OF BONE AND THUNDER by Chris Evans

OF BONE AND THUNDER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

New military fantasy—imagine the Vietnam War fought with medieval weaponry, magic and dragons—from the military historian and author of the Iron Elves trilogy (Ashes of a Black Frost, 2011, etc.).

Evans’ scenario is vividly portrayed and, for the most part, well worked out. Despite turmoil and political uncertainty at home, the Kingdom intends to pacify the jungle-covered continent of Luitox. Opposing the Kingdom’s occupation, the Forest Collective operates from concealed positions deep in the jungle, has powerful magic, and its fighters, or “slyts,” are far more numerous than the Kingdom’s leaders will admit. The soldiers of Red Shield—Carny, Big Hog, Listowk, the Wraith and many others—face not only the Collective, but also searing heat, suffocating humidity, the seductions of drugs or religion, superiors who care only about body counts, an enemy that refuses to stand and fight, and a lack of clear objectives, yet remain determined to do their jobs, and we come to care deeply about their fates as they struggle through a series of confusing and unpleasant engagements. Formerly slaves, dwarves may serve in support roles but not in actual combat, and they represent the racial element in the mix. Instead of helicopters, the Kingdom has dragons, or “rags.” Rag driver Vorly Astol, his rag, Carduus, and a RAT, or Royal Academy of Thaumology, Breeze—one of the few women serving—have been chosen to help field-test a new communications and navigation system based on thaumic crystals. Jawn Rathim, a naïve junior officer and powerful RAT, proves surprisingly useful despite his lack of familiarity with the system. And then there’s mysterious “crowny,” Crown Service, officer “Rickets” Ketts, who may well be a secret agent. It all adds up to an ugly and utterly compelling narrative, the one possible drawback being uncertainty about how magic works and what its organizing principles are.

Memorable and deeply satisfying—a fitting tribute to those who serve.

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4516-7931-1
Page count: 496pp
Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2014




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