Book Review: In Thunder Forged

In Thunder Forged – Ari Marmell  (Pyr Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2013)

In-Thunder-ForgedImagine a world of fearsome battles worthy of a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, called WARMACHINE. Imagine a story of political intrigue worthy of The Three Musketeers. Imagine a spy adventure worthy of James Bond.

Now imagine all three combined into a new series. Add a dash of steam, and you have Book One of the Iron Kingdom Chronicles, written by Ari Marmell.

In Thunder Forged: The Fall of Llael, Book One tells the story  through several viewpoints – army commanders, espionage agents, mechanics dedicated to steam-powered “warjacks,” alchemists, and more – involved in the battle of Cygnar versus Khador. The book is filled with battle strategies, doublecrosses, and a surprising amount of humor, as we get to know the characters and the empires for which they fight. There’s also a refreshingly high number of central female characters – in the Iron Kingdoms, it seems, gender is a nonissue.

In Thunder Forged was the first of a planned trilogy by Marmell, but the second installment has been postponed and may be far off in the future, or continued by a different author. Fortunately, Book One stands on its own as a self-contained story, and the role-playing game goes on with no end in sight to the battles and the intrigue!


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