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In the Shadow of Lightning: Glass Immortals #1    by Brian McClellan order for
In the Shadow of Lightning
by Brian McClellan
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2023 (2022)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I loved Brian McClellan's explosive Powder Mage military fantasy trilogy, so opened this new book with high expectations. I was not disappointed. The lead is outcast glassdancer Demir Grappo, once called the Lightning Prince by his soldiers.

Demir grew up on stories of wartime glory, but rejected the reality in the aftermath of battle he never wanted. After a young Demir accepted the surrender of the mayor of the nearby town that had declared independence from the Ossan Empire, his army received orders (under his personal seal) to sack the city. He was unable to stop it. He resigned and fled.

Nine years later, he's a grifter in Ereptia, making money fixing fights. An old friend finds him, to tell him that his mother, an Assembly reformer, has been murdered. This pulls him out of his self-imposed exile, as he is now head of the Grappo guild family. Word has also been sent to Demir's best friend and adopted brother, world cudgeling champion Baby Montego.

Back home in Ossa, he finds that he badly needs allies, as the odds are stacked against him and his family business. Fortunately his mother has left detailed notes, including about her partnership with renowned sorcerous engineer Kastora. Thessa Foleer works at his factory. When it comes under attack, Kastora sends her to the Grappos with key schematics, but she's captured.

Demir learns that godglass is running out (everything in their civilization depends on it) and that Thessa has schematics for a design to avert the catastrophe. He must find her. At the same time his childhood friend, enforcer Kizzie, investigates his mother's murder, with Montego's help.

The episode ends on a cliffhanger, after a surprising revelation of the puppet masters behind it all. I can't wait for what comes next.

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