The One Kingdom - The Swans' War, Book 1 Author:Sean Russell The cataclysm began more than a century earlier, when the King of Ayr died before naming an heir to the throne, and damned his realm to chaos. The cold-blooded conspiracies of the Renne and the Wills -- each family desirous of the prize of rule -- would sunder the one kingdom, and spawn generations of hatred and discord.Now Toren Renne, leader o... more »f his great and troubled house, dreams of peace -- a valiant desire that has spawned hostility among his kinsmen, and vicious internal plots against his life. In the opposing domain, Elise Wills's desire for freedom is to be crushed, as an unwanted marriage to an ambitious and sinister lord looms large. As always, these machinations of nobles are affecting the everyday lives of the common folk -- and feeding a bonfire of animosity that has now trapped an unsuspecting young Valeman Tam and two fortune-hunting friends from the North in its high, killing flames.But the closer Toren comes to achieving his great goal of uniting two enemy houses, the more treachery flowers. Nobles and mystics alike conspire to keep the realm divided, knowing that only in times of strife can their power grow.And perhaps the source of an unending misery lies before an old king's passing, beyond the scope of history, somewhere lost in a fog of myth and magic roiling about an ancient enchanter named Wyrr -- who bequeathed to his children terrible gifts that would poison their lives...and their deaths. It is a cursed past and malevolent sorcery that truly hold the land, its people, and its would-be rulers bound. And before the already savaged kingdom can become one again, all Ayr will drown in a sea of blood.« less
This book starts out very slow. So sit back and let yourself glide along the meandering river of this story.
The magic in this story is like the underpinnings in a bridge. You don't see it often, but when you get the chance to peek over "the bridge", you realize how much depends on what is not spelled out explicitly. I like this subtle approach.
The only detraction that I really have is the following of several groups of characters. If you've read Robert Jordan, then you'll be just fine with following multiple threads of a story.