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The Crimson Campaign, Brain McClellan- Book Review
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.
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