The Thousand names has been recovered by the Vordan general Janus and his army. We now have left the desert Khandar behind and we make our way towards the empire of Vordan where the ailing king lies on his deathbed. Powers will soon pass to his daughter Raesinia, but the Minister of Information, Duke Orlanko holds a deadly secret over Raesinia forcing her to do his will on the empire. A shadow throne has been established and our heroes are returning from their military campaign. These two forces are bound to class with the faith of the Vordan city hanging in the balance. This will be a spoiler free review but I will be touching upon events that take place in book 1.
Lets start with the big elephant in the room, Winter has read the Thousand names and now possesses an ancient demon inside her with the ability to absorb other demonic creatures. This ability is heavily sought after both by the Church and Janus himself who is unaware of what transpired to Winter in Khandar. Winter has become public enemy number 1 in the eyes of the church and she needs to watch her back as mysteries are around every corner. Then we come to the loyal and humble Marcus. Back in the city that holds too many bad memories for him and fresh off a deadly campaign with enough magic for any normal soldier. Janus has put him in charge of protecting the Queen regent from the Duke as Janus has his own plans for the empire and everything is going according to his book. Finally we have the Queen regent herself who is feeling the pressures from every which way in the ruling of an empire. She has to find a way to take away Duke Orlanko’s power and who better to do it then the war hero her father put in charge of the Khandar campaign. Raesinia meets an interesting cast of new characters with the brilliant idea of not taking down the throne, but to take down the Vordan economy.
Right off the bat, you will notice that the setting and tones from this book couldn’t have been more different to book 1 if it tried. We move from an action packed war campaign to a political and economical story but ripe with secrets and interesting ideas. Django Wexler switches things up in this series and I believe it is for the best. With his slow-burn approach to this sequel and the peeling back of the many layer Vordan has to offer, the reader will always have something fun and suspenseful to be excited about. We also get a first hand look at the Church and what steps they are taking to combat this new threat dormant in Winter and which side they are on. There is dangers around every corner but the true danger may live within.
Django Wexler has produced an excellent sequel in the Shadow Campaign series. Although there is some action in this story, the political thriller trope is what really shines. What stakes would you go to to keep a secret from getting into the wrong hands? I guess you will have to read and find out!