When there is something you can't or won't do yourself, you get a bastard to do it for you. They are thieves, cheats, and murderers, loyal to nothing but the coin. Everyone knows that.
Yet in war, payment in blood is more likely than payment in coin.
Staegrim knows coins better than he knows people, and he isn't giving his life away for free. Not to the rebels, not for the lords, and not for all of the bloody coins in Rengas.
But then... Everyone has a price.
Jackson's deft hand paints the strokes of this action-packed battle novella in blood and graveyard humour.
The Battle That Was Lost
The world of Rengas is tearing, but it's the people below who will suffer — the wars of the Forbringrs care not for the misgivings of the beings below.
Kyira, a Nordun Pathwatcher, returns from a fight on the ice but her father and brother are missing. As she searches frantically to reunite her family she is drawn into a war between the humans and the Bohr, leaving the cold familiar lines of her frozen home to venture the narrow, winding streets of Tyr, where games are played and battles fought. The stories of Kyira, Fia (a companion like Inara in Firefly), Jagar (a deadly assassin), Captain Laeb (the foreign tactician who against all the odds keeps besting the Bohr in combat), and even the Forbringr herself converge in an explosive ending.
One of my favorite reads of the year and a book that had me under its spell whenever I picked it up
The Path And The Way
Kyira is a Pathwatcher and the main character. She is bold, pragmatic and fierce. Being of Sami origin she wants do what is right for her family, but does not tolerate games. Her raeven Vlada — a large hawk with bat-like wings and leathery scales — helps her hunt and protect the paths of Nord as she travels within the stark lines of the north.
Fia is one of the Kumpani — revered, beautiful, and respected. But Fia is no ordinary Kumpani. She is a spy for the Tsiorc. Slight but strong, she favours a hak tied at the waist (think Japanese kimono) and uses her intelligence and beauty to gain intel for the rebels alongside fellow spy Janike.
Jagar's god-complex is well-earned—he is a Banèman. Banèmen are bred until the exceptional qualities of the Bohr become focused into tools that can be weilded like blades. Strength, telepathy and elemental magicks come together to make the Banèmen efficient warriors and ruthless killers. He is not to be crossed.
The Foreign Tactician
Drawn into the rebellion after the death of his best friend's wives, as a Sulitarian Laeb took to the role of captain easily. The fight against the Bohr seemed simple enough for his tactical mind, but the Bohr were as cunning as they are ruthless, and he is pushed to the brink of his skills to keep the rebellion alive. The rebellion must continue. May you always fight.