Name: Shiang (Empire of Salt #2)
Author: C. F. Iggulden
Number of Pages: 368 (Hardback)
Published: September 6th 2018 by Michael Joseph
IF THESE STONES COULD SPEAK . . . THEY WOULD CALL FOR WAR.
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.
TWO ANCIENT CITIES. ONE FINAL WAR.
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.