Howard A. Jones’ second book in the Hanuvar series has come out. I covered Lord of a Shattered Land in September. City of Marble and Blood is the next book in the series, a November release in hardback, 528 pages.
The first book was a fix up of previously published stories. This book is divided into fourteen chapters which are actually more like story episodes. The chapters are interconnected though as the story builds on the event of previous chapters. New characters are introduced as an ensemble cast is built.
Hanuvar has built an underground network to free Volani slaves of the Dervans. Some of the chapters are out and out fantasy with supernatural elements. One chapter is a heist operation to procure gold for Hanuvar’s network. Early on, a clash with a sorceror has Hanuvar absorbing a spell that will have a bad effect. This gives a sense of urgency to fixing that problem along the way. There is one chapter with Hanuvar traveling to a alternate time line that is a nod to Robert E. Howard’s “Kings of the Night.”
There are some new villains in this novel, the Cerdians which are a combination of Mithradates Eupator’s Pontus and some other peoples.
The chapters have action, one chapter has a battle. The strong point of this book is the array of characters, dialog, and interaction. There are some good observations on human behaviour.
Once I figured out how this book was laid out, I would read a chapter each night or every few nights. This series is turning into something unique. It is not a big, fat fantasy novel. I will create a new term- para-historical fantasy to describe the Hanuvar series.
There is an excerpt of the next novel which is due to be published next October.