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Last year’s The Dragon’s Path was Daniel Abraham’s answer to the familiar epic fantasy saga à la Eddings or Jordan. After having taken us to lands never before travelled with his excellent Long Price Quartet, Abraham consciously sought to craft the ‘perfect’ epic fantasy by pulling together all sorts of tropes, characters, and themes from fantasy, history and beyond.  And, in my own words the first book of The Dagger and the Coin was ‘one of the very best “classic” epics.’ Needless to say, expectations for The King’s Blood - as with any Abraham book - were high. However, once again Abraham sweeps us up in his world, his finely crafted characters giving us one of their very best performances. Yet another strong example of Abraham’s mastery.

Sea of Ghosts marks the beginning of a new fantasy series, The Gravedigger Chronicles, for Alan Campbell, previously known for his Deepgate Codex. Originally published last year, it was only with this year’s paperback release that the book finally caught my eye (blue covers more attractive than beige?). Sea of Ghosts turned out to be a startlingly original novel, at least with regards to it’s worldbuilding, and as one who often goes on about that sort of thing, it was a welcome surprise. With a clear intent to mix science with fantasy, Campbell creates a world of harsh conditions, and peoples it with characters who do not always possess the most depth, but are nonetheless very endearing. Coupled with a somewhat classic narrative of ‘world-defining’ proportions, this results in a fine offering on Campbell’s part.