I have recently finished reading the first volume in the heroic fantasy series “Empire of Salt” by C.F. Iggulden. “Darien” and thought to review it.
Conn Igullden (billed as C.F. Iggulden for this series) is best known as a writer of Historical fiction who is well known for his novels “The Falcon of Sparta”, a reworking of Xenophon and his “Gates of Rome series”
Accomplished in his traditional field I thought it inevitable that he would one day transition into the fantasy medium but he has remained stolidly true to Historical or Heroic fiction until this time. Mr Iggulden’s historical fiction is always worth a read. I have enjoyed his tales since his very first published book, which I picked up randomly looking for a good read, awaiting a flight to Canada. Yet you could always tell that he was straining at the leash. There were shades of David Gemmell and many other heroic fiction and fantasy writers, seen in short glimpses, here and there in his works even when he remained true to his favoured genre.
In “Darien” the first book in what is to become “The Empire of Salt” series he makes the leap. To be honest it is a short leap but he makes it and lands well with a great heroic fantasy novel peopled with full, ordinary and complex, characters, easily understandable and likable
You may ask a few questions like;
Is it really that good?
My answer; I ordered the second book in the series before I completed the first.
Name other writers similar; David Gemmell, Joe Abercrombie, Robert E Howard (Valhalla not Conan) Raymond E Fiest, George R R Martin and many others.
In short a great start to a credible fantasy series from a capable writer who is always worth a read. I would recommend it.