Armies, wizards, and gods clash and fray in the first installment of a series.
Many secrets of magic have been lost over the centuries, and the Grey Council, responsible for training those with power, disappeared years ago in search of a prophesied magical savior. That means there are very few qualified Battlemages remaining to combat Emperor Taikon, a seemingly invulnerable madman who’s embarked on a holy war of conquest supported by a multination military alliance as well as the most powerful Battlemage in living memory, the Warlock. As Taikon prepares to invade Seveldrom, the remaining Battlemages gather at King Matthias' behest; the king's daughter, Princess Talandra, guides her spy network to undermine the enemy from within; and the common soldiers are encouraged by the guidance of Vargus, who appears to be one of them but is clearly something more than human. The plot's not intricate enough to be political fantasy (the armies and the Battlemages fight one another until one side—guess which?—wins), not cynical enough to be truly grimdark (despite the body count), and just doesn't have the profound epic sweep that marks the best high fantasy. The idea that the gods' existence and power level are dependent on how many human worshippers they have is developed well here, but it's hardly new. Perhaps later volumes in the series will display more plotting and conceptual complexity.
Reasonably engaging and acceptably written but with little to distinguish it from the read-alikes already cluttering the market.