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4.7 out of 5 stars62
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on 29 September 2015
Develops some interesting possibility's but I felt that It was not as good as the first. I didn't quite like how for most of the book it just seemed that it was the main characters against the world, almost everyone else in the story felt a bit stereotypically evil/bad. I feel that it falls in to the trap most middle of a trilogy books do by mostly being there to set up the final part.
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on 8 April 2015
This second book is cleverly crafted full of diverse characters and leads the reader through the ups and downs of the various plots. Sometimes a second book in a series can fail to grab attention like the first. This is definitely not the case with this one which seamlessly carries on building on the high standard set in the first book.
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on 5 February 2015
I'm a fantasy lover principally but liked the Sharpe books and have an occasional foray into military drama and this mixing of the two works incredibly well.
Excellent characterisation - I care about the people in this book despite their flaws and can't wait to read the continuing development of plot and relationships.
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on 21 November 2015
Continues the refreshingly-different story seamlessly from the Powder Mage. The plot continues to evolve in a pleasantly convoluted fashion with the four main themes moving along at a good pace in parallel.
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on 18 August 2014
Good plot, well developed story line although it sometimes jumps ahead too quickly. Book endings need a bit of work, both leave you not so much hanging as having just dropped off the edge!
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on 30 January 2016
Not finished this yet, i'm about 50% but if you enjoyed the first it goes without saying you'll enjoy the 2nd. it ticks along at a fair old pace woth lots of teists and turns.
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on 19 August 2014
This book offers more battle, magery and survivals against all odds. I read it avidly and cannot wait for the next instalment. Everything I was hoping for.
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on 19 August 2014
This is an extremely exciting story, with lots of twists and turns. it reminds me of the Druss the Legend stories by the great David Gemmel.
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The Promise of Blood" is the second book in Brian McClellan's "Powder Mage" trilogy which should if at all possible be read in the correct sequence.

The proper order is

1) "Promise of Blood: Book 1 in the Powder Mage trilogy"
2) This book, "The Crimson Campaign"
3) "The Autumn Republic (Powder Mage trilogy)""

I found the concluding book in the library first, and realised after looking at the first chapter that I wanted to read the whole series and do so in order. So I ordered the first two, and read them in sequence.

Sadly even the first chapter of the third book is enough to give away which of the main characters are still alive at that stage, and therefore when I read the first two books I knew that those characters would somehow survive all the impossible situations the author puts them through. For the same reason I'm not going to say much here about the plot of the second book in case some potential readers who have not yet read the first one should find this review.

Brian McClellan is one of those authors who does sometimes kill major characters - even when those characters are incarnate Gods - and your first reading of the first book, or indeed this one, will feature more suspense if you are asking yourself "Can they possibly get out of this?" rather than "How on earth do they get out of this?"

I have seen this series described as "The French Revolution with Wizards." The story is set in a fantasy world in an area called the nine kingdoms, where non-magical technology and social evolution are similar to those in Europe in the late 18th century, but some people have several very different types of magic powers. The author wanted to explore what might happen when an industrial revolution took place in a magic world.

The most common and least powerful type of magical talent is called a "knack" and people with such talents are a bit like those with a "Grace" in Kristin Cashore's Graceling: 1 Trilogy, having one specific power. Sometimes this is the ability to do some normal function incredibly well: for example Inspector Adamat, one of the characters in the series, is a former police investigator with a perfect memory. Sometimes it is a very specific magic talent such as the ability to tell when someone is lying.

Another rarer and more powerful type of magician are the "Privileged" who have the ability, when wearing special gloves, to manipulate energy from a magical dimension: they can do things which range from healing wounds to acting as human bulldozers or flamethrowers.

The third and newest type of magicians are the "Powder Mages" who have a magical ability to sense, detonate, and control the energy from gunpowder and gain superhuman strength from that energy, including adjusting the trajectory of a bullet in flight.

There are other types of magical being in the story including Gods and Demigods but we'll not say more to avoid a spoiler.

The characters on the front cover of the three books of the series look so similar that I might have taken them to be the same individual but I think they are meant to represent two of the major characters who are father and son. The first book's cover appears to show Field Marshal Tamas, an anti-hero who represents a mix of Robespierre and Napoleon. At the start of the first book Tamas had just overthrown the monarchy of his country, Adro, in a successful l coup d'état. Tamas is a powder mage, as was his late wife, and so is his son Taniel, who is also a major character in the series.

The character on the cover of the this book and the third book looks extremely similar, but I think it is supposed to be Taniel because there is not as much silver in his hair and his uniform looks more like that of a junior or field officer than a general. (Tamas is a sixty-year old Field Marshal, Taniel is presumably about thirty years younger and starts the series as a captain.)

Tamas organised the coup partly because King Manhouch was a poor ruler, and partly because Manhouch was about to clear his debts through a treaty which would have made Adro effectively a vassal client state of the neighbouring land of Kez, whose rulers are even more tyrannical - and who had beheaded Tamas's late wife.

However, when the treaty was cancelled this led to war against Kez and not just against mortal enemies. In the fist book the new republic of Adro had to hold off an invasion by vastly superior numbers of Kez troops, whose objective was not just a military victory but to gain control of a position which would enable them to summon the God Kresimir, who they believe will destroy Adro.

At the start of this second book Taniel has given that first scheme a serious - but not necessary permanent - setback but the armies of Kez are preparing another huge offensive. Field Marshall Tamas takes the Adran army to meet that attack, but Adro will find that Kez has several more nasty surprises in store ...

Meanwhile there are a whole series of plots and intrigues both internal and external as factions in the new republic struggle for control and both human rulers and immortal powers cast greedy eyes on Adro.

The action comes thick and fast throughout this book, and indeed the series, as characters, sections of society and entire nations form alliances and betray one another at a bewildering rate.

I can thoroughly recommend this book and the entire trilogy.
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on 9 May 2014
I just like to say I thank my lucky stars almost on a daily basis for stumbling onto promise of blood earlier this year, it really turned into a page turner for me and its sequel The Crimson Campaign did not disappoint in this regard. I finished this 500+ page book in just over 2 days as i could not force myself away from the powerful POV characters that McClellan has so careful constructed and shaped into this series. I don't want to spoil, so i'm not going to start reviewing the story but suffice to say the book continues near enough where the previous one left off and it really doesn't take long for consequences of certain decisions made in the Prequel to bear fruit and become center points in the story .

The only criticism i can make of this book is that the depth that made the first book so good is not as apparent(not missing entirely just not as often felt). In fact , certain parts/events of the book are quite shallow and lack impact because they feel as if they have been shoehorned in or cut down from their original size during editing , i certainly don't know if this actually happened but it feels as if this book was meant to be MUCH longer but was cut to size for publishing . I'm aware that this is quite common nowadays, particularly in the 2nd book of trilogy's but if Brian was to ever read this i'd beg him to reconsider this as a series rather than a strict trilogy, There is a mountain's worth of material in this universe and id hate to see the creative imagination cut down just to appease the editors . In review I Loved this book maybe not as much as i could have done but id happily give this 5 stars and a strong recommendation , despite some misgivings.
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