The Fell Sword is the second book in Miles Cameron’s Traitor Son Cycle. The Fell Sword shows that Cameron’s considerable flair for combat and the minutia of medieval war are paired with a grasp on fantasy at a grand scale. The Fell Sword opens with the Red Knight’s mercenary company, fresh off its costly victory in the first book, traveling to “the Empire” for a contract for the Emperor. (The Empire resembles the Holy Roman Empire at first blush but is probably a better analogue to the Byzantine Empire.) Things go sideways before they start, however, when the Emperor is kidnapped shortly before the company arrives. Meanwhile Thorn weaves new plots, the Wild roils, the Galles (French analogue) scheme, and the north of Albin recovers.
Of course, more battles, although they don’t live up to those of the first book. Neither the fell sword, nor the princess, plays a prominent role, but that’s ok. Once again, POVs are shared by host of characters, both new and old. Almost twenty different characters grace the chapter headings alone. Locations include familiar ones like Harndon, Albinkirk, and the Wild, as well as new ones such as Liviapolis (capital of the Empire), the capital of Galle, and Ticondaga (the seat of the Red Knight’s father). Book 2 is a story of men, but that doesn’t stop of from exploring the Wild far to the west and to the north. We see the dams of giant beavers, the source of the famous Wild honey, an irk king, giants, and much more of the Native American-esque Sossag (as well as the Huron tribes).
We also learn more about the mysterious force behind the events of the first book. From that I can think we can draw a broad sketch of where the story is pointed for the final three books. Along those lines, we learn that some characters who seemed relevant only for color in The Red Knight are now shown, or hinted, to hold more important roles in the story. Unfortunately, there are several plots which are neither brought to any sort of climax nor given reasonable signals as to where they might go. I’m sure they’re important, but it detracts from the book nonetheless and is the main factor in the lower rating than for The Red Knight.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary e-copy of The Fell Sword through NetGalley.