The world needs more flintlock fantasy novels, and Django Wexler certainly seems to be leading the charge. The Price of Valour is the third part of The Shadow Campaigns, a five-book series. Whereas the first book was a thrill ride with little subtlety and the second one a little too focussed on political machinations of the various factions, The Price of Valour seems to get the balance perfectly right.
With the King dead, the land of Vordan is at war. The morale of the populace is razor thin and Queen Raesinia Orboan is struggling to take control of her own court, with enemies and idiots at every turn. Determined to control the destiny of her own people, she takes control rather abruptly. After a failed assassination attempt by her own people, she places her trust in the heroic soldier Marcus D’Ivoire, a fine fellow and the very figure of a doomed hero. The Queen has an ace or two up her sleeve, and the relationship between the hero and her highness is a delighter.
Meanwhile, Winter Ihernglass is back on the front lines, trying to protect those she loves whilst winning the war single handed. She has been promoted and given an all-women regiment to command (which rather implies that someone knows the Winter is a woman disguised as a man). Still, her lover isn’t helping her keep the secret. Meanwhile, the gloriously crafty General Janus bet Vhalnich continues to gamble with people’s lives, and win.
Unluckily for the Queen and her friends. The enemy has access to some pretty dark magic and a sinister cult of priests is popping up everywhere. The series so far has almost been low fantasy; in The Price of Valour Wexler turns up the volume of the magical elements to create something rather remarkable. This is pulp action with lots of intrigue and lots of fighting. Wexler has a very easy flowing style and a sing-song tone that makes it a pleasure to read. Once you get into the rhythm it’s hard to put down. Recommended.
THE PRICE OF VALOUR / AUTHOR: DJANGO WEXLER / PUBLISHER: DEL REY / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW