Seven Deaths of an Empire

Solaris Books. Jun. 2021. 550p. ISBN 9781781089132. $27.99. FANTASY
Matthews (The Stone Road) tells the tale of a magic-laced Roman-like empire on the cusp of disaster: the Empire finds itself without an emperor, and two men end up with the fate of thousands in their hands as they try to fulfill their missions. Bordan, an aging General, must protect the heir apparent as those who seek the power of the throne begin to plot around them. Kyron, an apprentice magician, must escort the body of the emperor through hostile territory or risk losing the wisdom of the emperors of old before it can be transferred to the new heir. The novel alternates between Bordan’s and Kyron’s points of view as they try to determine the fate of the Empire. The short chapters take some time to pull the reader in, but once they’re caught in the momentum, they’ll be hard pressed to stop turning pages.
VERDICT Older teens and adults will enjoy the novel’s political intrigue and struggle to survive, which are reminiscent of George R. R. Martin’s “Game of Thrones” or a slightly less fantastical version of Jim Butcher’s “Codex Alera” series.
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