Review of CURSOR'S FURY by Jim Butcher
BOOK THREE OF THE CODEX ALERA
Ace, November 2007
Civil war is far from unknown in the post-Roman magical land of Alera, but with an aging First Lord and no heir in the picture, the high nobles are even more restive than usual. Even more unusual, though would be an alliance with the Varg. These non-human aliens have engaged in low-level warfare with the Alerans for centuries. When fhe First Lord tricks the High Lord of Kalare into launching his attack prematurely, Kalare's combination of hostages and an alliance with the Varg, threatens just might destroy the empire.
Still incapable of magic, Tavi has been sent to a new legion for training. But when Varg ritualists call down magics to destroy the legion's entire officer corps, Tavi must find a way to stem an invasion beyond anything Alera has known--with only the inexperienced troops on hand.
Author Jim Butcher (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of fantasy by Butcher) continues his CODEX ALERA with a compelling story that follows two major plot lines. In one, Tavi continues to grow, learning to lead men, develop strategies, and develop an understanding of the powerful nobles who threaten the empire's stability, of Alera's enemies, and of the ordinary legionaires who form the basis of the empire's power. In the second, Tavi's "aunt" Amara, united with Lady Aquitaine only through their shared need to prevent Kalare from gaining the First Lordship, attempts to rescue Kalare's hostages--doing so would allow the First Lord to free up additional legions to confront Kalare, but Kalare guards these hostages with some of his most deadly troops.
Although Butcher is best known for his excellent DRESDEN FILES series, the CODEX ALERA series is a wonderful extension of his talent, with an intriguing alternate world diverging from our own when ancient Romans learned to control and personify the elements of air/earth/fire/water into elemental furies. Tavi, with his unique lack of any magical ability, makes a sympathetic character--as he grows to the point where he might make a claim to be First Lord himself.
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