“Shadow Raiders” by Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes is the first volume in the ‘Dragon Brigade’ series. An intriguing introduction to the complicated world of Aeronne where the seven continents are surrounded by air which is considered the ‘Breath of God’ and contains magical properties. An invigorating game of wits between Sir Henry Wallace, the ‘master of secrets’ for the Queen of the kingdom of Freya and Stephano de Guichen, formerly of the Dragon Brigade of the kingdom of Rosia involves a race to utilize the remarkable development of a virtually impregnable substance. Stephano has serious issues with both his king and his own mother but has a close-knit circle of friends who are unfailingly supportive of him even when he drags them into a life-threatening chase after a highly controversial journeyman and his world-changing research. A converging investigation is being conducted by Father Jacob Northrop of the Arcanum and Dubois, agent of Grand Bishop Montagne, but it is difficult to identify what the true goals are due to the enforced secrecy that overlies everyone’s actions. Heinous crimes being conducted by beings who seem to be armed with virtually unstoppable weapons and reputed sightings of fantastical creatures who effortlessly wreak havoc make it difficult to determine whether science or faith will provide the most successful defense against a nebulous enemy. The frightening possibility of a weapon that can negate the very magic that permeates the lives of all who live on the world, no matter which kingdom they have allegiance to, may disrupt the very fabric of their existence and it may require unlikely allies to mount an effective defense.
A fantastic introduction to an intricately complex series. The multiple vignettes slowly unfold an intriguing tale of countermoves as two kingdoms jockey for superiority. Each faction has its fervent and loyal supporters but the twists and turns of their conflict becomes overshadowed by the machinations of mysterious foes whose attacks seem designed to devastate all in their way. The wonderful world-building and excellent characterization provide depth and texture to a mesmerizing fantasy and the wonderfully quirky characters including a very large cat provide a very entertaining read. There are a few apparent inconsistencies in the actions of some of the characters but nothing so glaring as to totally disrupt the flow of the story and I look forward to the next installment in this delightful new series.
A new swashbuckling epic fantasy series by New York Times bestselling author Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes.
The known world floats upon the Breath of God, a thick gas similar to Earth's oceans, with land masses accessible by airship. The largest of these land masses are ruled by the rival empires of Freya and Rosia. Magic is intrinsic to the functioning of these societies, and is even incorporated into their technological devices. But now a crucial scientific discovery has occurred that could destroy the balance of power-and change the empires forever.