GATES OF STONE by Angus Macallan
The mighty Angus Donald turns his hand to fantasy, and makes a quite brilliant job of it.
Set in a fantasical Asia, the plot follows three main threads. Princess Katerina would be quite at home in Game of Thrones, fighting it out with the Mother of Dragons for supremacy in Westeros (and probably last longer than Cerci does in series 8), she is ruthless, a heart of stone, she will let nothing stand in her way.
Jun lives on a luxurious and peaceful island, where he lives comfortably as a prince. His world is turned upside down when his island is attacked, his father murdered. Thrust into a quest he does not seek or desire, his is a tale of coming of age, of realising a destiny he thought perhaps beyond him, finding an inner strength he didn't know he possessed.
Farhan is an adventurer, a conman, deeply in debt and totally out of his depth. He's fun to read, unpredictable and his story line is perhaps the most engaging of the three. Each come with their own supporting casts, who are all very unique and rounded, making for an engaging story.
If I was to give a critique I would say - having taken a week after I finished the book to review - that perhaps the first two parts of the book are a bit wordy. Part three is explosive and gripping, parts one and two provide the build up, but maybe the story builds for a bit too long.
There is plenty of action and intrigue throughout, the world building is intricate and I could really picture the characters surroundings, and that could be why I felt there was such a change of pace in the final part, the world and characters were of course already laid bare by then.
All in all, a really great read, as one would expect from Angus Donald (Macallan)