Liviu's Reviews > Interregnum

Interregnum by S.J.A. Turney
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's review
Jun 16, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2009_release_read, genre-fantasy, read_2009, t_notable_books_2009

Excellent military fantasy debut; set in a world similar with late Imperial Rome though with some notable differences, the novel takes place 20 years after the death of the last emperor Quintus who went mad, declared himself a God, was imprisoned by the Senate in his palace and died in an escape attempt engineered by his most loyal marshal Kiva Caerdin.

Later, General Caerdin shattered by the death of his Emperor and resting at his estates was caught in the war between the 3 remaining marshals and when his villa was burned with his wife and son inside, he died looking for vengeance.

At least this is the official story.

Only the political marshal Avitus who later took the name of the Imperial capital as Lord Velutio walked away alive from the big battle but the Empire fell to pieces with the army splintering in local units, lords claiming independence, while Velutio could retain only a stronghold around the capital.

The offhsore island of Isera, home of the Emperor's Palace and hard to reach due to reefs and treacherous currents, became a "jail" for the important politicians of the Empire as Velutio pondered his options.

20 years of fighting led to the rise of 34 year old Sabian a general believed to be on par with the last great Imperial general Caerdin who became Lord Velutio's commander despite the mistrust between the two since Sabian thought only Velution unsavory and all can reconstitute the Empire while Avitus have never been much of a soldier despite his rank.

In an obscure corner of the Empire, weary mercenary leader Kiva Tregaron fights one more battle for some losing lordling, while a strange young boy, escaping other mercenary captors asks for help in return for a considerable sum of money.

On Isera, former minister Sarios leader of the exiles has been grooming two young promising boys Darius and Quintilianus in the arts of fighting and government

And the story begins.

A very, very compelling page turner from the first page to its epilogue some 440 pages later, I could not put this novel down unless I *really needed* to. It has a combination of the expected and some twists and turns I did not see and the characters are generally very well drawn and believable. It is a blood and guts novel, brutal at times with quite a lot of fighting and intrigue and it behooves such the main characters are men, most notably Kiva, Quintilianus, Sabianus and Darius with lots and lots of other important characters with serving maid Sathina who seizes her chance for a better life and helps our heroes, as the one woman featuring prominently.

A great and fitting ending followed by an epilogue that was not truly necessary but adds a historical fiction touch to the novel.

While the novel has great narrative flow and the prose is very clear, the one noticeable though minor niggle is the use of anachronisms like "planet" - in reference to the world of the story which implies a subtle cosmological worldview or "genetic" which implies a subtle scientific worldview, and those just leaped from the pages to my attention as very discordant

A great debut and excellent novel, highly recommended and a personal favorite.


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