cover image Black Wolves

Black Wolves

Kate Elliott. Orbit, $15.99 trade paper (832p) ISBN 978-0-316-36869-8

Elliott opens a trilogy set in the world of her Crossroads books with an uneven epic centered on a dynasty’s internecine power struggles and the questions of correct governance in a conquered country. King Anjihosh wrested the land called the Hundred from the rule of corrupt demons, but his reign could not last forever. The loyal captain of the king’s Black Wolves regiment, Kellas, attempts to protect Anjihosh’s successor, King Atani, from the demons, until everything goes drastically wrong. Decades later, reputation ruined, Kellas is called out of retirement to protect yet another king and must decide where his loyalties lie and whether Anjihosh’s wishes for the well-being of the Hundred still have any chance of being carried out. Elliott blends interesting characters with a well-drawn world and occasional powerful scenes, but the pacing is confusing and the prose is clunky. Long stretches of dullness intrude between shorter moments of the genuinely delightful. Most epics need trimming, but this one could use some extra development to help readers connect with minor characters as they undertake small but plot-necessary actions. [em]Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary. (Nov.) [/em]