Ace, Nov 25 2008, $25.95
Tavi of Calderon, once an apprentice sheep herder, has become a legend as he is Princeps Gaius Octavian, heir to the throne of Alera and the grandson of the First Lord Gaius Sextus. Tavi negotiated a peace with Alera’s latest enemy, the Canim, ending two years of fighting. The people of Alera use furies (elementals) to perform magic. Tavi escorts the Canim to their home on vessels made for this voyage, but a fierce storm throws the fleet off course, they land in the range of Shuar.
When they reach the stronghold, they realize the Canim have been destroyes by the Vord, a hive like life form that can change shapes and are ruining the earth so that humans and the wolf-like Canim cannot survive. Tavi has a plan to move the surviving Canim so they return to his home to join forces against the Vord. He is unaware that the Vord has already invaded Alera’s southlands spreading disaster everywhere they go. The Alerans who have successfully met every external threat for ten centuries are in trouble from the deadliest enemy of all; political intrigue divides Alera further when a united front is the only way the Alerans can possibly survive.
Jim Butcher, obviously renowned for his Dresden Files, also writes a strong fantasy based on the Roman Empire mixing with other species, magicks and elementals. As is the case with Dresden, Mr. Butcher has the uncanny ability to make his Codex Alera realm seem real; as he understands it is in the subtle details. Tavi is a natural born leader whose strong moral instincts make him an ideal ruler as he is able to forge an alliance with a recent foe and have former enemies work together for the common good. Different characters narrate the story so that the audience knows what is happening from a 360 degree perspective, which adds depth to an exciting fantasy thriller.