The Promise of Blood is an exciting fantasy novel debut by Brian McClellan. Field Marshal Tamas has successfully organized a coup and removed a king from power, but now must learn how to lead a destabilized nation and address threats from both without and from within. He also must discover what the members of the royal cabal meant when they whispered the mysterious words “You can’t break Kresimir’s Promise” with their dying breaths. He entrusts this task to Adamat, a private investigator from the city. He entrusts another important mission to Taniel, his son: a powerful mage who worked for the king escaped the night of the coup and must be tracked down. Each of these three characters’ story lines is engaging and action-packed.
Unlike most fantasy novels that use medieval settings, The Promise of Blood is set in an industrialized world more reminiscent of the 18th century. The change in period makes McClellan’s world feel fresh and interesting. It also allows McClellan to mix some technology with magic. The world has two distinct types of magic: the Privileged, who are fairly typical magic users, and the Powder Mages, who can use magic to manipulate gunpowder. The conflict between these two groups echoes the larger scale political conflicts.
Overall The Promise of Blood is a fun, fast-paced and interesting read. It is an excellent debut that promises to captivate readers.