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The Pirates of Pacta Servanda (Pillars of Reality) (Volume 4) Paperback – April 7, 2016
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About the Author
"Jack Campbell" is the pseudonym for John G. Hemry, a retired Naval officer who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis before serving with the surface fleet and in a variety of other assignments. He is the author of The Lost Fleet military science fiction series, as well as the Beyond the Frontier continuation of The Lost Fleet, spin-off series The Lost Stars, the Stark's War series, and the Paul Sinclair/"JAG in space" series. His short fiction appears frequently in Analog magazine, and many have been collected in the three Jack Campbell ebook anthologies, Ad Astra, Borrowed Time, and Swords and Saddles. The Pillars of Reality is his first epic fantasy series. He lives with his indomitable wife and three children in Maryland.
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This series is a sci-fi/fantasy mix, of a world where people have divided into three camps. Two "Great Guilds" and everybody else. One of the Guilds, the Mechanics, can do technology. They refer to everybody else as "Commons." The other Guild, the Mages, can influence reality, what they call an "illusion" in ways that appear similar to what some might call magic. They ignore everybody else, except that they get paid to help out whomever hires them, but outside of that, everyone, including Mechanics, are merely "shadows."
In the first book, a Mage and a Mechanic are thrown in together for mutual survival. By the second book they're pretty much in love, and by the third book they go ahead and get married. Awwwww, huh? But that's not the story, that's the characters being developed. The Great Guilds, you see, are not exactly on the up and up. As we go along we learn some interesting things about the origins of the Mechanics and the Mages. Let's just say that the Mechanics weren't entirely honest about things, and that the Mages were more or less forced into a hidden position. But the Mages now, too, are basically dishonest at the top.
So, our heroine and hero are, to say the least, stressed a bit trying to expose the corruption of the two Great Guilds, save the world, and just for the fun of it, not get killed in the attempt. The style is more fantasy than sci-fi, but the story is given enough scientific basis that it qualifies both ways. I basically read the series while on vacation at a Mexican beach. I swam, I ate, and I read. A good week, no? Go ahead and start this series, 'cause it's worth the time to read.
However, I think this is the best so far...we are past (most of) the painful dialog and get down to the action, which is where Jack Campbell excels.
The plot is moving along here towards the inevitable, massive, epic conclusion - with some interesting side action.
Again, I recommend the whole series - get past the slow stuff and you can really enjoy it.