I bought “Promise of Blood” because I thought the idea of powder mages—people who can heighten their senses by sniffing gunpowder and manipulate its explosive power—as a fun magic system to use in an 18th Century world. I wasn’t disappointed.
The story starts just as a coup is overthrowing a king who has squandered his kingdom’s wealth while his people starve. It took me a few chapters to get all of the characters straight because there’s a lot going on in this book. Once I did, though, I zipped through the story. It’s not only a great fantasy novel, but it’s filled with plenty of political intrigue.
Field Marshal Tamas has formed a coalition with other prominent people in the kingdom to overthrow a corrupt king. Now, that he has a kingdom, he has to find a way to hold it from foes outside the borders who want to take advantage of the weakened kingdom and royalists within the borders who want to re-establish the royal bloodline. Not only that, but it appears as if Tamas and his supporters may also get caught in the middle of a God war.
There’s a few storylines that McClellan keeps weaving throughout the book. Some get resolved by the end, but others leave you wondering just what will happen in the next book.