The whole business stank of rotting fish.
–Kate Elliott - Black Wolves - c.2015
book 1 in The Black Wolves trilogy.
First up, the blurb-y bit, stolen from Goodreads because I cannot condense what this book is about any better than they did : An exiled captain returns to help the son of the king who died under his protection in this rich and multi-layered first book in an action-packed new series.
Twenty two years have passed since Kellas, once Captain of the legendary Black Wolves, lost his King and with him his honor. With the King murdered and the Black Wolves disbanded, Kellas lives as an exile far from the palace he once guarded with his life.
Until Marshal Dannarah, sister to the dead King, comes to him with a plea-rejoin the palace guard and save her nephew, King Jehosh, before he meets his father’s fate.
Now, on to my thoughts, which are mainly “have you read this yet? if not, why not? Seriously, go read this book. If you enjoy epic fantasy at all, then grab it. If you don’t particularly care for fantasy but enjoy books with great characters then give this a try.
Yes, it is long. My copy was[ref]checks page count[/ref] 782 pages long. But I loved every bit of it. I was off work sick when I started reading it, and before the day was out I had finished it. Okay, so I was sick and curled up on the couch and did very little else, but still, usually reading I’d have gone online at least a little, or watched some crappy day time telly. Not that day, I just read. And I’m sure that I missed plenty of the nuance and wonderful writing as I devoured the story, plot, and characters, but that just goes to show how gripping I found this book.
If you’ve read the Crossroads books then you’ll know a lot more about the world in this book, but it isn’t necessary to read that you enjoy this. I do think that it will change your reading, as some things that are revealed over the course of this book will be make more sense if you know the background.
I finished reading that series so angry at Anji, but his character arc made such complete sense, of course it did, and it was utterly utterly correct for that character to act in that way, this book begins to deal with the repercussions of what he did, and I love that so much.
I also love the fact that it is an epic fantasy novel where the right of a king to rule isn’t held up as the greatest thing ever, and the world won’t be set to right if only the correct king was on the throne!
But what I love most about this book, about this whole world [ref]you know, apart from the giant eagles[/ref] is how women get to play so many roles. In so many books and films you get the token female who must act representative of the whole sex. You know, Smurfette to all the Smurfs. Not here, there are a huge variety of women characters, young and old, soldiers, spies, merchants, so many different voices and experiences there.
Also, Captain Kellas [ref]the man who gets the blurb-attention[/ref] is no young strapping hero, but an old man! Of course he is still awesome, because he is a Kate Elliott hero, but it is so great to have so many different ages all get to play important roles.
Elliott also touches on the different ways that power and privilege play out in different relationships. And also how history and those who win rewrite it to suit themselves.
I can’t wait for book 2.
Read Renay’s review