Reviewed by D. Woodhouse, Audible UK
A macabre fantasy masterpiece
This is honestly the best Grimdark fantasy novel I’ve ever come across. Truly bleak and unforgiving, populated with loathsome characters and a Stygian plot that’ll make your skin crawl. Be warned the depths of the human psyche this book ploughs is beyond Abyssal and into the Hadal zone. The main characters are broken, flawed and brutally realistic in their development. There are several psychological disorders presented “as is” and without apology which draws you further in as you watch the internal and external battles faced by each individual. The magic system is beautifully influenced by Shamanism (think of the “wounded healer” archetype) but also hints at malign sciences from an earlier civilization. The creeping pervasive horror cranks up with each chapter building to savage climax that leaves you hungering for book 2.
Steven Pacey’s narration is superb. Each character easily distinguished and well presented. I was particularly fond of the necromancer Pheklus who was given a voice somewhat akin to the late Leonard Rossiter (it works unbelievably well).
This is an excellent opening book in what will be a phenomenal series.