Mages Blood is
the first volume of in the Moontide quartet the latest fantasy world envisioned by David
Hair and is his first sally in the crowded world of non-young adult novels (I would have
used the term non-juvenile as the marketing term used to be, but that may now carry
pejorative connotations), having until now written two young adult trilogies and a
Mages Blood is set on the world of Urte,
where the two vast continents of Yuros and Antiopia are separated by a narrow but
dangerous strait that every twelve years, during a moontide, is linked by a massive
magical bridge. The story follows the stories of: Alaron, a trainee mage; Gurvon Gyle, a
spymaster and possible rebel; Elena, an assassin turned bodyguard; and Ramita a lowly
merchants daughter and the man she intends to marry, Kazim.
The continent of Yuros has been conquered by Rondian empire, which now has
its sights on Antiopia the second continent. But the Rondian hold on Yuros is not as
secure as it likes to believe, with sedition constantly bubbling below the surface, with
Alaron and Gurvon representing two faces of that sedition. While Antiopia is neither a
unified mass standing against the invading Rondians nor is it a fractious parcel of
nations waiting to be overrun; with Elena, Ramita and Kazim giving an insight in to the
tortured politics of that continent.
I enjoyed this first volume, but did find that the switching between
storylines a bit annoying as the focus shifted just as I was getting invested in the
current plot and characters.
This is a big story and I can see why Mr Hair needs feels he needs four
volumes to tell the story properly. Anything less than three would be a hurried, mish mash
of a series. Overall this was a satisfying entree of a book, with an amuse bouche
denouement. Second, third and fourth courses to follow.