battle, masters of magic, and seemingly immortal....
The Wizard's Council of Tarador was supposed to tell young Koren Bladewell that he is a wizard....
Nona is selected to learn combat and finds herself at the center of an epic battle for empire on the outer reaches of a dying universe....
Five stories from the Powder Mage Universe, including the never-before-published "Green-Eyed Vipers"....
The Warded Man features a world where demons stalk the night, hunting humans who have long forgotten the magic of their ancestors....
Captain Marcus d’Ivoire and Winter Ihernglass see their fortunes rise under the command of military genius Janus bet Vhalnich....
In The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley, the emperor of Annur is dead, slain by enemies unknown. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world....
Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best, the most feared and renowned crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld....
A chance encounter with an ancient and mysterious object awakens a latent gift, and Wulfric's life changes course....
The Age of Kings is dead...and I have killed it.
It's a bloody business overthrowing a king....
It's up to a few....
Stretched to his limit, Tamas is relying heavily on his few remaining powder mages, including the embittered Taniel, a brilliant marksman who also happens to be his estranged son, and Adamat, a retired police inspector whose loyalty is being tested by blackmail. But when gods are involved....
Now, as attacks batter them from within and without, the credulous are whispering about omens of death and destruction. Just old peasant legends about the gods waking to walk the earth. No modern educated man believes that sort of thing. But they should....
The Powder Mage Trilogy, Book 1.
Any additional comments?
A review of A Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan<br/>I enjoyed Brian McClellan's A Promise of Blood. It was a fun read from start to finish. It also perfectly meets the need I've been feeling for a while now. I love epic fantasy, but I feel the swords and sorcery trope is a bit tired. Don't get me wrong, there's still plenty of room for awesome in medieval-based fantasy, but we've been stuck in the dark ages for quite some time. I want to see how wizards deal with the industrial revolution, which is exactly what McClellan does in this book. <br/><br/>What's great about A Promise of Blood, is that most of the bread and butter fantasy tropes are still there, they just have to deal with the upstart middle-class powder mages who have decided that the oligarchic sorcerers have had their turn. In fact if you took, say, the Wheel of Time, and revisited fifty or a hundred years after the events in A Memory of Light, you'd basically have A Promise of Blood. It basically has the same back story - way back when the sorcerers did stuff that makes today's elite look like children; the sorcerers can manipulate the classical elements; the sorcerers and kings have all the power and most of the wealth. There's even the threat of gods returning to wreak havoc on mere mortals' best laid plans.<br/><br/>But the times, they are a changing, thanks to Field Marshal Tamas and his cabal of powder mages, who ingest gunpowder and can manipulate bullets, whether that be bouncing them around corners or sniping someone from several miles away. And McClellan definitely delivers on his promise. Overthrowing the King and all the nobility can be a messy affair, and you can bet that the neighboring monarchs aren't thrilled that Tamas killed god's chosen king. Their own subjects might get ideas, after all.<br/><br/>I thought McClellan did a good job choosing his viewpoint characters. The story is told through the eyes of the General and interim dictator, his son, the common soldier, a middle-class investigator, and a laundress of one of the erstwhile noble families. I'm not giving names because I listened to the Audiobook and don't know how to spell anyone's name. I felt that giving us these different viewpoints lets us really feel the impact of all these social changes. Plus, the legion of secondary characters are also well-rounded and add to the depth.<br/><br/>As a note on the Audiobook, Christian Rodska does an excellent job narrating. He really gets into almost acting out the dialog instead of merely reading it.
21 of 24 people found this review helpful
Do not miss out on this book! It is a fantasy book about believable people, idealism warring with necessities. The magical system is fresh and inventive. And to top it off you get to laugh out loud now and then. One of the best books (if not the best) I have listened to.
Christian Rodska is awesome as a narrator. He is one of the best!
10 of 11 people found this review helpful
Among recent epic fantasies, Promise of Blood does a great job of balancing old high fantasy tropes with elements of more recent, blood-soaked low fantasy of a Martin or an Abercrombie. McClellan's world is one on the cusp of industrialization and revolution, and we actually meet the main characters immediately after a French Revolution-style coup. Magic is generally part of the old world order, with the exception of Powder Mages, wizards whose abilities center around gunpowder. However, the toppling of dynasties set up by ancient gods turns out to be a fraught thing, and the book does an excellent job balancing threats both mystical and practical.
The worldbuilding is remarkably detailed and interesting. McClellan has put a lot of thought into how sorcery would be used in a war of muskets and swords, and even how the economics and politics of the world work out. His three main characters are also fascinating (though they can take a lot of punishment and survive!), and, through their eyes, the story becomes alternately a high fantasy adventure to stop an evil sorceress, a murder mystery, and a political thriller.
If there is a weakness, it is that, in this nuanced world, the bad guys seem a little flat compared to the well-rounded, and interesting flawed, protagonists. They are also often neigh-unkillable, and a little too prone to mustache-twirling acts of cruelty and monologues about their evil plans. This wouldn't have been an issue except that the rest of the book seems so much more sophisticated.
This was well-read and a real winner. I am going to download the next book in the series right after writing this review!
23 of 27 people found this review helpful
I'm sick and tired of nobles, kings, emperors, dukes, lords, and knights. It looks like Brian McClellan feels the same way.
The narration was fantastic. Christian Rodska usually does great and this is no exception.
Main components are as follows:
* Oliver Cromwell style protagonist. "The age of kings is dead" indeed.
* Magic Musketeers, or "Powder Mages." They're super interesting and fun.
* Old Magic/Feudalism vs. New Magic/New Technology
* Frontiersman + Native Tribeswoman ala French/Indian war style groups.
* Old Gods and Ancient wizard creatures.
The Characters feel real and realized, the plot is interesting and fun, and the ending is satisfying and a good setup for the next book in the series.
Give it a try! :)
13 of 15 people found this review helpful
Promise of Blood is "Flintlock Fantasy" and introduces the concept of Powder Mages who are gun using sorcerers that rely on gunpowder to fuel their abilities. Powder Mages can enter a powder trance by ingesting gun powder and then manipulate bullets as they fly or explode any gun powder being carried by enemies. It is a unique magic system and executed pretty well by Brian McClellan. That concept combined with an interesting story arc carry the book and make up for the characters which I found to be a little uninteresting as a whole.
The book starts at the end of a coup led by Field Marshall Tamas, who with his cabal of Powder Mages, has just ousted the King and killed off his cabal of Privileged Sorcerers. A mystery unfolds when each member of the royal cabal utters the same words as they die: "You can't break Kresimir's promise." Tamas calls on Inspector Adamat to help sort out what those words mean and this leads to a story that unfolds over 3 books involving multiple nations, armies, and even gods.
The three main characters are Field Marshall Tamas, Inspector Adamat, and the Field Marshall's son, Taniel Two-Shot. Taniel earned his nickname because as a Powder Mage he is able to shoot two bullets at once to kill two different people. In what is perhaps the most interesting story line in book 1, Taniel is sent off by Tamas to kill the one remaining member of the Royal Cabal who survived the coup. That person is Privileged Borbador, who was raised by Tamas and happens to be Taniel's best friend.
Christian Rodska does a decent job at the narration and seems to be a good fit for the content.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
These books were really up my alley. They were fast paced with a variety of characters that were decent, not so decent and questionable. There was intrigue, betrayal, backstabbing, glory, and loss. Hell, even the battle scenes were good. It was full of action and kept me highly entertained, so much so that I read one book after the other. Usually when I come across such a find I like to savor it, but with these books the desire to know what happened next won out.
The narrator was good for the most part, except some of the younger characters sounded like they were in their sixties. There were some minor issues, but they didn't take away from the story as a whole.
This author is impressive and has an extraordinary imagination. This is a really enjoyable worthwhile series that I highly recommend. I can't wait to read more from him!!!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I appologize in advance for not leaving a more detailed review. I appreciate the more thorough reviewers when i try to decide to buy a book, but thats not what you're going to get here.
Bottom line, it's a great read and I was downloading the sequel as soon as the narrator said the word Epilogue.
The main advice I have is not to let the civil war/gunpowder era setting discourage you like it did me. I had to remember how much I loved Sandersons Alloy of Law etc to realize that i could appreciate a somewhat more modernized application of a magic system if it is done well. And this story certainly delivers.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I've never read Brian McClellan previously and purchased this on a friend's suggestion. They obviously read the paper version so were able to get into the story. I on the other hand grabbed the audio version and after suffering a mere 5 chapters had to quit.
The narrator, while eloquent, was a one trick pony that only had one character trait - "crotchety old man"
Every character sounded to similar and equally angry to the point of not giving me a chance to get attached to any of them.
Given time I may give McClellan a second chance and buy the physical book but for now I'll pass.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
promise of Blood is Brian McClellan's first novel and boy was it a good start. The characters are all relatable and logical, with flaws and definite limits to Their skills. I really liked the three points of view the author uses because they are all unique and tell three different stories in three different ways. I also liked the plot, which starts with a bang and doesn't slow down the whole book. However, my favorite part of the novel is by far the magic system. I don't want to spoil anything, but it is a mixture of actual sorcery with a twist and then some gunpowder magic. The whole system is diverse, well developed, and utterly new. The only issue with this book is the world building. The author hints at many different places, but only expounds on a few, leaving the reader somewhat confused to the whole picture. This isn't a huge problem, and I hope he can remedy it in the next installment. Oh I almost forgot, the action is delightful, it is a mix of magic and 18th century musket and sword fighting. The author does well with the descriptions of the battle scenes and there are quite a few of them. Finally, the narrator did a solid job in my opinion and differentiated voices well for the most part. Overall, I very much enjoyed this first novel in a trilogy and look forward to reading the next book.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
At first when I started this book, I was thinking its going to be awesome because it was a recommendation from the great author Brandon Sanderson, as Brian McClellan was a student of his. But after a chapter or two, it had a bit of confusion in it. I have assumed that the detective is the lead character at first, then I got a bit lost with the names of some of the characters.
That was the down side, the plus side was is plenty: story was good, specially towards the end of the book. A great ending which lets you think what the hell is going to happen in the next book. some funny twists here and there. Narration was good Christian did a good job with the characters, although it could have been better.
What I recommend is after you listen to it the first time, to give it another listen so you would understand everything that is going on, specially the beginning.
Waiting for the next book to come, don't be late.
12 of 16 people found this review helpful