The Sin in the Steel

Tor. (Fall of the Gods, Bk. 1). Jul. 2020. 432p. ISBN 9781250222589. $27.99. FANTASY
DEBUT On the verge of being executed for various counts of murder and larceny, Buc and Eld are brought before a representative of the Kanados Trading Company with a deal: solve the mystery of the trade ships that are disappearing—and live. Buc and Eld have made a name for themselves investigating and solving complex mysteries. A surprising duo, 16-year-old genius Buc and discharged soldier Eld support themselves and each other, even as they try to overcome their pasts. When they discover the pirate queen Widowmaker has taken control of the trade routes, they attempt to take down her ship. Yet pirates are just the beginning, as they face off against zombies, magical Sin Eaters, and an artifact that all of the gods, dead and new, are clamoring to control. Interwoven are Buc’s and Eld’s backstories, which offer a full view of these flawed and witty protagonists, each with a strong emotional story arc.
VERDICT Van Loan’s debut is an intriguing fantasy, mixing plenty of mystery and magic to create a smart, fast-paced ride across the seas.

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