The realm of Alera has been at peace for centuries having
pushed the barbarian hordes back behind the borders into
lands that the realm does not claim. Yet for its entire
serene surface, civil war appears imminent unless one of
the high lords manages to become First Lord by ousting the
aging and heirless Gaius Sextus from power. So far the
First Lord refuses to name his replacement.
Amara is unprepared when her mentor Fidelias asks her help
in overthrowing the First Lord. When she refuses to abet
his quest, he tries to torture her into giving him the
response he needs in order to make an assassination
attempt. The student uses magic to learn what is going on
and escape. Next, First Lord sends Amara to Calderon Valley
on the outskirts of the realm where she learns Fidelias
meets with his mercenaries and the Marat the barbarians who
killed the First Lord's son. They overrun the valley to
persuade people that the empire is crumbling and new
leadership is needed to save Alera.
In Alera almost everyone has at least one elemental spirit
to aid them in their daily lives especially in times of
danger. The few without an elemental are considered freaks.
In that environs Jim Butcher has created an epic fantasy
reminiscent of Tolkien and Brooks yet has an originality of
its own. Book one of Codex Alera is an enchanting and
riveting work due to the ordinary people (mundane in this
realm) fighting to do the right thing; ironically the
villain believes he is doing the right thing too. Mr.
Butcher provides a deep saga filled with a deep cast in
which ordinary citizens must save the realm.
Reviewed by Harriet Klausner
Posted September 10, 2004
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted January 25, 2007