The Thousand Names by Django Wexler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A curst good book! After 513 pages, I was both blessing and cursing Django Wexler. Like David Drake, Eric Flint, and David Eddings, he can write likeable characters--a must for a series you're going to follow however long it takes. A firm grounding in history gives a realistic portrayal of the realities of military life and colonialism.
Khandar is a land steeped in all-but-forgotten magic (think Egypt, maybe). The Vordanai Empire has diplomatic relations (and a military outpost) with Khandar's ruler, a dissolute monarch. When there is an uprising of religious fundamentalists, the Vordanais must send more military aid. Marcus, the Senior Captain, will be so relieved to give over command! He is the consummate career officer, brave, honorable, and true--too loyal to his friends, sometimes. Winter is a lowly private, promoted out of spite--her Sergeant thinking she'll be sent on a suicide mission. Winter's been masquerading as a young man ever since she escaped from the orphanage. Janus is the new Commander, a man with a military gift as great as Napoleon's. He'll get the job done, but he's on the track of a magical mystery--despite the Vordanai disdain for magic as superstition.
Wexler has just the right balance of action and exposition. His society does feel like it's right in the 1700s-1800s, and Napoleonic studies certainly influenced Wexler, but I am also put in mind of Romans and Greeks, and Belisarius and Alexander in addition to Napoleon. I bought the book. I preordered book II, The Shadow Throne, coming July 2014. I posted on Facebook. I wrote a fan letter--only a few other times have I done that!
So happy, and so sad, to discover another series--to look forward, but have to wait!
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