The Concord Empire strikes back

Written by
Aidan Harte in 2013

Ah, the middle child in a trilogy, the one that has the good guys struggling to claw their way back into a winning position. The middle entry also slowly reveals exactly what is going on, develops the threat and the characters and perhaps ties all those things together in time for the third.

Warring States continues on from Irenicon. It has been a year since the defeat of the Twelth Legion of Concord outside the fortifications of Rasenna. The town is newly united, but politics and divisions are not so easily swept aside. The internal power struggles between the old powers and the new, cast a new schism throughout the city.

Meanwhile, war is imminent. Concord continues to lick its wounds, the last Apprentice is preparing and rebuilding his city and forming plans with his friend, collaborator and general, Leto, to break the back of the rebellion Rasenna started. Throughout all of this, Sofia Scaligeri realises the danger she is in, and leaves her home town, ostensibly to build an alliance to weather the coming Concord attack, but also to hide her immaculate pregnancy. Whether she ever sees Rasenna again is not clear.

Any book written during the medieval times and set in Italy is likely to feature some pretty heavy Christian symbolism, and this trilogy does not disappoint. Yes, the alternate history nature of the book means that Rome never became the empire it was, and Christianity never became the dominant European religion. Certainly, many aspects of Christianity have changed in this book to reflect the differences.

On top of the religious undertones, the book is another that talks about the struggles between good and evil. An ephemeral evil is lurking, somewhere out there, waiting to strike and Warring States reveals that the time is drawing ever closer, with only one potential saviour: Sofia’s unborn son.

Warring States, like Irenicon is a very enjoyable read. The action is fast paced, the politics interesting and this book actually explores the further corners of the world Harte has built, travelling to locations all around the Mediterranean. We even see the development of Torbidda, from the boy full of potential become the final Apprentice, straddling that divide between prophesy, leadership and reason.

Rating

Good middle entry that sets up the expected final conflict.

Read this if you…

Thought Irenicon was good and want to find out more about the world.

Don’t read this if you…

Don’t like deserts…

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