Promise of Blood (The Powder Mage Trilogy #1) - Brian McClellan 8.70   10

David Gemmell Morningstar Award 2014.

The Age of Kings is dead... and I have killed it.

Field Marshal Tamas' coup against his king sent corrupt aristocrats to the guillotine and brought bread to the starving. But it also provoked war with the Nine Nations, internal attacks by royalist fanatics, and greedy scrambling for money and power by Tamas's supposed allies: the Church, workers unions, and mercenary forces.

Stretched to his limit, Tamas is relying heavily on his few remaining powder mages, including the embittered Taniel, a brilliant marksman who also happens to be his estranged son, and Adamat, a retired police inspector whose loyalty is being tested by blackmail.

Now, as attacks batter them from within and without, the credulous are whispering about omens of death and destruction. Just old peasant legends about the gods waking to walk the earth. No modern educated man believes that sort of thing. But they should...

"Promise of Blood is a hugely promising debut. Guns, swords, and magic together? What more could you want? How about tense action, memorable characters, rising stakes, and cool, cool magic? Not only the finest flintlock fantasy I've read, but also the most fun. Brian McClellan is the real thing." - Brent Weeks


Release date April 11, 2013

Details updated May 26, 2022

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The Powder Mage Trilogy :: Series

Series contains 3 primary works and has 3 total works.

Belongs to the series The Powder Mage Universe

Promise of Blood (The Powder Mage Trilogy #1) 8.70   10
The Crimson Campaign (The Powder Mage Trilogy #2) 8.16   6
The Autumn Republic (The Powder Mage Trilogy #3) 8.66   6

Community Reviews & Rates

Robin Lythgoe
33 ratings
16 reviews
0 posts
October 5, 2016
10 / 10

Wow. What a tense, action-packed, intrigue-filled, story! While not without its (few) flaws, Promise of Blood is an extraordinary debut. So much about it was epic: revolution, religion, magic, world-building, family issues, addiction issues, mystery—and McClellan has managed to blend them all together completely and seamlessly. This book sets a very high standard for *epic* flintlock fantasy. And the characters! More wow. They're as far from cookie-cutter as you can get. McClellan brings them to life with unique perspectives on what is happening around them. Those that matter are completely fleshed-out and fascinatingly multilayered. Never do the multiple points of view confuse the reader or stop being interesting. (Though I wanted to knock a few of them upside the head now and then…) The magic system receives an injection of originality and interest, though I might have liked to see better how and why a powder mages “works.” (Snorting or ingesting gun powder isn’t really a logical course of action to my way of thinking!) The vivid story-telling wonderfully supports a fast-paced plot that gradually increases in tension and intrigue—and just plain human interest. I don’t often give five star ratings, but I find McClellan’s style and talent satisfying in ways that most authors never achieve. The third and fourth books in the series are equally gripping, but lost a star each to both some slow sections and to increasing gore. Yes, I realize it’s hard to pull off a revolution without blood and guts, but I’m a fan of the technique that leads me up to a critical moment and lets me fill in what appears to be obvious with my own imagination. Still a great addition to my bookshelf!

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