|Winter Be My Shield is the first book in the
"Children of the Black Sun" trilogy from epic fantasy author Jo Spurrier.
is on the run from blood-mage Kell and his apprentice Rasten who have been using her
untrained magical talents to boost their own powers while torturing prisoners for the
King. Sierra is rescued from death in the snow by Prince Cammarian and his followers,
including the Princes foster-brother Isidro, also recently escaped from the
The world of Winter Be My Shield has an interesting although slightly
uncomfortable magical system, Sierra has an empathetic magic which draws off others
pain. This ability makes ordinary people fear her and makes her valuable to blood-mages
like Kell and Rasten who can siphon off the magical energy she collects. The story
gradually builds on our understanding of how this magic works and the different way each
of the three countries of this world treat those with magical abilities. Sierra is from a
land which outlaws the practice of magic entirely, so she is viewed as thoroughly evil and
deceitful. Throughout the book she stands up for what she believes to be right only to
find herself betrayed by those who distrust her ability.
This book focuses almost entirely around Sierras escape aided by Isidro and
Prince Cammarian. Only in the final chapter which picks up six weeks later does the bigger
storyline which has only been hinted at come to the front. With the book introducing me to
a complex world of clashing viewpoints and cultures I am looking forward to the second
instalment to watch Sierra discover more about her magic.