This book is the 2nd in the trilogy - "Fire of Heaven". The author is a mapmaker by trade and has based his story on the journey of the "Company" (collection of characters that increase and diminish along the way) on the geography of the world he has created. There are of course maps which are a great addition. There is also a Glossary to help keep you advised on who, what, and where people and things are. The story is one of ordinary youth is "chosen" to be an instrument in the saving of the world from the evil ways of an eternal foe. The evil foe has finally regained strength again after 2000 years. The company of ordinary people grows from 5 to many as time and the journey unfolds. The descriptions of the surroundings in this world are beautiful and if you like being pulled into a world then this is a good book for you. If you want non-stop action then this isn't the book for you. There is action, but most of the time the "triumphs" of the heroes are accomplished through other means than the characters' own doing. Many times it is environmental means. Most of the heroes aren't good with weapons (swords, arrows, etc.). I love this book and can't wait to read the next one - "The Right Hand of God". This is not a religious story of our own world.
Zachary S. reviewed In the Earth Abides the Flame (Fire of Heaven, Bk 2) on
Overall, a great fantasy series, and recommended to anybody scouring the shelves for more epics. The pacing is strong for the field, and the character dynamics are compelling. The writing can be a bit obtuse in places, breaking the story immersion slightly, but mostly it's forgivable (and more fluid than the snags in the first book). I'd say the allegories can be a bit too direct at times as well, which combined with the writing snags is what has brought the rating down, but the story and characters are excellent and I raced through the book despite all that.
Lay down the literary criticism and don't get too caught up in the religious parallels and you'll have a great read.