Manieri, Evie. Blood’s Pride. Tor. (Blood’s Pride, Bk. 1.) Feb. 2013. 528p. ISBN 9780765332349. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781429959957 FANTASY
Without warning, the warlike Norlanders invaded the lands of the Shadar, enslaving the people and reaping the profits from the black ore mined to make the enchanted swords of the Norlander warriors. Unable to defend themselves against the pale-skinned, undead conquerors, the Shadar nevertheless attempt a rebellion and hire a fierce mercenary known only as The Mongrel, a woman whose body bears the ravages of previous wars and whose temperament is both volatile and, some say, mad. VERDICT Manieri’s debut, the first of a projected epic fantasy series, presents a striking world with civilizations similar to those of the Vikings and the nomadic cultures of the Middle East, and with the Mediterranean sensibilities of the ancient Greeks. Her characters are passionate and memorable, lending a personal touch to a complex tale of clashing cultures and philosophies. Fans of Sharon Shinn, Elspeth Cooper, and Gail Z. Martin should enjoy Manieri’s approach to culture and drama.