The Sword Defiant

Orbit. (Lands of the Firstborn, Bk. 1). May 2023. 608p. ISBN 9780316537155. pap. $18.99. FANTASY
This series launch from Hanrahan (The Broken God) is a slow-burning epic of faith and betrayal that explores what happens to heroes when the adventures are over and the lines between good and evil are no longer so clear-cut. Aelfric is a living legend, a simple farm boy turned knight venerated for his courage, loyalty, and stout heart. He is counted among the nine companions who defeated the necromancer Lord Bone and his horde of horrors. But those glorious days are now 20 years behind him, and all he has left is the treacherous talking sword named Spellbreaker and a new prophecy that portends looming doom. Burdened and wayward, Alf clings desperately to old bonds and once more seeks out the Nine to face this new threat. The ancient miasmic city Necrad is at the center of it all, which is played up through the rich worldbuilding heavily influenced by Tolkien.
VERDICT This novel has the potential to become a fan-favorite among those who appreciate vast and eloquent epic fantasy. Readers will enjoy the unique twists, absorbing intrigue, and endearing characters.
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