The Shadow Campaigns

Between Naomi Novik’s Temeraire novels and Brian McClellan’s Powder Mage series (and possibly also Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell), I seem to have developed quite a taste for so-called “flintlock fantasy.” Muskets and magic? Yes, please. So then Django Wexler’s Shadow Campaigns series is right up my alley.

The first book, The Thousand Names, follows Winter Ihernglass and Marcus d’Ivoire in a sort of Sharpe’s Eagle-meets-epic fantasy military tale. Winter is a young woman who has masqueraded as a man in order to join the army as a ranker, only to find herself thrust into command when her inexperienced officer near gets her platoon killed. Marcus is the regiment’s captain, competent but no genius as a battlefield commander, and both he and Winter are sorely tested when their backwater assignment erupts in a native rebellion. A new commander, Janus bet Vhalnich, has been sent to take over and quell the uprising, and though he turns out to be unbeatable on the field, as Winter and Marcus follow Vhalnich, they are drawn into a world of dark magic and secret cabals.

The first and third books are largely war novels, with a heavy focus on infantry battles and tactics, while the second is more of a political thriller. Throughout, there’s a lot of interesting character work, particularly with Winter and her relationship with the men under her command. As you might guess, gender roles are explicitly at the foreground, with Winter proving a capable leader and Marcus being her old-fashioned, “women and children first” foil. The supporting cast is quite good as well, and the world-building is neither too heavy nor too thin.

The first three books in the series are already on shelves, with two more books due out in 2016 and 2017. I can’t wait.

Started: 7/10/15 | Finished: 7/25/15

The Thousand Names: Purchase at Amazon | Purchase at B&N | GoodReads Page

The Shadow Throne: Purchase at Amazon | Purchase at B&N | GoodReads Page

The Price of Valor: Purchase at Amazon | Purchase at B&N | GoodReads Page