Every war come down to the flash of bright steel.
Even when the air is full of magic . . .
Aranthur and his friends have come together across different continents and realms with one purpose: to strike back against the forces which have torn a hole in the heavens and threaten to tear the world beneath them apart as well.
With time running short, and treason at home, there are battles to be fought on the field, in the magical arena, and in the ever-deadly realm of politics, and they cannot fail anywhere or everything will fall. Victory will require enemies to trust one another, old foes to fight together, spies to reveal the truth and steadfast allies to betray long-corrupt rulers.
Is Aranthur, a twenty-year-old student, really the master strategist to bring it all together?And can he and his friends build enough trust to overcome aeons of lies when their plans inevitably fall to pieces?
Do they even know, for sure, who the enemy is . . . ?
Aranthur is a student. He showed a little magical talent, is studying at the local academy, and is nothing particularly special. Others are smarter. Others are more talented. Others are quicker to pick up techniques. But none of them are with him when he breaks his journey home for the holidays in an inn. None of them step in to help when a young woman is thrown off a passing stage coach into the deep snow at the side of the road. And none of them are drawn into a fight to protect her.
One of the others might have realised she was manipulating him all along . . .
A powerful story about beginnings, coming of age, and the way choosing to take one step towards violence can lead to a slippery and dangerous slope, this is an accomplished fantasy series driven by strong characters and fast-paced action.
Some are warriors, some captains; others tend to the fallen or feed the living.
But on the magic-drenched battlefield, information is the lifeblood of victory, and Aranthur is about to discover that carrying messages, scouting the enemy, keeping his nerve, and passing on orders is more dangerous, and more essential, then an inexperienced soldier could imagine . . . especially when everything starts to go wrong.
Battle has been joined – on the field, in the magical sphere, and in the ever-shifting political arena . . .
This is not a series you can skip reading in order, otherwise it makes no sense. Aranthur and his friends work as Cold Iron – a secret ring of powerful people protecting the Empire from within. They’ve come through wars fought on battlefields and in boardrooms, councils and soldiers alike.
Now they must finally defeat the Pure, a quasi-religious organisation intent on taking over the world.
This is a cracking series, racing along as Aranthur is dragged deeper into the web of conspiracies and lies at the heart of both the Empire and the Pure cult; his friends are sometimes revealed to be more than they originally appeared and he learns a lot about trust and honesty as he goes along. Becoming more and more powerful and showing the people who mock him for his ethnicity and innocence, precisely why they shouldn’t.
This series may be fantasy but the truths about friendship and loyalty are universal themes that too often get lost in the clash of swords or the swirl of magic.
I think this series will appeal to fantasy fans of all types; there’s magic, mischief and battles within the pages, as well as firm friendships, love and passion.
*I was kindly gifted this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour, but all opinions remain my own.