Among Wolves and Grim Tidings by Nancy K. Wallace - Unabashedly Fantastic!
Among Wolves and Grim Tidings are books one and two of epic fantasy series, The Wolves of Llisé by Nancy K. Wallace.
I was very impressed last year when I read Among Wolves. It is exactly the type of epic fantasy I love best – great world building, engaging characters and a plot that draws you in. The much-anticipated sequel, Grim Tidings, was released in August.I was happy to find it the equal to the first book of the series. Sometimes middle books sag on their way to the finale, but this book kept up the tension,
The Story: Sheltered collegiate student Devin Roché studies to become a historical archivist in the central city of Llisé. His father is Chancellor Elite and Devin is his youngest son. Devin has decided for his third-year he wants to travel the provinces, learning the Bardic Chronicles. The stories of the Chronicles in each Province are passed down orally - indeed, it is forbidden for them to written down. Devin wants to learn every Chronicle in one year with the help of his friend Gaspard Forneaux. Gaspard is a noble dilettante, more interested in gambling and drinking then study and work and son to Devin's father's harshest critic on counsel. Devin’s father is against his trip, not wanting Devin’s status as Chancellor’s son to give the stories of the Chronicles an importance the capital city wants to minimize. Devin is permitted to go when he agrees to be his father’s eyes and ears in the provinces, reporting back problems he sees in the outlying territories.
Devin finds himself followed by spies as he connects with the Ombria province master bard Armand Vielle. Gaspard gets entangled with the local noble Jean Chastel, while Devin woos Armand’s daughter and learns the chronicles. Danger follows them and locals are murdered after being mistaken for the Devin and Gaspard. Devin has to decide who he can trust as even Marcus, the bodyguard assigned to him by his father, falls under suspicion.
In Grim Tidings the stakes grow higher as entire villages disappear and assassins follow Devin and his crew. I won’t go into details which might spoil the plot of the first, as well as the second, books. I felt that Wallace did an excellent job on not just the main characters, but the secondary characters – giving each a fullness and richness. I felt the first book was lacking in good female characters and was very happy with the addition of two good women in this sequel. The pace and intensity of this book was just a as intense as the first novel. Be warned – Grim Tidings ends on a cliff hanger! I will be hanging on the edge of my seat until book 3 releases.
I would rate this series Unabashedly Fantastic. Excellent worldbuilding, complex political maneuvering, well-rounded characters, combined with fantastical elements make this epic fantasy a satisfying read.
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