Book Review: Shiang (Empire of Salt #2) by C. F. Iggulden

Name:  Shiang (Empire of Salt #2)
C. F. Iggulden
Number of Pages:
368 (Hardback)
September 6th 2018 by Michael Joseph
Genre:  Fantasy


In Shiang, the young king rules without dissent. Mazer swordsmen stand watch on every corner, looking for the first sign of rebellion. This city is a place of quiet and slow dignity, like a man eating rice with a razor pressed against his throat.
Yet with one sharp movement, order is overturned. The balance of centuries is undone in the sudden spill of blood – and in the darkness, something terrible returns to Shiang.
Far to the west, four Shiang masters approach the city walls of Darien. The sword saint and his companions have crossed a continent to bring an old man home for punishment. They will not be denied, even if the whole city stands in their way.

My Rating:

My Thoughts:

Following on from Darien, Shiang continues the story of the Empire of Salt. The story begins in a new city, Shiang, far removed from Darien and the characters we came to know first time around.

Shiang introduces us to new main characters; a group of swordsmen sent by the king to bring home his uncle who has been located in none other than Darien, and another group who also set out on the long road to Darien.
Both these groups are interesting, from Masters Hondo, Bosin, and twins Hi and Je, the Mazer swordsmen tasked with escorting the king’s uncle back to Shiang, to the dangerous group who, via the power of one of the magical stones, manage to return from a grey land and occupy other bodies. Gabriel becomes the leader of this group when he realises just how much power he has and decides he wants to take first Shiang and later Darien.

All roads eventually lead to Darien where some of the characters from the first book make an appearance, most notably Tellius and Lady Sallet. Vic Deeds makes a brief appearance too.

Once the two groups completed their perilous journey and reached Darien I thought the pace really picked up and I found it difficult to put the book down, especially as the families of Darien unite and bring their magical artefacts out to defend the city against the threat of these powerful soldier-mages determined to take control of the city. The magic and the stones and their various powers made it exciting reading, especially when pitted against enemies who wield great power drawn from another stone.

The final book in the trilogy, The Sword Saint, had just been published by the time I picked up Shiang, and so I’m continuing the adventure of the Empire of Salt, to see what lies ahead for Darien and these characters I’ve followed for two books.


Readers Imbibing Peril XIV – #RIPXIV

The days are growing cooler and the nights are beginning to draw in, which can mean only one thing – Autumn is on its way! I love this time of year, so what better way to mark the changing seasons than by participating in a suitably eerie Readathon? Two whole months of reading to enjoy. Want to know more about RIPXIV? Here you go…

Welcome to the FOURTEENTH year of Readers Imbibing Peril, or RIP, as it is affectionately called. The challenge runs from 1st September to 31st October. You can find full info by visiting the Readers Imbibing Peril blog.

The purpose of the R.I.P. Challenge is to enjoy books that could be classified as:

Dark Fantasy

The goals are simple.

1. Have fun reading.
2. Share that fun with others.

Multiple perils await you. You can participate in just one, or participate in them all. Check out the Readers Imbibing Peril  blog and pick your particular peril.

As a starting point I’ll aim for…

Peril the Second:

Read two books of any length that you believe fit within the challenge categories.

Peril on the Screen:

This is for those of us who like to watch suitably scary, eerie, mysterious gothic fare during this time of year. It may be something on the small screen or large. It might be a television show, like Dark Shadows, or your favorite film.

Hopefully by the end of the event I’ll have managed…

Peril the First:

Read four books, any length, that you feel fit (our very broad definitions) of R.I.P. literature. It could be Stephen King or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Shirley Jackson or Tananarive Due…or anyone in between.

A Potential TBR List

I don’t have a definite reading/viewing plan at the moment, but glancing through my TBR pile/list, a few books have caught my attention, so I may read a selection from the following:

Halloween Party by Agatha Christie
Bone China by Laura Purcell
The Institute by Stephen King
Melmoth by Sarah Perry
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
NOS4R2 by Joe Hill
Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J. D. Barker
Something by Shirley Jackson
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
The Feed by Nick Clark Windo
While You Sleep by Stephanie Merritt


I’m really looking forward to one of my favourite reading events during my favourite season. Are you tempted to join in with #RIPXIV?

Booking Ahead: September 2019

Booking Ahead is an opportunity to glance through my never-ending TBR list/pile and select a few potential reads for the coming month. If I’m not reading books I love talking about books I’d like to read, so this post is a perfect excuse to do just that.

It’s time to take a glance at the TBR pile and select some reads for the coming month. Readers Imbibing Peril (#RIPXIV) begins in September and runs through to the end of October, so I’ll be selecting at least some potential reads for the reading challenge.

Here’s a selection of what I’m hoping to read over the next month…

New Books

The Sword Saint by C. F. Iggulden – This is the final instalment in the Empire of Salt trilogy. Last month I finally picked up Shiang and I’d like to carry on with the story and see how it all ends.

The Institute by Stephen King – What better than a brand new Stephen King novel for a reading challenge choice?

Bone China by Laura Purcell – I’m really looking forward to this one having enjoyed both of Laura Purcell’s other books.

Books from the Backlist

A couple of suitably themed reads to hopefully count towards the reading challenge…

Dracul by Dacre Stoker and J. D. Barker

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

What are you hoping to read this month? Have you read of my picks, and if so what did you think?
See you again next month for another Booking Ahead.

Monthly Summary: August 2019

Welcome back to another Monthly Summary here on Pages and Tea.

This month I ventured into a humorous build up to the apocalypse in the company of Crowley and Aziraphale, a demon and an angel, in Good Omens. I enjoyed the read and it’s certainly left me thinking I might like to check out other books by both of these authors.
The Escape Room provided a fast-paced thriller in a tale of deception and revenge featuring a group of colleagues whose past started to catch up with them.

There’s also been another edition of the Bout of Books read-a-thon, which I always enjoy participating in. I like the daily updating of the blog, and seeing what other people are reading during the week.

Here’s an update of recent happenings on Pages and Tea…

Book Reviews


Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

Featured Posts

Booking Ahead

August 2019

Reading Review

Reading Resolutions 2019

August Progress

Beat the Backlist Challenge Progress

Read-A-Thon Updates

Bout of Books August 2019 Sign Up
Bout of Books August 2019 Progress
Bout of Book Final Summary


Bout of Books Read-A-Thon

Reading Review: August 2019

Welcome to my Monthly Reading Review.
This post is my attempt to keep track of how I’m doing with my reading challenges and resolutions.



Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

Total Library Books Read This Month: 2
Total Own Books Read This Month: 0
Overall Total Books Read This Month: 2

Total Library Books Read 2019: 18
Total Own Books Read 2019: 3
Overall Total Books Read 2019: 21


Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. It was such a different read, and has led to me wanting to read more by both these authors.


My total for this challenge is currently 8 books read. I’ve really fallen behind on this challenge at the moment, but I’d like to try and add at least a few more to this total. So far I’ve read:

The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding (Poirot #35) by Agatha Christie
The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths
The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas
The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden
Taken at the Flood (Poirot #28) by Agatha Christie
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Poirot #4) by Agatha Christie
The Woman in the Woods by John Connolly
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

This year I’m having a go a something a little different – Beat the Backlist Bingo. I have no idea how many of these boxes I’ll manage to tick but it’s a little extra to add to my challenge.


Book with under 1000 Ratings on GoodReads – 830 for The Stranger Diaries at time of Completion.

Part of a trilogy – The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

New-to-me Author – Kate Mascarenhas with The Psychology of Time Travel

Cover with your Favourite Colour – Taken at the Flood (Poirot #28) by Agatha Christie

Title is a Name – In this case, the title contains the name – The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Poirot #4) by Agatha Christie

Over 400 pages – The Woman in the Woods by John Connolly is 496 pages

Book to movie/show – Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman


So far this year I’ve read 21 books. I met my Goodreads challenge target of 20 books!


  • Added to my Backlist challenge.
  • Discovered a new-to-me author this month in Terry Pratchett. I’d like to read more of his novels but am undecided as to whether I should start at the beginning and go in order, or whether I can pick at random and go for a story that appeals.
  • Participated in the Bout of Books read-a-thon.

So concludes August’s Reading Review. See you again next month.

Bout of Books 26 (August 2019) – Final Summary

Another edition of Bout of Books has ended. Doesn’t the read-a-thon week just fly by?

I had a decent day of reading, and managed another 50 pages in total, which brings my total to…

Number of pages I’ve read today:  50

Total number of pages I’ve read:  290

I set some goals for the read-a-thon (Original goals posted HERE).

I managed to finish one book, and read another too.
I enjoyed being around on my blog (almost) daily.

Thank you to everyone who visited my blog during Bout of Books. I hope everyone had a great week of reading.

The Week’s Progress Revisited…

Continue reading

Bout of Books 26 (August 2019) Goals and Daily Progress Updates

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 19th and runs through Sunday, August 25th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, Twitter chats, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 26 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

It’s time for a week of read-a-thon-ing! I’m looking forward to the latest Bout of Books as I’ve hopefully chosen some good books and I enjoy the daily reading updates on my blog.

As always I’ll be using this blog for updates during the read-a-thon.

Time Devoted to Reading

Hopefully at least half an hour each day, but ideally more…

My Goals

  • To finish one book and start another.
  • To keep track of my reading progress via daily updates
  • To visit other blogs and comment regularly

Books to Read

  • Shiang by C. F. Iggulden
  • The Sword Saint by C. F. Iggulden
  • A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay



It’s Bout of Books time! Hopefully I’ll manage to make a good start so there’ll be something to mention in the way of progress tomorrow.

Tuesday (Monday’s Progress)

So, how was your first day of the read-a-thon?
I started Shiang and managed to read the first 50 pages. It’s a while since I read the first book in the series, Darien, but so far I’m really enjoying this one. I can’t believe it took so long for me to pick this up, and I already have the following book, The Sword Saint, just waiting for my reading attention.

Number of pages I’ve read today:  50
Total number of pages I’ve read:  50

Wednesday (Tuesday’s progress)

More progress on Shiang. I’m enjoying this book so far. If I do manage to finish it during this Bout of Books I’ll probably move straight on to the next in the series.

Number of pages I’ve read today:  65
Total number of pages I’ve read:  115

Thursday (Wednesday’s progress)

No reading progress to report today.

Number of pages I’ve read today:  0
Total number of pages I’ve read:  115

Friday (Thursday’s progress)

After a day of no reading I made better progress. I’ve finished A Head Full of Ghosts. I’ll probably post more on this book once Bout of Books is over.
For now, it’s back to reading Shiang.

Number of pages I’ve read today:  75
Total number of pages I’ve read:  190

Saturday (Friday’s progress)

Another day with no reading. Not good.

Number of pages I’ve read today:  0
Total number of pages I’ve read:  190

Sunday (Saturday’s progress)

Another 50 pages read. Not sure whether I’ll finish my latest read before the read-a-thon ends but I’ll have a go.

Number of pages I’ve read today:  50
Total number of pages I’ve read:  240

Monday (Sunday’s progress and final thoughts)

Final Summary posted HERE.