The world is on the brink of war.
Fisk and Shoe - mercenaries, very much not wanting to get caught in the middle of a political whirlwind - must deliver a very important message, and find a very dangerous man. They have caught the eye of the powerful men of the world, and now the stakes are higher than they like.
And the Emperor has decreed that Livia Cornelius, pregnant with Fisk's child, must travel to the far lands of the Autumn Lords on a diplomatic mission. It will mean crossing half the world, and facing new dangers. And in the end, she will uncover the shocking truth at the heart of the Autumn Lords' Empire.
A truth which will make the petty politics of war and peace unimportant, and will change the world.'
It is part 2, but it works as a stand alone. I had managed to forget that when I started the book. So just cos I was curious I read a few reviews about book 1. But yes it worked as a stand alone as I said. I came in with no expectations and knowing nothing about the two characters.
Shoe is the main character, a half dwarf, half human. A mercenary. His companion and friend is Fisk, the son of a traitor. Fisk is married to Livia, another main character. As her letters to Fisk tells of her journeys to a foreign land.
Oh, back up. I need to tell you what this is first. Why am I speaking of characters without mentioning the weirdness that is this book.
Right. So this takes place in a fantasy world. A fantasy world that reminds us of our world. There is Rume, ruling a vast land. There is Tchinee where Livia goes as an ambassador. And in the Ruman empire there is something that compares to the wild west. It's a steampunk world where engineers use demons to power machines. There are dwarves and elves (the latter being bloodthirsty beasts.) It's a weird world, a mix of things. Our world, so familiar, and yet not. So for this the fantasy world works, yes there is Rume. Tchinee. But it never feels like it's just borrowed from our world. It is its own world.
And in this world Fisk and Shoe tries to find an engineer on the run. Livia has her own issues as the emperor is angry with her family.
It took some getting into, mostly cos it was so strange. But then it became hard to put down and the end! Damn that emperor! Yes it does end with a cliffie. I thought it would be settled, but nope. It will make you want more.
Such an interesting world.
Paperback, 480 pages
Published September 17th 2015 by Gollancz