Smoke and Stone by Michael R Fletcher
“Humanity brought itself to the brink of utter destruction and the gods built this bastion, took in the few survivors, and sheltered them from the world they’d killed.”
Twenty-five thousand years has passed since the walled city of Bastion was created. The whole of mankind lives within this city of stone for protection against the cataclysmic wasteland beyond. Bastion is built of concentric circles with walls between each ring, and passages between these rings are closely guarded by warrior priests. The farmers make up the outer ring; this is the most populated region but also the most heavily oppressed class of people. Each ring closer to the center has a little more freedom, a little more wealth, and is a little closer to the gods. Class divide could not be more literal than this.
When Bastion was built, there was a war of the gods, and only a few survived within the city walls. These gods ascended to the pantheon of the city, becoming the mainstay religion for all mankind. Priests are dispatched to lead the people into lives of holiness, but not everyone agrees with the how these traditions are upheld.
Drugs are the spark that fuels the inferno of power in this city. The book has its own glossary of hallucinogens and herbs, and whatever equates to a DMT-laced cocktail of psilocybin and LSD allows the imbiber to enter a lucid dream-state, or even talk to their god. Power and abilities are pulled from smoke or stone, depending on where your allegiance lies. As you may have gleaned by now, the world-building is as detailed as it is impressive.
Even more impressive is how well the characters are developed for a cast of substantial size. There are only two POVs in this story: Akachi, a newly-minted pastor of a run-down church in a dangerous district, and Nuru, a gang member and street sorcerer trying to survive in a world where showing any form of individuality can be punishable by death. We alternate chapters throughout the book and learn much about what drives them both, but we also get to know their respective crews well enough where I felt strongly connected with many of these supporting characters. And since this is a Michael Fletcher book, we all know that there will be a happy ending for everyone, right? Right. At one point there was so much blood I think some spilled off the page and stained my hands red.
While Fletcher’s grim tales certainly aren’t for everyone, he remains one of my favorite authors, and Smoke and Stone keeps that streak alive. It is a dark tale full of unconventional ideas with that special kind of madness that only Fletcher can provide. Bring on the sequel.
This Smoke and Stone book review was written by Adam Weller
All reviews for: City of Sacrifice
Smoke and Stone
City of Sacrifice #1
After a cataclysmic war of the gods, the last of humanity huddles in Bastion, a colossal ringed city. Beyond the outermost wall lies endless desert haunted by the souls of ...
Have you read Smoke and Stone?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Smoke and Stone reader reviews
9/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
The Powder Mage Trilogy
The alchemy of gunpowder fused with the magic of sorcery. In a time of upheaval, resurgence and corrupted Royalty Privileged, one-man’s love for his lost wife and his...
Seven Blades in Black
Among humans, none have power like mages. And among mages, none have will like Sal the Cacophony. Once revered, now vagrant, she walks a wasteland scarred by generations of...
The Magicians series
In a secret world of forbidden knowledge, power comes at a terrible price... Quentin Coldwater's life is changed forever by an apparently chance encounter: when he turn...
In the first age of Andeira, men and dragons brought together the two halves of the elemental magic of the world to create a union through which their magic, and the world,...
Dawn of the Exile
For the damned, redemption may be just a mad dream…Years have passed since the demon Tarrik and his master, the sorcerer Ren, destroyed the servants of S...
The House of Shattered Wings
Aliette de Bodard
Paris in the aftermath of the Great Magicians War. Its streets are lined with haunted ruins, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine runs black, thick with ashes and...
Steel Crow Saga
A soldier with a curseTala lost her family to the empress's army and has spent her life avenging them in battle. But the empress's crimes don't haunt her ...
When a man is tired of London he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford - Samuel Johnson. In fact, Dr Johnson was only half right. There is in Lo...
Winter Be My Shield
Sierra has a despised and forbidden gift - she raises power from the suffering of others. Enslaved by the king's torturer, Sierra escapes, barely keeping ahead of Raste...
Great fantasy books published in 2019
A Brightness Long Ago
Guy Gavriel Kay
International bestselling author Guy Gavriel Kay's latest work is set in a world evoking early Renaissance Italy and offers an extraordinary cast of characters whose li...
The Raven Tower
For centuries the kingdom of Iraden has been protected by a god known as the Raven. But in their hour of need, the Raven speaks nothing to its people. It is into this unres...
The 10,000 Doors of January
Alix E Harrow
In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut....
The Priory of the Orange Tree
A world divided.A queendom without an heir.An ancient enemy awakens.The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen S...
Meet Roger. Skilled with words, languages come easily to him. He instinctively understands how the world works through the power of story.Meet Dodger, his twin. Numb...
A Little Hatred
War. Politics. Revolution. The Age of Madness has arrived... The chimneys of industry rise over Adua and the world seethes with new opportunities. But old scores run deep a...
The Hod King
Thomas Senlin and his crew of outcasts have been separated, and now they must face the dangers of the labyrinthine tower on their own in this third book in the word...
Nona Grey’s story reaches its shattering conclusion in the third instalment of Book of the Ancestor.THEY CAME AGAINST HER AS A CHILD. NOW THEY FACE THE WOMAN....
Galaxy 'Alex' Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale's freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school earl...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: