Julianna is a Duchess in her own right, an orphan raised by her aunt and uncle, a marriageable young lady, and the child of fate. Gods and goddesses watch her path, some protecting her and some seeking her destruction, and one — Grandfather Shadow, the forbidden ancestral god of her people — choosing her as his high priestess and liberator.
I’m a sucker for blackpowder (or “flintlock”) fantasy, and First Chosen is a fun one. It’s also a dark fantasy, about the coming of the promised redeemer for worshippers of Shadow, where the forces of both Sun and Night are oppressors. This is the beginning of a (nearly completed) epic series, Tears of Rage.
M. Todd Gallowglas is an oral storyteller by day and a latter-day wandering minstrel, appearing at multiple renaissance faires, comic cons, and similar events to tell tales. That background shows itself here: First Chosen is brisk and story-focused, driving from one event to the next with a pace that doesn’t flag and populating each scene with vivid characters in high (and sometimes comic) conflict.