The Age of Death by Michael J. Sullivan, 2020 hardcover, fantasy. Book 5 of six in the Legends of the First Empire series.
I first learned of these books while reading the Black Gate blog. At that time it was projected to be a trilogy, and since it was mostly complete, I got the first two books, read them, and really enjoyed them. Then, before the third book came out it was announced that in order to do justice to the story, the series would stretch to six books.
In for a penny, in for a pound, as the saying goes, so I’ve kept reading, and enjoying. Make that really, really enjoying. Now we’re coming to the end of the story, with just the last book coming in May.
So, this book:
Winter blankets the land, and more than just hope has died. Prevented from invading the Fhrey homeland by the tower of Avempartha, the western army seeks a way across the Nidwalden River before the fane obtains the secret of dragons. As time runs out for both humanity and the mystic Suri, the only chance for the living rests with the dead. Having made their fateful choice, can a handful of misfits do the impossible, or are they forever lost to an inescapable grave? Do gods truly exist? Is it possible to know the future? And what lies beyond the veil of death?
That intrepid group has been told there is a way, with a special key, to pass through the underworlds and emerge alive and well and emerge in the capitol of the Fhrey (elves) to bring about the end of the wars between Men, Elves, Giants, and Dwarves.
This is all the lead-up to the series Sullivan wrote several years ago, a giant prequel, if you will, which I haven’t read. I’m enjoying these books enough, more than enough, to go on with that series after I finish the last one here. This is very good fantasy, well written, with strong characters, good plot, very good world building. If you like fantasy, this is for you.
As an additional note, the first three books were on my favorite books of the year list for 2018.