Stina Leicht’s first two novels were Of Blood and Honey (2011), which Sean Stiennon reviewed for us here, and And Blue Skies From Pain (2012). In 2015 she released the first novel in her new flintlock epic fantasy series, Cold Iron.
Okay, I’m not an expert on flintlock epic fantasy. In fact, I kinda thought the publisher was pulling my leg. Flintlock fantasy? Come on, you just made that up so that you’d have a section to file this under. But I did a Google search and, holy cats, it’s a legit genre and everything. Examples include Brian McClellan’s Powder Mage trilogy, D.B. Jackson’s Thieftaker Chronicles, and Django Wexler’s Shadow Campaigns series. (Check out this list for more. Use it to amaze your friends at parties!)
Blackthorne, the sequel to Cold Iron, arrives in hardcover next month from Saga Press. I have an advance copy in house and, damn. This is a big book. The first two volumes total nearly 1,400 pages. If flintlock fantasy is your thing, this book is like five pounds of Christmas. (Also, if flintlock fantasy is your thing, you’re clearly a lot more hip than I am. Don’t get excited, that ain’t much of an accomplishment.)
Here’s the description of the first book, just because I still want more details on this whole flintlock angle.
Fraternal twins Nels and Suvi move beyond their royal heritage and into military and magical dominion in this flintlock epic fantasy debut from a two-time Campbell Award finalist.
Prince Nels is the scholarly runt of the ancient Kainen royal family of Eledore, disregarded as flawed by the king and many others. Only Suvi, his fraternal twin sister, supports him. When Nels is ambushed by an Acrasian scouting party, he does the forbidden for a member of the ruling family: He picks up a fallen sword and defends himself.
Disowned and dismissed to the military, Nels establishes himself as a leader as Eledore begins to shatter under the attack of the Acrasians, who the Kainen had previously dismissed as barbarians. But Nels knows differently, and with the aid of Suvi, who has allied with pirates, he mounts a military offensive with sword, canon, and what little magic is left in the world.
And here’s the description for Blackthorne.
In this sweeping sequel to the critically acclaimed Cold Iron—which NPR Books raved, “reminded me, pleasurably, of Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Apprentice series”—the Kingdom of Eledore has fallen and Nel and Suvi lead a diaspora of their people to safety, but the magic that has kept the demon forces away is dwindling, and they must find a new way to protect themselves.
The Acrasian army has swept through Eledore, nearly massacring the entire race in fear and hatred of the magic they possess. This same magic is all that was keeping the demon incursion at bay, but now the great evil that was banished is seeping into the world. Watchers are formed to warn of any sightings of the demons, but little can be done if one encounters them in shadow or at night.
Meanwhile, Nels leads a precious few hundred survivors of Eledore through the wilds, hoping to find solace and rebuild their civilization while his twin sister, Suvi, seeks allies at sea.
There is hope, born in the ashes of this devastation—a hope that Eledorian magic can grow, but only if they survive.
And here’s the publishing deets.
Cold Iron (672 pages, $27.99 hardcover/$15.99 paperback/$7.99 digital, July 14, 2015)
Blackthorne (710 pages, $32.99 in hardcover/$7.99 digital, August 8, 2017)
Both books are published by Saga Press. The covers are by Alejandro Colucci.
See all our recent coverage of the best upcoming fantasy here.