Blood and Iron (The Book of the Black Earth #1) by Jon Sprunk

Blood and Iron - Jon Sprunk

Welcome to the Crusades - only a little different. Horace is a ship's carpenter and finds himself shipwrecked on the shores of the heretics - the Akeshians. Horace seems to be the main player in the story as he discovers he has a magical ability not seen in ages. Because of this ability, he is offered a place at court where he meets Alyna. Alyna's role in the story is that of a spy for another country. Through her we see some of the inner workings of the Akeshian court that we may not have realized was going on. Our third player is Jirom, a slave-fighter that helps Horace at the beginning, but I'm not quite sure what his role long term is going to be.

There is a lot going on throughout this story. There is political and religious strife and conflict that the story is built around. Horace is lost as he tries to navigate this deadly set up and there are times he makes critical errors that come back to haunt him. You must like the political and religous intrigue/strife storylines to enjoy this story. While there is some good old fashioned sword and sorcery fighting, much of the tension and build up doesn't involve actual fighting.

I thought the author did a great job keeping the story on track (with the exception of Jirom - I still don't understand his part long run, but maybe book two will explain more). There were a handful of times that I thought the story moved a little too slowly, but never to the point that it became burdensome. This is a great read for fantasy lovers that like a little more of the politics in their story than you traditionally see.

*This book was received in exchange for an honest review*