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4.7 out of 5 stars63
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 22 February 2016
The Crimson Campaign is the second book in Brian McClellan’s epic Powder Mage series and pretty much picks up the story where it was left off in The Promise of Blood. Like the first novel, book two is also split into three different plot lines which revolve around three different characters: Tamas, Taniel and Adamat.

Field Marshal Tamas is protecting Adro’s borders from a gigantic Kez army that plans to invade and reinstate the monarchy Tamas worked so hard to topple. Though his army is greatly outnumbered, the Field Marshal feels confident that his well trained and disciplined troops will overcome the rabble of Kez soldiers. Though he believes in his troops, Tamas knows that nothing in war is certain and when a chance arises to outflank his enemy and possibly end the war; Tamas takes two of his best brigades and his infamous Powder Mages to finally wipe out the Kez threat. However, the Field Marshal is deceived and has to watch as his army is destroyed. Now Tamas is trapped behind enemy lines and must march his men hundreds of miles through enemy territory to get back to Adro and save his country from another despot.

Killing a god can have serious consequences and when Taniel Two-Shot put a bullet through Kresimir’s eye, his life changed forever. After waking up from a coma, Taniel tries to forget his old life as a soldier and falls into a vicious cycle of drug abuse and denial as he wastes away in a Mala Den. However, when a new breed of assassin is sent to kill him, Taniel decides that his fate lies with the army and returns to the front-line to help defend his country. Nonetheless, life in the army has changed drastically since his father’s (Tamas) disappearance and Taniel finds that he is no longer the golden-boy of the Adro army. Plus, with defeat after defeat pushing the Adro forces back towards the capital Adopest, Taniel feels that something is amiss with the ruling elite and has to ruffle a few feathers to find a traitor in his father’s camp.

Inspector Adamat is still on the hunt for his kidnapped family. With the help of Tamas, he manages to free his youngest children from the lair of Lord Vetas; a conspirator against Tamas and a royalist who wishes to see Adro returned to the rule of the King. Vetas is even more cunning than Adamat imagined and though he saved his children, the Lord still has Adamat’s wife and eldest son locked away in his stronghold. Adamat has to face the challenge head on and tasks himself with recruiting allies to tackle Vetas. However, when Adamat learns the Lord has a Privileged, the Inspector must look to someone from Adro’s despotic past for help.

Like the first book in the series (which I’ve read but haven’t reviewed) The Crimson Campaign was amazing! I am a huge fan of fantasy books and authors, but for me Brian McClellan goes above and beyond with this series for his original story and setting. Basing a novel in a Napoleonic-like era really hits a soft spot with me because I am such a history nerd about the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Then to mix in the fantasy of magic, sorcery, Powder Mages (mages that gain their power from gunpowder) and epic Gods ultimately makes this series truly great.

Honestly, if you are into fantasy books or authors like Mark Lawrence or Patrick Rothfuss you have to check out this series. I thought the first book; The Promise of Blood was equally as good as this one and I can’t wait to read The Autumn Republic! It’s so exciting to find that there are these great fantasy trilogies out there and that they are not just dragging out series like what seems to be happening in the historical-fiction genre at the moment.

For more book reviews google adam-p-reviews
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Second volume in the 'Powder Mage' trilogy of fantasy novels. Which tell of a struggle for power in a nineteenth century style world where mages have special powers relating to gunpowder, and where gods can walk the Earth.

The series began with Promise of Blood: Book 1 in the Powder Mage trilogy. This volume is not a good jumping on point, so new readers should start with that.

This one has five hundred and ninety three pages. It's divided into forty four chapters plus an epilogue.

There are several maps at the start. There's no exposition to refresh your memory of book one, but you will soon get back into things.

The story is seen through the eyes of the four main viewpoint characters.

Tamas. As his attempt to take the fight to the Kez goes wrong, leaving him and his troops with a real struggle to survive. And forcing him to deal with some old, bad memories.

Taniel. He tries to hide from what happened by smoking his way to oblivion. But he might just be his father's son after all.

Adamat. Who has to try and use all his superb detective skills to find his wife.

Nila. Who tries to keep Jakob safe and survive in the home of her terrifying new master.

This is more of the same writing wise to what came before. And thank goodness for that. As with book one, it's supremely readable, with a very original and interesting setting. It's also firmly character driven by characters you can really care for. And it's gripping stuff as a result. The story keeps you hooked, and the pages turn rapidly.

The characters are all in very different places by the end of the story. There have been excellent plot developments along the way.

And this is just the middle book. So you will want to read the third one as soon as possible. The Autumn Republic (Powder Mage trilogy).

A great read in a really great series. Well worth getting into.
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on 19 April 2015
It had been almost a year since I last read about Tamas, Taniel and Adamat in the land of Adro.
I didn't need any reminding or much time to catch-up, I was back in and enthralled from the first chapter.

This starts with the Kez about to mount their attack; Taniel in a bad way back in Adopest (after his previous confrontation with a god); Tamas leading his men on the line and Adamat desperately seeking out his kidnapped family.

The main thing here is the pacing: the book runs along like a racehorse. From the front-lines in the war with the Kez, to Tamas -- having a one point been cut off from the main line with a small force of elite troops -- finding his way back into Adro with heavy troops on his tail, and even for Adamat -- there's skirmishes, battles and fights here a-plenty.

It often seems like Adro is surrounded by a myriad of threats, and while the main threat presented here are the Kez -- things appear far more complicated for book 3.

All the main characters have it tough here -- particularly Taniel (a favourite of mine), alongside his hilariously-devious super-sorcerer sidekick Ka-poel -- and in the few quieter moments are allowed to develop a little.

One little part of Adamat's story is resolved here at least (Lord Vetas); while the product of the end of book 1 (Kresimir) isn't touched on at all until the very end, clearly a hold-over for the next book.

A thriller of a read - 4 stars -- if possibly a little too fast-paced for its own good.
Will be back for Autumn Republic.
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Every so often there’s an author that doesn’t so much arrive as detonates with a story that hasn’t been seen before leaving the reading audience not only gasping for breath but demanding to see what occurs next so much so that they not only have a countdown on their calendar for its arrival but take great pleasure in pestering their bookseller to see how quickly they can get their hands on it. (OK I have to admit I did that.)

SO when I finally got chance to sit back for an epic adventure and having had a pretty shoddy week, I decided that it was time to crack open a bottle of single malt, get my comfy on the sofa and have a lazy night in Brian’s wonderfully inventive world. Whilst the first book is always the entrée, as with meals, it’s the main course (or the second part of a trilogy) that really has to blow them away, and boy, did this one ever.

The danger was immense, the characters not only faced adversity but grew emotionally for the events within and when added to a storyline that must have had a lot of planning within to exact the military precision all round didn’t give the reader time to breath, let alone have a quick sip of their drink. Yes I stayed up way later than my bed time, yes the sun had risen long before I finished that final page, and yes I was caught finishing my drink at breakfast time. But hey, I don’t regret one moment of that time and to tell the truth I’ll be doing it all again for when the third part is out. You really have to read this series, definitely one that deserves to become a modern classic.
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on 10 May 2014
This series is proving to be extremely engrossing. The book is an absolute page turner, I had it finished in one day, literally unable to put it down. The main characters are well written, the violence is just about right, and the author keeps you interested at every page. Even the secondary characters have a developing back story which you can anticipate will bring a new dimension to the plot in the next book. Thoroughly recommended
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on 18 May 2014
This is a must! So well written, intriguing plot development, intricate character development and gripping! This is one of those novels that 'you can't put down' or in Kindle terms, that moment when you are on 90% and you realise "Oh no, it will end soon!!"

Really enjoyed it. Well done Mr McClellan!
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on 14 December 2014
The second instalment of the Powder Mage trilogy was even better than the authors debut, good as that was.

The military threads of the story were as well written as any I've read since Malazan Book of the Fallen, with plenty of action that seemed to put you right there as well as the logistical side of campaign life, something that gives a sense of authenticity. The story has been expanded pleasingly with some very strong set pieces which make the narrative crackle.

The only thing stopping me giving top marks rather than the 4.5* I'm awarding it is some of the other strands. They lack just a little of the sparkle of Taniel's and Tamas' threads and some of the twists seemed a little strained.

Overall a very good follow up and I'm really looking forward to the third instalment.
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on 8 May 2014
Tried to drag this book out to two days but couldnt put it down. Please release the next one immediately as I am in withdrawal.
Cant be effusive enough with praise. Great characters imagination, love it.
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on 11 May 2014
A really enjoyable read with excellent characters and non stop action. Looking forward to the next installment- likely to be another book i wont be able to put down.
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on 7 September 2015
I like the book. It was a fun read but I have to write 20 words so, hamburger, flabbergasted, transmission. That'll do.
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