Ruling from the island of Acacia, the emperor of the Known World has inherited an apparent peace and prosperity won by his ancestors generations ago. He's an intelligent man, a widower who dotes on his four children and it is this devotion that obliges him to hide a terrible secret from them: that their prosperity rests on the dark realities of trafficking in drugs and human lives. A man of integrity, he hopes that he might bring an end to this vile trade, but powerful forces stand in his way. And then an assassin strikes, a lone killer sent by the Mein, an ancient foe long ago exiled to the frozen north. Now the Mein have returned to take revenge on their old enemy and begin a series of brutal surprise assaults on Acacia. Mortally wounded, the emperor puts into play a plan that will allow his children to escape, to fulfil their destinies. And so begins a quest to avenge a father's death and restore an empire - this time on the basis of universal freedom...
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David Anthony Durham has won acclaim for his historical novels, and brings his knowledge of the past and other cultures to create a rich and compelling world on his first foray into fantasy. His skilful storytelling, depth of characterisation, and an ability to unsettle reader expectations is reminiscent of George R.R. Martin, but his is a distinctive new voice - THE TIMES
Durham brings to mind Tolkien with the expert detail with which he's built his alternate land. This could be the arrival of a fantasy classic - SFX magazine
Where this sort of thing really works is not just in the attention to detail, but the attention to character. And with its epic duels and mighty sea battles, the whole thing is suffused with a feeling of Greek myth and legend - DAILY TELEGRAPH
He is a master of the fantasy epic...How will it all end? If the first volume of this projected series is any indication, in brilliant - and brutal - defiance of fantasy conventions. - WASHINGTON POST
Complex, multi-layered...a world whose history feels as real, complicated and unpredictable as our own...whose characters and events will be as real in the minds of his readers as history itself. - SFSITE
This is a novel that Shakespeare would have loved! Durham is rebuilding fantasy from the ground-up. -
Entertaining and engaging...If War with the Meinis an indication of what is to come in this epic saga, Durham could be making a very big name for himself. - SFFWORLD
Vastly entertaining...Will good win out over evil? In Durham's morally ambiguous world, the uncertainty is part of the thrill -
Sprawling and vividly imagined fantasy...Durham has created a richly detailed alternate reality leavened with a dollop of magic and populated by complicated personalities grappling with issues of freedom and oppression. - PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
David Anthony Durham was born in New York City. He is the award-winning author of three acclaimed novels, Gabriel's Story, Walk Through Darkness and Hannibal: Pride of Carthage. He lived in Scotland for several years but now lives with his family in California, where he teaches at Cal State University.