Blood of Empire is the last book in Brian McClellans second trilogy in the excellent world of the powder mage. The trilogy has served as a kind of sequel to his first trilogy but transplanting the action to a new continent.
This change of location enabled a new story to be told using a few familiar faces and some new characters. Old characters, such as Ka-Poel have their background developed and are given a more rounded ending.
The final installment provides a satisfying conclusion to the battle with the Dynize over the Godstones. Colonel Styke and Michel Bravis challenged like they havent been before. The bold and bombastic Syke is forced down a diplomatic avenue whilst Bravis is put through the ringer, being both spy and revolutionary and suffering great personal injury.
Old characters such as Lady Flint and Bobrador are given plenty to do and through their actions we get to experience McClellan’s trademark battle sequences. He manages to evoke a Napoleonic style battle set in a fantasy world in a believable and realistic way. The combat scenes are among the most interesting parts of the novel really highlighting the different tactics needed in full scale battles where cannons are as important as mages who can cast fireballs into the ranks of soldiers.
The book rounds up the problem of the Godstones and ties up much of the unanswered questions from the first trilogy but somehow felt lacking. The pace was generally good but Stykes time in the Dynize capital dragged a little and the final denouement when the various characters enter the endgame inside the Godstone seemed rushed and rather lacklustre.
Overall it was a a fine installment and gave us a fitting ending and ending that had the feeling that this could be a final ending for visits to this world. I hope McClellan does continue to write in this world because he has created a fascinating world filled with interesting ideas.