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At the start of Butcher's absorbing fantasy, the first in a new series, the barbarians are at the gates of the land of Alera, which has a distinct flavor of the Roman Empire (its ruler is named Quintus Sextus and its soldiers are organized in legions). Fortunately, Alera has magical defenses, involving the furies or elementals of water, earth, air, fire and metal, that protect against foes both internal and external. Amara, a young female spy, and her companion, Odiana, go into some of the land's remoter territories to discover if military commander Atticus Quentin is a traitor—another classic trope from ancient Rome. She encounters a troubled young man, Tavi, who has hitherto been concerned mostly with the vividly depicted predatory "herdbanes" that threaten his sheep as well as with his adolescent sexual urges (handled tastefully). Thinking that Amara is an escaping slave, Tavi decides to help her and is immediately sucked in over his head into a morass of intrigues, military, magical and otherwise. Butcher (Storm Front, etc.) does a thorough job of world building, to say nothing of developing his action scenes with an abundance of convincing detail. This page-turner bodes well for future volumes.
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This first book of a series, the Codex Aliera, is a real page-turner, with the classic plot of a kingdom threatened by both an outside invader and internal treachery enlivened by an abundance of original details and sheer storytelling gusto. For centuries, the ability of the people of Aliera to bond with furies--elemental spirits of earth, air, fire, water, and metal--has allowed them to defend their land against invaders. But the current lord is old and lacks an heir. So Aliera's traditional enemies plot with treacherous lords within the country to seize power. Far off in the mountains, the young lad Tavi struggles with his inability to attract and bond with a fury--and with sensual adolescent urges. He saves the life of a young girl he believes to be a slave, but who is actually an agent of the king, looking for traitors. Tavi is himself drawn into battle and war before he can say "lost sheep." A promising series launcher. Frieda Murray
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Fantastic start to a great series. Once I started reading I couldn't put it down and purchased the next book as soon as I finished with the previous one. Read morePublished 3 days ago by JoDohert2343
I have read all of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, so I figured I would read this small series too. I am hooked. Finished this book and I am now in the second book. Read morePublished 16 days ago by D. Eaton
Conveniently, defying all odds, every antagonist and protagonist survives. It a real stretch considering the almost endless, extremely dangerous scenarios which arise, over and... Read morePublished 17 days ago by S. Springate
Starts out slow, but weaves an evolution of wizardly fun and surprise.Published 26 days ago by Laura Charles
Great start to am adventure fantasy series. Jim butcher is getting to be one of my favorite writers.Published 28 days ago by Jean Julian