Ace, Dec 2007, $24.95
The war between the Alera and its vicious neighbor the Canim has mostly been fought on the former’s lands. However, recently a not so subtle change has occurred as the invaders are no longer sending powerful armies into Alera, but instead frightened refuges are fleeing Canim for temporary shelter in Alera.
First Aleran Legion Captain Tavi concludes a third foe has arisen and devastated the Canim, whose military for the most part were at war in Alera. As the torrent of desperate newcomers crossing the border remains unabated, the Aleran resent the immigrants who they have been at war with for two years and do not trust them as the locals assume their enemy is subversive terrorists. However, Tavi recognizes that the Cane and the Aleran must forge an alliance to have any hope of defeating the Vord, who has easily conquered Canim and has begun the invasion of Alera. Military Commander Senator Amos ignores the outside threat. Instead he marshals the troops to destroy the Cane, former Aleran slaves who seek an alliance with the foreigners, and any citizen including Proletarian who does likewise. Tavi knows that course means the end of his country so he disobeys orders to lead his First Aleran Legion against the Vord.
The fourth Codex Alera fantasy is an exciting military thriller in which the star attraction is the convoluted nature of war which is explored and not just on the battlefields (although that are some of the most intense scenes). The Senatorial debate mirrors much of the argument over the Iraq war and the immigration “crisis” in DC. Readers will ponder when war is the answer while a truism is emphasized that yesterday’s enemy is today’s ally when a new foe surfaces. Perhaps the only negative is this insightful and serious tale is it is not Dresden; a fate that Jim Butcher obviously understands as he is like the actor associated forever with a particular popular role.