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Promise of Blood (The Powder Mage Trilogy) Hardcover – April 16, 2013

4.4 out of 5 stars 494 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Powder Mage Series

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Brian McClellan is an American epic fantasy author from Cleveland, Ohio. He is known for his acclaimed Powder Mage Universe and essays on the life and business of being a writer. Brian now lives on the side of a mountain in Utah with his wife, Michele, where he writes books and nurses a crippling video game addiction.


"Promise of Blood is a hugely promising debut. Guns, swords, and magic together? What more could you want? How about tense action, memorable characters, rising stakes, and cool, cool magic? Not only the finest flintlock fantasy I've read, but also the most fun. Brian McClellan is the real thing."―New York Times bestseller Brent Weeks

"This book is just plain awesome. I found myself enjoying every moment of it. Innovative magic, quick-paced plot, interesting world. I had a blast."―New York Times bestselling author, Brandon Sanderson

"Brian McClellan is an explosive powder keg of imagination with an expertly-plotted fuse. The stories he tells are the stories we'll be reading for years to come."―Sam Sykes on Promise of Blood

"The world of the privileged sorcerers and the strange abilities of the powder mages who can manipulate gunpowder are just as well drawn in this captivating universe."―RT Book Reviews (4 1/2 stars)

"McClellan's debut packs some serious heat...A thoroughly satisfying yarn that should keep readers waiting impatiently for further installments."―Kirkus (Starred Review)

"McClellan's debut is a lot of fun --- a historically influenced fantastical romp filled with machismo, intrigue and magic."―SciFi Now (UK)

"McClellan neatly mixes intrigue and action...in a society where new forces like labor unions, gunpowder-armed soldiers, and explosion-causing 'powder mages' clash with traditional magics, more, and beliefs."―Publishers Weekly

"Gunpowder and magic. An explosive combination. Promise of Blood is the best debut I've read in ages."―Peter V. Brett

"I love the world Brian McClellan builds, Powder Mages with flintlock pistols against white-gloved Privileged for the fate of a nation and more. Promise of Blood feels like the start of something amazing."―Django Wexler

"Brings a welcome breath of gunpowder-tinged air to epic fantasy."―Anthony Ryan

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Product Details

  • Series: The Powder Mage Trilogy (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; First Edition edition (April 16, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316219037
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316219037
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (494 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #594,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan is the first book in his Powder Mage trilogy series. I was quite surprised to learn that the author studied writing under Brandon Sanderson whose no doubt a favorite author for many fantasy readers. The results speak clearly. His writing is crisp, to the point and most importantly, very easy to follow along with. The problem I have with Promise of Blood is not with the author's writing but mainly with how he deals with his characters. This is a very large book and yet after having completed it, I couldn't find myself to care for a majority of the characters save for one or two. Make no mistake about it though. I'm not looking for funny or witty characters to make an impression here because I knew this book is suppose to be dark and gritty. I'm sure the title of the book gave that away. It's just felt to me some element was missing with a majority of the characters due to them feeling a bit one dimensional. Does that take anything away from the book? Yes, it certainly does. However, I still enjoyed it for the most part.

Promise of Blood spares you from the usual long introductions and throws you right into the pit of things. There has been a coup led by Field Marshal Tamas and his military is out to kill the king and nobles due to their lack of leadership and concern for the general public. While Tamas feels he isn't the one to actually lead the people, he knows for sure that there can never be another monarchy if the people are to be set free.

The setting here is a little unique but if you've read novels from Brandon Sanderson before, things will seem a bit similar.
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Format: Hardcover
It's refreshing to see a new fantasy series take the time to establish a firm foundation for its setting without having to rely on the old conventions of the genre. Promise of Blood, the first in the Powder Mage trilogy, is appropriately epic in its scale and ambition, not just depicting the vast power struggles of huge forces, sorcerers and demons fulfilling some ancient prophesy, but also taking into account the social and economic cost of the upheaval on the ordinary citizen when Field Marshal and Powder Mage Tamas overthrows the corrupt reign of King Manhouch in the kingdom of Adro. That's only just beginning of Tamas's troubles, but if the rest of this series remains as gritty and as thrilling as the set-up alone it will be one of the best new fantasy works for a long time. And there is indeed every sign that the series has a lot more to offer.

Having overthrown the King and publicly executed the nobility right at the outset of the first book, the real substance of Promise of Blood then is to be found in the disorder that follows in the wake of the revolution. Tamas has to quell the civil unrest that follows, sweep up pockets of royalist resistance, account for the kingdom's debts and put the economic house into order (not least of which is finding a way to pay his soldiers), but the unrest also places Adro in a dangerous position with its neighbours in Kez only waiting for the opportunity to take advantage of the instability. McClellan does well to cover all these angles though a number of characters who all provide a different perspective on the aftermath.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Mr. McClellan's novel, Promise of Blood, is a fantastic breath of fresh air, especially for a genre that has a tendency to get stuck in the same old rut. The first of a purposed trilogy, the novel does a fantastic job setting the stage for what seems to be an epic conflict.

The basic premise of this first novel seems to be built around the French Revolution, only magic, gods, and super soldiers thrown into the mix. The magic system is well-thought out, and has definite rules and limitations.

In the magic system there are three basic 'classes':.

The Privileged, are your typical sorcerers who are able to throw fire ball and magic around with the wave of a hand. Literally. Their powers are based upon their hands and special gloves they must wear in order to control and manipulate the Ether. The Privilaged are secretive and serve, mainly, the royal family and nobles within Adro and in other nations, including the rival nation Kez. They begin to take on a more important role as the novel progresses, but within the first few pages, Tamas and his powdermages have killed the Adro royal cabal.

Which brings us to our second "class": the powdermages. The powedermages are soldiers who are able to "burn" gunpowder magically. Through their ability, they can alter the path of bullets (musket balls really as the technology is appropriate with the emergence of gunpowder here on Earth), explode powder without a spark, and fire multiple bullets from the same gun with one "shot". Also, if they ingest the powder, they become physically altered: their senses become sharper, they are more physically powerful, and they feel pain less. In a sense, when they are around gunpowder they become super soldiers.
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