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The Pagan Night: The Long Winter #1 by Tim Akers
Review by Mel Jacob
Titan Books Kindle Edition  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781783297399
Date: 19 January 2016

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Eight years in the planning and writing, Tim Akerís new series, The Hallowed War, begins with The Pagan Night. This masterful fantasy novel provides plenty of action and magic set in a world where the continued existence of the old gods and those who worship them threaten the new religion. Yet without the old ones, the land will die.

Lord Malcolm Blakely of Tener, hero of the Reaver War, faces the greatest challenge of his life when the church asks him to make peace with the Duke of Halverdt, a Suhdran peer. Strange forces are at work in both Tener and Suhdra. Once of a pagan family, Blakely has now sworn to uphold the church of Cinder and Strife, yet there are those who would free old gods and bring demons into the world. Dark magic roams the land, which evil ambitious men twist for their own gain.

Battles of massed forces of Suhdra and Tener struggle to crush each other with battles and lightning raids. Only Death becomes the victor. A black force corrupts the old gods and uses their power to destroy its enemies and the land. An aged friar, a vow knight sworn to Cinder, a huntress with allegiance to the old gods, and Blakelyís son Ian, caught between the church and the pagans must save the land.

Telling friend from foe becomes more difficult as borders and alliances shift and sunder friendships. When warriors fight and die, children replace them to die in turn. While Malcolm Blakely and Ian fight the warriors, the huntress fights the corrupted gods with all the earth magic she can wield.

Unfortunately, the novel ends abruptly, leaving the fate of the world unresolved. Using old tropes, Akers creates a new world mixing religion and paganism at odds. The narrative unrolls as the difficult choices various characters make drive the action. Excellent writing keeps the pages turning.

Subsequent books in the series will follow: The Iron Hound (January 2017) and The Winter Vow (January 2018). Other works by Akers include The Horns of Ruin and the steampunk Veridon novels.

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