The Thousand Names
The Shadow Campaigns - Book #1
by Django Wexler
I've been reading a lot of swords-and-sorcery style fantasy lately. You know, the kinds with orcs and goblins and such. Or maybe more King Arthur-style, with political intrigue and murder and so on, but even then, it was mostly swords and magic. I decided to mix things up with a book called "The Thousand Names" by Django Wexler that introduced a rare element in contemporary fantasy: gunpowder.
The story focuses around a military campaign in the deserts of Khandahar and follows the adventures of Marcus, a military veteran, and Winter Ihernglass, a young girl disguised as a man so she can serve in the military. An eccentric and enigmatic man, Janus Vhalnich, shows up and takes them -- and the rest of the army! -- on an adventure to recover The Thousand Names, a magical relic of deep importance to Janus, and to the world.
This book has everything: war, sex, gender politics, pride. You name it. There's some good commentary on the nature of good vs evil, and the world is imminently believable. My favorite character thus far is Winter, and I found myself on the edge of my seat whenever her scenes came up. Two thumbs up.