“An investigator is always at war”
The King’s Crucible, is a magistrate who is best known for his astute paranormal investigations, legendary sword fighting, and witty and sometimes contentious banter. He is also a charming individual, when the occasion calls for it.
Shrouded in secrecy and rumor, a monk uprising erupts on an isolated island nestled beside the brooding Isola Sombra sea. Enter Estevar Borros, The King’s Crucible. Tasked with unraveling the mystery behind the rebellion, he soon discovers the island harbors secrets far deeper than its famed agriculture and renowned wine. Whispers speak of a legacy far older, claiming it as the very birthplace of the gods themselves.
Along for the ride is Estevar’s loyal companion, Imperious, a mule with a mind sharper than a freshly honed blade. Imperious serves as the perfect animal companion, reminding him to keep his ego in check and his wits about him.
The story unfolds over a tumultuous few days, with you experiencing the world through the lens of Estevar’s keen intellect and unwavering determination. While he wrestles with a slow-healing wound, and confronts delusional monks and terrifying demons.
“A mad fool! What will be left of you once the monsters prowling that cursed abbey have peeled away the last layers of your arrogance from your flesh?”
While Estevar is the main protagonist, he is joined by the presence of Caeda, a character who quickly became my favorite. Like Imperious, she possesses a sharp wit and a knack for keeping Estevar grounded. Yet, she also possesses a grace and eagerness to learn from him.
Whenever Estevar acknowledges her improvement in investigative skills, I can almost see the radiant smile forming on her face, a testament to her pure joy and dedication. However, to preserve the thrill of discovery and avoid spoilers, I won’t elaborate further on her role in the story.
Though initially surprised by the book’s slower pace, woven with philosophical discussions among its characters, it never felt tedious or drawn out. Instead, the author’s prose, both beautiful and captivating, kept me enthralled throughout. Even during moments of relative calm, I found myself equally invested as when the action unfolded, captivated by the depth of thought and the characters’ intellectual pursuits.
While I enjoyed the story, I did find one aspect somewhat jarring: the frequent references to Estevar’s weight. de Castell’s seemingly persistent focus on this aspect felt unnecessary and, at times, even detracted from the overall narrative.
In a nutshell the Crucible of Chaos is a murder mystery set in Sebastien de Castell world of the Greatcoats. This dark fantasy tale takes you on a journey of truth-seeking, filled with witty remarks, magic, action sequences, and even a touch of drama.
Overall, this was my first time reading anything by de Castell, and I’m eager to delve deeper into the world of the Greatcoats. If you’re a fan of Richard Swan’s Empire of the Wolf series, I would highly recommend giving this one a try. I believe fans will appreciate the similarities in writing style.
Disclaimer: ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest and fair review