Range of Ghosts
Tor, Mar 27 2012, $25.99
The Khagan of Khagans is dead. His descendants went to war to replace the late Great Khagan as ruler of the Khaganate. Temur fought on the side of the losers as he followed his brother into combat in the fratricide civil war. He awakens in the bloody battlefield surrounded by corpses and knowing he is the rightful blood heir to his divided family’s kingdom, but with no power to achieve what is his. Needing to escape, Temur joins a horde of refugees running from the war zone. While fleeing he meets fellow refugee Edene, but blood ghosts abduct her; he vows to rescue her somehow.
Once-Princess Samarkar was heir to the Rasan Empire until her half-brother was born. Her father exiled her as an expendable pawn in marriage to the Prince of Song, but there relationship ended in deadly combat. The royal widow wants nothing further to do with the blood of man so she climbed the thousand steps of the Citadel of the Wizards of Tsarepheth to learn if she had magical skills. Now a wizard Samarkar and Hrahima the tiger-woman who rages at her people’s god join Temur in his quest to rescue Edene and kill those who mass murdered a city; as war seems everywhere with no regard to casualties along the Celadon Highway
This is a great opening act as readers feel they live in the war riddled kingdoms. The cast is strong especially the lead protagonists whose point of view enhance the bloody conditions in the Bear where the sky over each kingdom reflects the respective ruler’s gods and a magic practitioner pays a high cost to perform. However, the key is the diversity between the kingdoms interwoven inside an exhilarating fantasy that fans will appreciate.