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After decades of bitter warfare, the Solarian Empire finally scored a pyric victory over demon ruled Traag. Now, Solaria is a tottering wreck of a nation, one step from the brink of collapse. Worse, the demons are still out there.
Tia traveled to the imperial capital to testify at the trial of a traitor tied to eldritch abominations. She stayed to court the rowdy knightly heroes roaming the palace halls. It seems normal – yet she is plagued by strange dreams and the court intrigues are taking a deadly turn.
Rebecca, Tia’s maid and personal minstrel, is ‘playing the palace’ – but there is something wrong with her music.
Sir Peter Cortez, Tia’s protector, parties with his fellow knights while navigating intrigues.
Kyle, Tia’s carriage driver and a petty magician, confronts his past and contemplates his future.
Opportunity and peril await them all.
After the events of Empire: Country the sequel follows the adventures of an ensemble cast of characters. Tia is still trying to find a suitable match for matrimony. Rebecca has musical talent and should be having the performance of her lifetime but there is something wrong with the music. Sir Peter Cortez is filling out his days in debauchery and unpleasant family matters. And Kyle is trying to figure out what a man with his talents can do and how he can further his fortunes. Meanwhile there is an evil presence growing in the capital which could destroy them all.
This second volume starts out with a prologue that definitely expands the world of Empire but seems as if it may be resolved further on in the series. There are more revelations from the past for most of the characters, and they all, in one way or another, are struggling to confront the reality of how to live their lives in the future. This all means quite a bit of political maneuvering as people try to position themselves to best survive whatever may be coming next. In the background of all this there is a bit of mystery and corruption that a few of the characters are able to perceive for one reason or another.
There are some passages which are a bit confusing for the reader but may become more clear as the story goes on. There are also some spelling and grammar issues in the book but the story is strong enough to keep the reader engaged for the most part.
It’s clear that Tim Goff is attempting to tell an ambitious story with a lot of moving parts. This second volume expands on that and has plenty of intrigue and action along the way. The idea of setting most of the main events after a major war has ended gives the story just enough edge to make it unique in fantasy books. This second volume touches quite a lot on themes of finding direction in one’s life and career, especially after the world has undergone a significant change. These themes certainly resonate to the audience today.
If you enjoy fantasy books with elements of cosmic horror you’ll enjoy the Empire series.