Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan – Review

Cover- Promise of Blood

Published: April 16, 2013

Publisher: Orbit

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 545 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.0/5.0




The Age of Kings is dead . . . and I have killed it.

It’s a bloody business overthrowing a king…
Field Marshal Tamas’ coup against his king sent corrupt aristocrats to the guillotine and brought bread to the starving. But it also provoked war with the Nine Nations, internal attacks by royalist fanatics, and the greedy to scramble for money and power by Tamas’s supposed allies: the Church, workers unions, and mercenary forces.

Stretched to his limit, Tamas is relying heavily on his few remaining powder mages, including the embittered Taniel, a brilliant marksman who also happens to be his estranged son, and Adamat, a retired police inspector whose loyalty is being tested by blackmail.

But when gods are involved…
Now, as attacks batter them from within and without, the credulous are whispering about omens of death and destruction. Just old peasant legends about the gods waking to walk the earth. No modern educated man believes that sort of thing. But they should…

In a rich, distinctive world that mixes magic with technology, who could stand against mages that control gunpowder and bullets? PROMISE OF BLOOD is the start of a new epic fantasy series from Brian McClellan.

As time allows, I’ll be working on re-listening to and re-reading some of my favorite books that I haven’t featured on my blog. I’ve only been blogging for the last year, but I’ve been an avid reader since the age of five so that leaves a lot of un-reviewed subject matter. I’ll be featuring some of my favorite YA and Adult fantasy and sci-fi books that I’ve read in the last 6-8 years or so (makes me feel old). As you may have guessed from the title, the first feature review I’ll be doing is for Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan.

When I first decided that Promise of Blood looked… well, promising, I had never heard of the sub-genre of flintlock fantasy. I loved the military aspect of the Powder Mage Trilogy as well as the unique magic system McClellan developed and the relative modernity it had compared to the usual swords and knights kind of thing. The whole book is appealing, from the incredible cover, to the names of people and locations, to the finely crafted story itself.

Said story begins with a coup. Adamat, a private investigator, is called to Skyline palace in the wee hours of the morning only to find that it wasn’t the king who had called, but rather Field Marshall Tamas, the man who’s just overthrown the king and murdered his mage cabal. Upon their demise, each mage uttered a singularly disconcerting phrase and it is now Adamat’s job to figure out what it means. Tamas meanwhile, must oversee the executions of the nobility, keep the country of Adro running, identify an unknown Privileged sorcerer, and that’s just within the first few days. Of course, Tamas has the help of his Powder cabal, his fellow usurpers, and his son Taniel, who is a renowned powder mage himself. Taniel Two-Shot and Ka-poel, his “savage” companion enter the story right in the midst of the coup and Taniel immediately finds himself drawn into the action chasing down the unknown Privileged in Adro. This book really throws you right in the middle of the action and it doesn’t let up the entire time!

Promise of Blood was full of saltpeter and sorcery, gods and guns, magic and mayhem. Okay, you get the picture right? It was fantastic, action-packed, and had me on the edge of my seat! Each character was interesting and well-developed and I was seriously invested in each storyline, which is impressive. I loved Adamat, Tamas, and Taniel’s chapters- for me to both not want to stray from the current character and want to see what’s going on with next is great because I usually have a favorite by the first hundred pages.

All in all, this was a strong, enticing start to the trilogy and I loved it just as much the second read as the first. After such praise, you may wonder why I only gave it 4 star so let me explain. Because this is a re-read, I already know how much more awesome the next two books get and in comparison with the plot in the latter two, this is a 4.0/5.0. Autumn Republic was a great conclusion to the series and I can’t wait to review books 2 and 3 for you, my readers! I hope this has piqued your interest enough to read Promise of Blood!



3 thoughts on “Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan – Review

  1. Pingback: Waiting on Wednesday: Wrath of Empire by Brian McClellan | Powder & Page

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