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An excellent conclusion to a well-developed Flintlock Fantasy

The Autumn Republic“The Autumn Republic” is the third book in Brian McClellan’s “Powder Mage Trilogy”. It is McClellan’s third book and he has written several short stories to go along with the series as well. If you have not read the other two books in the series I highly recommend you start with the first book of the series, “Promise of Blood”. You will not regret the investment. Read them yet? Good.

At the end of “The Crimson Campaign” Tamas has brought the remains of his sneak attack back into Adro, a country that thinks he is dead. Taniel is hiding in the hills near where the forces of Kez and Adro are facing off to keep his own army from shooting him. And Adamat, along with Bo and Nila are traveling to the front to arrest a General while still looking for Adamat’s son. Adopest is occupied by the Brunanian Army while elections are being held, turning Adro from a monarchy to a republic.

This book further develops the character of Nila who is coming to grips with the fact she is a Privileged with strong magical powers. A big step up from the laundress and involuntary spy she had been.

The character interaction was witty and believable. The characters have grown throughout the series and this book is no exception. The plot twists and turns enough to make your head spin. I felt he did a very good job handling the cavalry attacks in the fog. And the arrogance of the Privileged is enough to make you wonder why any country would put up with them.

That being said, it is not without its flaws. I do not recommend you start the series with this book. The book is excellent but references to what has happened before are lacking. Read the WHOLE series. The conclusion of what happens with Adamat’s son could have been better fleshed out. It seemed the author was simply tying off a loose end. And the conclusion of the book leaves me thinking a certain character’s companion might want to examine how good their friend is at commitments.

Other quibbles are stuff that wouldn’t add or detract from the story but this reader would really like to know. Are those rifles flintlocks or caplocks? Do the armies fight in formation like Napoleonics or are they closer to late American Civil War tactics? None of this matters because the story is about the characters, not the armies or firearms. Much of the description of the battles happens from civilian points of view. And, more often than not, when firearms are used near a point-of-view character they are fired by powder mages who generate their own spark to ignite the powder making the caplock or flintlock argument irrelevant.

Over all, I highly recommend this whole series. But start with “Promise of Blood”. Read the short stories as well as they flesh out many of the characters (and it’s the only chance you’ll have to meet Erika, Tamas’ wife).

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About James Schardt

A retired Army Aviation Mechanic and former Non-Destructive Testing Technician, James Schardt is currently a college student studying Mechanical Engineering. He has been known to contribute book reviews and articles to the Otherwhere Gazette.

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