by Jim Butcher
Category: Fiction / Fantasy
472 pages; ISBN: 0441012833
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Ace, July 2005, $23.95, 472 pp.
The realm of Alera has stood for over 1,000 years, pushing back barbarian hordes behind a shield wall to keep out the icemaen on one of its borders and guarding the other with well trained legionnares. The people are able to control the furies, elementals who do the bidding of their master. The only person in the entire realm who doesn’t have a fury is Tavi, a young man who saved the realm from being overrun by the Marat horde.
Now the realm is in trouble from within and without. The First Lord is old and has not named an heir. He overextends himself and falls into a coma leaving the realm in the hands of his most trusted people including Tavi. Two noble families are plotting to overthrow the First Lord while an old enemy from across the sea is plotting to plunge the realm into civil war. The vord, an intelligent species that takes control of an individual, has woken after a long slumber and is busy multiplying and taking control of people in the capital and in Calderon. If they are not stopped, the whole realm will be one hive mind.
Jim Butcher is a brilliant world builder who has created a place based on the Roman Empire, complete with political intrigue, treachery and determination to keep out the barbarians at the gates. Tavi plays a critical role as he learns to be a spy for the realm while helping to protect the secret of the First Llord’s illness. He has grown since the events in FURIES OF CALDERON took place and his strength and loyalty makes him a valuable asset to the realm even though some consider him a freak because he can’t control a fury.
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