“I’m just a modest tavern owner and mediocre healer caught in the middle of these nasty politics, ‘ight?”
Xel is a Renaissance Orc in new land… tavern keeper, knowledgable in medicines, and leader of the Blackwind Company. On a typical day, he heals the sick, manages the bar menu, and takes on a new job for his crew. His background and his status as a relative newcomer in the city proves to be both a blessing and a curse as he wades into the deep political positioning of the royals and mages alike… And as the book moves along, he finds that his understanding of the city intelligence is not as deep as he may have thought… An assassination attempt sparks a light in a dark, dark tunnel of greed and magic that is ready to devour the city. A great twist about half way through will test the company like never before.
The best part of this book for me is the relationships Xel has with his team and the kinship or brotherhood he has with other members of the the underground. I also enjoyed Xel’s counterpart. He’s an interesting character that Munsten has drawn very well.
My only criticism is that at times I was overwhelmed by the descriptions of the fighting and the magic system: many runes, portals, elementals, and aether. But I also see this as a strength… It is a book that shows its influences… Obviously D&D and classic fantasy novels, but there’s also some superhero and even maybe even some video game themes in there too.
This was the last book on my vacation a couple months back. It was perfect to escape into as I tried to ease back into the real world. Xel is complete guide to an awesome setting… as Munston populates this world with all sorts of creative species and creatures.
Recommended for that fantasy reader looking for a good fusion of so many good elements by an up-and-coming new writer.