Lord of a Shattered Land by Howard Andrew Jones
Goos morning on this fine Thursday morning. A new review for you today. It's Lord of A Shattered Land (Chronicles of Hanuvar) by Howard Andrew Jones and is published by Baen Books in July.
This book took me back, and I really enjoyed this Sword and Sorcery book, which is the first in a series of five which is to be published by Baen Books, with the second book being released in October.
When their walls were breached at last, the people of Volanus fought block by block, house by house, until most fell with sword in hand. Less than a thousand survivors were led away in chains.
The city’s treasuries were looted, its temples defiled, and then, to sate their emperor’s thirst for vengeance, the mages of the Dervan Empire cursed Volanus and sowed its fields with salt. They committed only one error: the greatest Volani general yet lived.
Against the might of a vast empire, Hanuvar had only an aging sword arm, a lifetime of wisdom… and the greatest military mind in the world, set upon a single goal. No matter where they’d been sent, from the festering capital to the furthest outpost of the Dervan Empire, Hanuvar would find his people. Every last one of them. And he would set them free.
I have to say a big thank you to Howard Andrew Jones for reaching out and sending me this book. It is absolutely ages since I read a book like this and I forgot how much I enjoy sword and sorcery books, especially when they are done right.
I was pitched this book with the premise that the lead character is an older character that is at the height of his powers and whilst we get to know his back story, there is not a major origin story to get through first, and I must say that this worked so well for me.
In essence, the story is pretty familiar in that the land of Volanis is defeated by the Dervan Empire. Not only defeated, they have cursed the land, sowed salt on their fields and taken the people into slavery. In the midst of this, Hanuvar, the decorated general of Volanis is supposedly killed, along with his famous Dragon. However, we soon learn that he isn't and when we initially meet Hanuvar, we meet him as a slave who is sent on a mission to talk to the island of Narata's resident Dragon in order to save them from Dervan's who are heading towards them. As the book progresses we follow Hanuvar as he attempts to find his people.
I have to admit I loved this book, and whilst it reminded me of classic sword and sorcery authors like Howard and Lieber, the book has a a modern contemporaryness to it. The book is very episodic, made up of individual contained stories that are split into sub chapters, but it reads like a modern television series with an overall thematic arc.
Hanuvar himself is a strikingly good modern day hero, in that whilst he is good at everything he does, brilliant tactician, exceptional general, brilliant warrior etc , he is not in any way big headed about his his skills. The other to like about him is that he is a man of older years beset by the aches and pains of a man of his years.
The world itself, based on the Roman empire is steadily built throughout the stories, and as we move through the variety of episodes the blanks are filled in about both the Dervan society and the country of Volanis.
Lord of a Shattered Land has something for both seasoned readers of Sword and Sorcery stories and is also a really good introduction if you have not ventured into this type of fantasy before.