With Mercy Towards None (The Dread Empire: A Fortress in Shadow #2) ★★★☆½

mercynone (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission 
Title:
With Mercy Towards None
Series: The Dread Empire: A Fortress in Shadow #2
Author: Glen Cook
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 268
Format: Digital edition

 

 

Synopsis:

The El Murid Wars that are referenced in the Cruel Wind trilogy.

These are a series of wars between El Murid and his captains and the northern kingdoms, not just against Haroun and his guerilla warfare group. A tide of warfare that sweeps in first one direction and then another.

Each side seems to be on the cusp of victory when something happens to reverse their fortunates. Talented generals die, politics interfere, etc, etc, etc.

We are also introduced to a young Mocker and see his rise and how he becomes intertwined with Ragnarson. We also see how Ragnarson goes from a mercenary recruit to a leader of his own mercenary group.

 

My Thoughts:

When I was reading the Cruel Wind trilogy I remarked how I felt that I was missing out because the characters were referring to certain incidents that we the reader had no idea about. Well, this A Fortress in Shadow duology answers all of those questions.

Glancing through other reviews, I’ve seen the word “sweeping history” used a lot and I have to admit, that is probably the best way to describe this book. At some points we get right down and dirty with the characters, seeing how they think, seeing events that shape their thinking and then we’ll suddenly zoom out and 2 huge battles that reverse the course of everything get 2 paragraphs. Cook is following a small group of individuals and really walks that line of showing their individual story within the context of the larger scope of all that is going on.

In many ways, it seems that Steven Erikson and his whole Malazan world is modeled more on this Dread Empire series than on Cook’s Black Company. By modeled on, I actually mean “wholesale lifted from”. I don’t know that I have seen so many ideas and plot points and characters and working out of things used so much so similarly. Of course, it could be that I’m just starting to get enough books under my belt to finally notice the cyclical nature of writing from one generation to another. Which wouldn’t be cool as I’d have to become an even more jaded, cynical and grouchy old coot to handle it.

The writing wasn’t quite as rough as the previous books but it was by no means a smooth vanilla coke zero.

★★★☆½

bookstooge

 

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The Fire in His Hands (The Dread Empire: A Fortress in Shadow #1) ★★★☆ ½

firehands (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Fire in His Hands
Series: The Dread Empire: A Fortress in Shadow #1
Author: Glen Cook
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 212
Format: Digital Edition

 

 

Synopsis:

Micah * insert really long family moniker that nobody cares about * is visited by an “Angel” riding a winged horse carrying a cornucopiea. Micah changes his name to El Murid and begins proselytizing all the tribes that have fallen away from the True Faith. This of course sets him on a collision course with the powers that be. He marries a girl and her brother becomes his general. The powers that be don’t take him seriously and so things progress to the point where the whole area is torn apart.

The powers that be end up hiring mercenaries. In one of those mercenary troops is a guy named Braki Ragnarson. We met him in the previous trilogy. We find out how he left his land and joined the mercenaries.

More fighting, El Murid appears to have won the day and Haroun, a younger son, inherits the Crown and begins a guerilla warfare to take back the kindgom.

 

My Thoughts:

El Murid and Haroun were both mentioned in the previous trilogy but weren’t a big part. So I wasn’t sure how to place them at first. But with the introduction of Ragnarson, it all clicked. This A Fortress in Shadow sub-series is a prequel to A Cruel Wind trilogy. What confused me right off was that there didn’t appear to be anything to do with the Dread Empire. I am wondering if perhaps the Dread Empire is the empire that fell hundreds of years ago and not the Eastern Empire we are introduced to in A Cruel Wind. But that contradicts everything I know from those books. Whatever.

I knew things were going to be bad once that blasted Star Rider gave Micah a mission. That guy is bad news and I hate him even more now. What an illegitimate offspring of a donkey’s backside!

The overall story took years and we’d skip years or months inbetween paragraphs. It wasn’t always clear that time had elapsed or it felt very rough. I just held on for the ride. This was as much political machinations and maneuvering between factions as it was about actual battles.

The story ends with Haroun taking up the Invisible Crown and becoming the King without a Kingdom that we know. We actually are introduced to his son in the A Cruel Wind series so we already know that Haroun has a lifetime of fighting ahead of him with no success. Not sure how the next book, or two, will deal with that. I don’t actually know how many books are in the A Fortress in Shadow series. I just don’t care enough to go look for it. 

★★★☆ ½

bookstooge

  1. All Darkness Met (Book 3)
  2. October’s Baby (Book 2)
  3. A Shadow of All Night Falling (Book 1)