Release Date: 25/04/13
Publisher: Bantam Press
Built up over the millennia, layer upon layer, the City is ancient and vast. Over the centuries, it has sprawled beyond its walls, the cause of constant war with neighbouring people and kingdoms, laying waste to what was once green and fertile. And at the heart of the City resides the emperor. Few have ever seen him. Those who have remember a man in his prime and yet he should be very old. Some speculate that he is no longer human, others wonder if indeed he ever truly was. And a small number have come to a desperate conclusion: that the only way to stop the ceaseless slaughter is to end the emperor's unnaturally long life. From the rotting, flood-ruined catacombs beneath the City where the poor struggle to stay alive to the blood-soaked fields of battle where so few heroes survive, these rebels pin their hopes on one man. A man who was once the emperor's foremost general. A man, a revered soldier, who could lead an uprising and unite the City. But a man who was betrayed, imprisoned, tortured and is now believed to be dead...
To be honest this is a book that took me a little while to get round to, not because I thought that there was going to be anything wrong with it, but with the closeness of Stella and David as a writing team I felt that there would be some touches of that old Gemmell magic that would tug at fond memories as well as the heart strings.
What unfurls within is a story that is something unique, something that takes her into a realm of her own in not only an imaginative world but also one that allows her to bring characters to life through the events that have shaped them. It has solid prose, quite a few twists and when backed with an overall arc that whilst at times slow, really gives the reader a story that will introduce her in her own right to the fantasy audience. All round I enjoyed this book and will look forward to seeing what she returns with.