Tor, Jan 18 2011, $24.99
For five decades the theocratic Holy Empire of Mann has conquered the countries on The Heart of the World. Their ruthless dictator, Holy Matriarch Sasheen remains in control of her vast empire due to her specialty trained Diplomat Corps of diabolical vicious priests.
Ash the Roshun belongs to an assassin group who provide a protection to clients by meting out revenge on anyone who murders one of their customers or a family member. He has been ill lately so has taken on a mentee Nico from the streets of Bar-Khos, an island under a decade old siege by the forces of the Holy Empire of Mann. When Sasheen’s heir Kirkus kills the daughter of a priest who has paid for Roshun’s protection for himself and his family, the assassin knows he and his apprentice must complete a vendetta against the “sacred”.
This is an engaging “historical” that looks closely at the impact of a long war on individuals representing different groups caught up in the conflict. The intriguing story line is driven by a moral undercurrent as the values of the Holy Empire of Mann and of the Roshun conflict when Kirkus committed murder. Readers will want more tales set in the Col Buchanan’s Heart of the World as the author brings to life his realm through a murder requiring contracted retaliation against a protected VIP.