The Price of Valor (Shadow Campaigns, #3)
by Django Wexler
Cover Artist: Paul Youll
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Roc Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451418081
Date: 07 July 2015 List Price $26.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The campaign in Vordan begins for real. The surrounding kingdoms are invading at the direction of the Sworn Church. Vordan City is experiencing a reign of terror as more and more enemies of the state are put to the spike. The armies sent out to face the enemy powers are not faring well, with one exception, those led by Janus bet Vhalnich. But success is a challenge to authority, which won't be tolerated.
Beyond the battlefield there is also the challenge of those carrying demons. The church has the Penitent Damned, those who accept damnation in order to use demons to advance the church's cause. There are others that also carry demons, who will challenge the church's authority. Winter Ihernglass carries a very powerful demon that other demons fear and Queen Raesinia carries a demon that keeps her healthy and alive. Together, they and their friends will face off with some of the most powerful Penitent Damned.
In addition to the external threats, there are internal threats threatening the Vordania. Someone is stockpiling weapons, training troops, and preparing to steal the tablets of a thousand names which straight-laced Marcus D'Ivoire is expected to protect. Without the help of demons and limited by the lack of troops, Marcus must find a way to keep the tablets safe. Unfortunately for Marcus, nothing ever goes easily.
This is the third book in the Shadow Campaigns. There are at least two more volumes to come in the series. As a later book in a series it isn't the best starting point for new readers, but the series is entertaining and Wexler can write. This series is heavily influenced by the French Revolution. Each new volume expands the scope of the world as new portions are brought into the tale.
The characters are not thin archetypes. There are not true golden heroes, each character has flaws and desires. There are people of various ethnicities and sexual orientations. Even though I like Marcus, he is very naive. I always hope he will learn, but he constantly fails even while achieving his goals somehow. He has a lot of potential, but is very blinded by his upbringing and class. I can get frustrated with his choices and blinders.
Winter is another very interesting character as she continues to hide her gender in order to be accepted and respected. She also has a hidden demon, that is very powerful. I look forward to learning more about the scope of her powers. In that same vein, I want to see what other demons are available. But she also has her relationship with Jane, who fears the plans of not just the church, but also Janus.
I look forward to reading the continuing adventures of the Shadow Campaigns. At some point, Janus' true motives will come out. It seems too simple that he is a tyrant in waiting, but it may be just as unlikely that he is a true patriot willing to step aside once the wars are done.