Review: THE CRIMSON CAMPAIGN by Brian McClellan (Orbit)

McClellanB-PM2-CrimsonCampaignAn excellent middle book – slightly shaky start, but awesome second half & ending

“The hounds at our heels will soon know we are lions.”

Tamas’s invasion of Kez ends in disaster when a Kez counter-offensive leaves him cut off behind enemy lines with only a fraction of his army, no supplies, and no hope of reinforcements. Drastically outnumbered and pursued by the enemy’s best, he must lead his men on a reckless march through northern Kez to safety, and back over the mountains so that he can defend his country from an angry god.

In Adro, Inspector Adamat only wants to rescue his wife. To do so he must track down and confront the evil Lord Vetas. He has questions for Vetas concerning his enigmatic master, but the answers might come too quickly.

With Tamas and his powder cabal presumed dead, Taniel Two-shot finds himself alongside the god-chef Mihali as the last line of defence against Kresimir’s advancing army. Tamas’s generals bicker among themselves, the brigades lose ground every day beneath the Kez onslaught, and Kresimir wants the head of the man who shot him in the eye.

I really enjoyed McClellan’s debut novel, Promise of Blood, and also the short stories he has released set in the same world. I was, therefore, extremely happy to get my hands on an ARC of The Crimson Campaign. Perhaps as a result of reading the handful of short stories (all of which were expertly crafted), I found this novel a bit slow going to begin with. However, after the story settled in, I blitzed through it, and read it well into the wee hours of the morning, unable to put it down. McClellan, I believe, is going to have a long, successful career. Continue reading

Interview with BRIAN McCLELLAN


Brian McClellan’s debut fantasy, Promise of Blood, has caused quite a splash in the SFF community. It blends fast-paced story-telling with a new and interesting world, and a plethora of interesting and engaging characters. Brian has already featured on Civilian Reader a few of times already. He has written two guest posts – on his favourite novel, and also Protagonist Ages in Epic Fantasy – and I have reviewed the novel already, too. He was kind enough to take some time to answer my questions about his fiction, writing practices, and more… Continue reading

Upcoming: “The Crimson Campaign” by Brian McClellan (Orbit)

Despite the first book in Brian McClellan’s Powder Mage trilogy still a few weeks away (I’ll get a review up ASAP), Orbit have unveiled the artwork for its sequel, THE CRIMSON CAMPAIGN:


I really like this, too. McClellan’s debut series may end up having some of the nicest covers in a long while. Or, since Joe Abercrombie’s and Mark Lawrence’s… The Photo-Illustration is by Michael Frost and Gene Mollica, and the design is by the ever-excellent and super-talented Lauren Panepinto.

No synopsis for the novel is available just yet, but The Crimson Campaign will be published by Orbit in February 2014.

Also on CR: Guest Posts by Brian McClellan “My Favorite Novel” & “Protagonist Ages in Epic Fantasy