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“Against the might of a vast empire Hanuvar had only a dwindling supply of funds, an aging sword arm, and me.”

The City of Marble and Blood

The City of Marble and Blood is manna from heaven for sword and sorcery fans. This second volume in the Chronicles of Hanuvar series by Howard Andrew Jones delivers everything I loved from the first book, Lord of a Shattered Land, while raising the stakes and deepening the emotional connection with our hero.

The Chronicles of Hanuvar is inspired by the Punic Wars, which were fought between Rome and Carthage during 264-146 BC. The protagonist of the series, Hanuvar, is a fictionalized version of Hannibal, the famed general and statesman from the North African empire of Carthage who led the campaign against Rome during the Second Punic War. However, the ensuing Third Punic War ended in complete defeat for Carthage, which found itself utterly destroyed by Rome. While most of the Carthaginians were slaughtered, the remaining survivors were enslaved by the Romans. In the Chronicles of Hanuvar, the Dervan Empire fills the role of Rome, while Hanuvar’s homeland of Volanus represents Carthage.

The City of Marble and Blood adopts the same episodic format as Lord of a Shattered Land, with fourteen chapters that act as interconnected short stories. Each chapter tells a standalone tale that can be enjoyed on its own, but the real brilliance of the series is how the chapters work together to build the overarching story of Hanuvar’s struggle against the Dervan Empire. The City of Marble and Blood also includes a short fifteenth chapter that serves as more of an epilogue for the book while also leaving the reader on the edge of their seat to find out what happens next in the series.

The connections among the stories are even stronger in The City of Marble and Blood compared to Lord of a Shattered Land. Hanuvar is now behind enemy lines, navigating a complex web of high-stakes politics as he tries to free his enslaved people from within the Dervan Empire itself. The City of Marble and Blood begins on a high note and somehow only builds in intensity until reaching its climax in the epic fourteenth chapter.

The City of Marble and Blood also has a more intimate feel compared to Lord of a Shattered Land as we learn more about Hanuvar’s personal life and relationships. There are many touching moments between Hanuvar and his travel companion, Antires Sosilos, who chronicles our hero’s adventures. The City of Marble and Blood strikes the perfect balance between big-picture action and its personal impact on both Hanuvar and the side characters in the book.

The Chronicles of Hanuvar is an instant classic. The City of Marble and Blood will appeal to both seasoned fans of sword and sorcery and those new to the genre. The third book of the series, Shadow of the Smoking Mountain, will be released later this year.

5/5

 

The City of Marble and Blood

The City of Marble and Blood

The City of Marble and Blood

The City of Marble and Blood

The City of Marble and Blood

The City of Marble and Blood

The City of Marble and Blood

The City of Marble and Blood

John Mauro

John Mauro lives in a world of glass amongst the hills of central Pennsylvania. When not indulging in his passion for literature or enjoying time with family, John is training the next generation of materials scientists at Penn State University, where he teaches glass science and materials kinetics. John also loves cooking international cuisine and kayaking the beautiful Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.

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