The Mahaelian Kingdom of Avidar, ruled by her mind-dominating and omnipresent king, emerged victor from a war five hundred years ago against the pale, inhuman, magic-Singing Elvayn. Since the war, Mahaelian Silencers have kept the slave class of Elvayn in check by muting each Elvayn child at birth; now the king works on his Far Continent Project, aiming to relocate the Elvayn to a land far from the Kingdom.
Or so he says. But after Blade Knight High General Brice Serholm witnesses dozens of his men swallowed into a hole in the air summoned by a primitive shaman, and the king’s First Advisor Del’Ahrid receives a mysterious nighttime messenger, signs begin to appear that the king and his schemes are not all that he says.
In his debut heroic fantasy novel, Betrayal’s Shadow, Dave de Burgh gives us a complicated world tangled in ancient wars, dark sorcery, simmering racial tensions, magical subterfuge, oppressive religious hierarchy, politics so brutal they verge on totalitarian, ambivalent and terrifying monarchs, and epic Volkswanderung, packaged with all the élan of a Robert E. Howard novel about crusaders. If you liked The Malazan Book of the Fallen, check this one out.
(Updated December 3, 2015, with the new cover. Congrats, Dave!)