It starts with a shipwreck following a magical storm at sea. Horace, a soldier from the west, had joined the Great Crusade against the heathens of Akeshia after the deaths of his wife and son from plague. Read more...
It starts with a shipwreck following a magical storm at sea. Horace, a soldier from the west, had joined the Great Crusade against the heathens of Akeshia after the deaths of his wife and son from plague. When he washes ashore, he finds himself at the mercy of the very people he was sent to kill, who speak a language and have a culture and customs he doesn't even begin to understand.
Not long after, Horace is pressed into service as a house slave. But this doesn't last. The Akeshians discover that Horace was a latent sorcerer, and he is catapulted from the chains of a slave to the halls of power in the queen's court. Together with Jirom, an ex-mercenary and gladiator, and Alyra, a spy in the court, he will seek a path to free himself and the empire's caste of slaves from a system where every man and woman must pay the price of blood or iron. Before the end, Horace will have paid dearly in both.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-01-13
- Reviewer: Staff
Sprunk (the Shadow Saga) opens an epic fantasy series with this awkward cross between Harry Potter and Spartacus. Horace is a ship’s carpenter in the Arnossi navy, captured in the enemy land of Akeshia after a shipwreck. He’s as surprised as his captors when he manifests magical powers. After that, everything becomes far too easy for Horace. His power is formidable, despite his relative lack of training, and women fight over him. Queen Byleth and Lord Mulcibar are so darn nice that Horace readily forgives them for capturing and enslaving him (“Despite the chains, he liked this man, who didn’t treat him like an animal”). He even throws away his chance at freedom to save the queen’s life. Sprunk’s world is fascinating and original, reminiscent of ancient Sumeria and Babylon, but the story doesn’t begin to do it justice. (Mar.)