I’ve got a number of indie-published fantasy novels on my Nook or my Kindle app on the phone, and I’m going to try to read some of them over the spring.
The first of these is one I bought a while back but for some reason didn’t read immediately. Probably too many other things to read distracted me.
But I have finally read The Last King’s Amulet. It’s the first volume in The Price of Freedom, of which there are at least four books. I’ve already downloaded the second, The Key to the Grave. This is military fantasy with a philosophical edge, and I found it quite readable.
Sumto is the son of a patron of a large city that rules an empire. If that reminds you of Rome, you’re thinking along the right lines. Sumto is, well, a wastrel. He spends his days reading (I like him already) and his evenings (and days as well) in various states of inebriation.
He’s past the age he should have done a tour of military service so that he can enter the civil service and eventually take his place among the Assembly of Patrons. He’s put it off for as long as he can, but his time has run out. His father has cut off all his funds, so that he’s sinking deeper into debt and being pursued by creditors. The man betrothed to his sister says that Sumto will either enter military service or else because he won’t have wastrel as a brother-in-law. Sumto chooses the military.
There’s a small uprising in the north, and all Sumto has to do is take his place in the command structure, serve his term, win glory and riches, and come home to an illustrious career. So accompanied by his one slave (Sumto comes up with a number of rationalizations for slavery, but I’m not sure who he’s trying to convince, the reader or himself), he sets off.
Of course, this is a military fantasy novel. Small uprisings aren’t. The same goes for short, victorious wars. Sumto is about to grow up. Growing up isn’t fun and can be quite painful.
Sumto is a delightful narrator. He explains as the book progresses how his society works. He isn’t necessarily the most reliable narrator, but on the whole he’s trustworthy. He also learns a lot about himself and genuinely tries to mend his drunken, selfish ways. Of course there are people who will do their best to see that he doesn’t.
The Last King’s Amulet is a fun military fantasy for the thinking person. I liked it a lot. As of this writing, it’s free as an introduction to the series, so check it out.