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    Review of FURIES OF CALDERON by _blankJim Butcher (see his website)


    Ace Books, October 2004

    The emperor is old and his heir is long dead. The Emperor's family has ruled Alera for a thousand years, but that time is now drawing to an end. Once, it was obviously good for the Empire to support the Emperor, but if the emperor is to fail, doesn't it make more sense to prepare for a worthy successor? Isn't it essential to head off the very real possibility of civil war? When a Cursor (sort of a trouble-shooter/spy/mail carrier for the emperor) turns against the emperor himself, the entire empire trembles. Only his young, female, student, Amara, has a chance to right matters--and she hardly knows where to start.

    On the Empire's borders, barbarian Marat have been peaceful for more than a decade--after their great defeat by the 'fury'-wielding Alerans. But they are restless again, urged on by schemes of those seeking succession. When a young sheep herder, spots a Marat warrior on Aleran soil, he accelerates the countdown to open warfare. Tavi, the young shepard is one of the few Alerans completely devoid of the power of a fury--the elemental forces that Alerans command--but he has powerful relatives and has seen more than the rebels can afford to have seen.

    Author Jim Butcher (see more reviews of novels by Butcher) combines intriguing world-building, sympathetic characters, multiple inter-related subplots, and plenty of action in a the first book in a wonderful fantasy series. Butcher's strong writing brings the reader into the story. Although there's never any doubt who the good-guys are in this story, Butcher recognizes that everyone is the hero of their own story and makes the antagonists sympathetic and even likable.

    Underlying Tavi's story is a deep secret--one not fully developed in this novel, but that will gradually come out as the series unfolds. Although this is a part of a series, FURIES OF CALDERON is a complete novel and can be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone.

    I am happy to recommend FURIES to anyone who enjoys heroic fantasy.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 10/20/06

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