Battle Mage is the
first novel of new author Stephen Aryan, and although the book promises it is the first in
a series can easily be read as a standalone work.
Unsurprisingly from the title, Battle Mage is
fantasy. What it is not, however, is the standard tale of swords and sorcery. The known
world is divided between various kingdoms of humans and human-like creatures. These
kingdoms rub along sporting religions that rise and fall with time as do the gods
associated with those religions. If a god has no believers it dies. The gods manifest as
people of the world with godly powers, but independently some people have innate magical
ability. If those people are sufficiently well trained and in control of their abilities
they can become battle mages and outside of war pursue whatever occupation or hobby
takes their interest.
Unfortunately for several countries one king, through a little divine
meddling, has become deluded into believing he is a god reincarnate and has set out with
the help of a skilled battle mage to conquer the known world. This book concerns the
struggles of an opposing kingdom and the battle mage Balfruss in upending that ambition.
There is also a side order of intra-deity conflict that adds spice to the main tale. To
say more would introduce spoilers.
I found Battle Mage a worthy first work,
containing well rounded main characters and interesting secondary characters. While the
setting was not new the author had managed to conjure interesting variations on a well
worked theme to make this book stand out. I shall be looking for the second book in the
series with interest.