By day, Eska de Caraval digs for ancient treasure in the dust and dirt and sweltering sun. By night, she dons the embroidered silks and jewels that are the markings of her family’s success. Spurred by a relentless thirst to lay bare the world’s secrets, Eska has led Firenzia Company to renown across the Seven Cities of Bellara, and far beyond. But when she comes into possession of a priceless reliquary with a harrowing history–one of six lost to the centuries–and the treacherous artifact within, Eska unwittingly sets off a race to uncover the other five and the powers they contain.
Bankrupt and bitter, Manon Barca supports a brother and a failing company on loans she cannot repay, all while her disgraced father rots in prison. Determined to drag her family name out of oblivion, Manon does not fear to take on the might of Eska de Caraval and Firenzia Company, even if it means sabotaging an excavation and endangering innocent lives. When her reckless decisions put her at the mercy of one of the most powerful men in the Seven Cities, Manon finds herself caught in a storm beyond her making, one that will see the sundering of alliances that have stood for three hundred years.
As the de Caraval and Barca rivalry surges, Eska must wield intellect and steel against a web of enemies and deceit, all while Manon battles tirelessly to preserve the final remnants of her family and its legacy.
Neither, however, is prepared to contend with the rising tide of an ancient menace unleashed upon the world once more…
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This book is an ambitious fantasy book. Very big. Very epic in its world-building. You will see traces of historical influnces from Rome to Carthage in this novel. I sometimes think it’s a sort of a 16th century Renaissance world mixed with the Ancient World. The politics of this world is extensive, and is bascially archaeology in fantasy except its mixed with the following: Politics of the Arch-Duke, of the Seven Cities, of the numerous Kingdoms, the history, everything in it is pretty much that.
The two main characters: I liked Manon a little more than Eska. Eska is a cunning, devious, and clever lady that will stop at nothing to get what she wants. But she is also kind and caring. Whereas Manon? She is a character that goes through thick and thin. I liked Perrin and Alexandre more because their stories were more personal – As Eska is the daughter of the De Caravel family, you get to see a lot of stuff in this. It’s too hard for me to summarise all the details.
Both the authors, TL Greylock and Byrce have done an immense job of introducing the reader to the world. The prose is well written although I believe the novel could have been at a shorter pace, and there was a little dragging because of the explanation of the world that is needed. What I wanted to see was a map. I need a map to help me understand the big world – because this is a world of Gods, a world of history, a world of unexplained stories, of unexplained history that needs to be discovered. This is the set up, and the second novel will go much more into detail. I enjoyed and believe it is WORTH your time. Pick this up as it is free on KU, and really an engaging read. Really engaging. 9/10 from me!