The Breath Of God
Tor, Dec 23 2008, $24.95
A major part of what defended the Raumsdalian Empire was the glacier that surrounded the powerful nation. Now that impenetrable frozen defense has cracked open (see BEYOND THE GAP) allowing outsides to enter and threaten the clans. The most vicious and insidious is the Rulers, mages riding mammoths as they destroy anything in their path.
Count Thyssen along with Northern Bizogot clan jarl Trasamund led an expedition beyond the glacier to explore the land the glacier and find the mythical Golden Shrine but soon return to the capital of Nidaris to rally the Raumsdalian forces against the invincible Rulers. Two battles result in Rulers slaughtering the opposition. Hamnet leads their withdrawal to fight another day as this battle is lost; the fleeing Raumsdalian army meets a new shaman Marcovefa who joins their side.
The second Opening of the World thriller is a terrific novel that switches gear from the first tale, which was more of an exploration expedition, to a great military fantasy. The story line is fast-paced as the heroes flee after losing the battle to the more powerful Rulers. The romance between Marcovefa and Hamnet provides a humanizing touch especially since he has been burned by women starting with his cheating ex-wife and has doubts about a relationship that when it goes wrong could have secondary consequences on the empire and its people. Fans will relish Harry Turtledove’s superb military fantasy.