An epic new fantasy of passion, power, and enchantment--
From a master of contemporary fantasy comes an unforgettable tale of heroes, heroines, and rogues whose two rival nations are scarred by suspicion, shadowed by war, and summoned to destiny by a magic that is both gift and curse.
In the icy northern realm of Eron, three young artisans bound by an unspeakable act of violence arrive at an isolated gem mine on a special commission for their king. They are the arrogant but talented Eddyn; Avall, his archrival; and beautiful Strynn, newly wed to Avall, but carrying Eddyn's child.
Meanwhile, to the south, amid Ixti's scorpion-riddled sands and sensuous cities, a horrible accident has forced Prince Kraxxi into exile with blood on his hands and a price on his head.
The four will be drawn together--and torn apart--by a magnificent find: a gem with magical properties beyond anyone's imagining or control. It is a struggle in which hidden forces pursue a frighteningly sinister agenda. For whoever possesses the gem holds the future of the world...and the power to destroy it.
Sex and plagues, magic and swordplay, conspiracies and prophecies, even royal fratricide--Tom Deitz knows the ingredients of good fantasy. But despite obvious skill and a dedicated cadre of fans, Deitz continues to be one of the genre's underappreciated, underrated authors. That may end with the first installment of his new Angen Chronicles, Bloodwinter.
This first book introduces us to rival nations Eron and Ixti. Eron's mountain-dwelling, Nordic society is tightly ordered and places great importance on craftsmanship and ritual. To the deserts of the south, the more chaotic and combative Ixti is grasshopper to Eron's ant, always coveting the resources of its neighbor. Bloodwinter concerns the fate of five young people, four from Eron, one from Ixti: the beautiful Strynn and the reserved Avall are newly married, but Strynn carries the child of Avall's villainous rival, Eddyn. These three master artisans work together through the winter on regalia for their king, but Avall stumbles upon a powerful gem that feeds on blood and allows its users to meld their minds. Meanwhile, Merryn, Avall's sister and Strynn's closest friend, serves out the winter in Eron's War-Hold, after shaming Eddyn in a ritual duel. She ends up in bed with the significant Ixtian in the story, self-exiled Prince Kraxxi, who has accidentally killed his father's favorite son. Bloodwinter is solid, if long in parts, but it ends abruptly. Hopefully the next installment will better address the most consistent complaint about Deitz, leveled by fans and critics alike: pacing. --Paul Hughes