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The decades long war against demon ruled Traag left the Solarian Empire a decimated wreck. Rebuilding the nation is a nightmare. Worse, the demons are still out there.
Tia traveled to Cosslet Barony in search of a nobleman willing to marry a wealthy commoner. She finds feuding aristocrats and an impoverished populace terrorized by a monster out of legend. Then matters get really bad…
Lady Tia Samos of Equitant is a well connected merchant looking to find new enterprises and a suitable match for matrimony. She has gone around the Solarian Empire in an attempt to do both. While she has found some potential matches, none have worked out thus far. She travels with her companions Peter and Kyle who both saw action in the war. Peter is a knight and fighter and Kyle has some magical abilities, although he lets drink get to his head a bit too often. Tia and her party head to Cosslet Castle to see if a match with the minor noble and Peter’s half brother Ian both in business and marriage might be worthwhile.
While the war has ended, the Empire is still feeling some ill effects from it and everyone from peasants to nobles are trying to recover. To make matters worse, the demons who waged the war in the first place are not entirely gone. Tia an Ian make a discovery of some unknown resources that may help Cosslet Castle come back to full financial health. Unfortunately, there have been sightings of strange creatures and deaths of peasants and livestock plaguing the surrounding area. Tia will have to survive not only using her wits and friends but also avoiding the life threatening demons.
Empire: Country makes a good start for a fantasy series, taking a few key elements rarely seen in fantasy. We get to see the aftermath of war, rather than the throes of it, and Tia in particular, takes a major role in events. The book does have a large cast of characters and while it mostly manages the balance well, there are some spots where the shift in perspective seems not entirely necessary. At times this leads to some confusion on the part of the reader but most of those instances are minor.
The action that ensues is quite enjoyable and the last third of the book is surprising and inventive. The story here makes for a good start on what could be an excellent series.
If you like epic fantasy books with elements of cosmic horror and some truly nail biting moments, Empire: Country is a great choice to read next.