The Empire of the Dead by Phil Tucker
I greatly enjoyed and appreciated Tucker's excellent and recently completed Chronicles of the Black Gate saga. I have been looking forward to exploring a new series of his in a different setting since then. After finishing the first entry of the Godsblood trilogy late last night, it's safe to say that the author has impressed me once again. His considerable talents in storytelling, creating compelling characters, building worlds with heavy religious influence, and skillful pacing are all on display again in this exciting new trilogy.
An adept summary of the plot of Empire of the Dead would be to describe it as being like Ocean's Eleven set in ancient Sumeria. Acharsis, demigod son of fallen god Ekillos, has spent the past two decades as an uninterested and depressed merchant who has no real aim or drive in his life. Twenty years ago the Purging took place and he's been avoiding reality and true existence ever since. After the Empress Irella teamed up with her mother Nekkul, goddess of death, to betray and kill the other gods in the realm, she has turned her empire into a starving, enslaved world where the dead serve as her workforce, and the people are too scared to rebel. This Purging has scattered the Godsblood -- relatives and offspring of the gods -- throughout the entire kingdom.
The novel begins when Acharsis feels the pull to return to his homeland to apologize to his wife Annara for leaving her so many years ago. Soon after he arrives, tragedy strikes. Something sacred that Acharsis and Annara both share has been taken from them and stolen away to a city rife with grotesque death warriors, hunger, poverty, and ritual sacrifice. (Fun!) Acharsis is compelled to try and retrieve what was stolen, but first, he must make amends with those who want him dead, and carry out an impossible plan to break into a ziggurat teeming with undead warriors, necromancers, chilling deathless soldiers, and perhaps even the gods themselves.
When we've approached the end of the story, which has a great cliffhanger that will land nicely into the sequel, the world building just starts to scratch beyond the city and adjoining badlands where the entire novel takes place. Even though the setting of the story rarely changed throughout The Empire of the Dead, the lore and history of the world shines through: the glory of the gods of the past, the demigod children and their exploits, the cities and shrines that grant the gods their power, as well as the neighboring empires that surround this kingdom. There is an impressive amount to take in and enjoy in this relatively short novel.
Readers that enjoyed Chronicles of the Black Gate will certainly appreciate more of Phil's work, yet I also recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good thrilling caper adventure. There's a frequent amount of strong language and some PG-13 adult situations, but nothing seems too offensive.
I would like to thank Phil Tucker for sending me an audio copy of this story in exchange for an honest review. It was narrated by the excellent Paul Guyet and he does a wonderful job expressing the wide range of characters, demons, and monsters with his skillful vocal talents. As I was enjoying this narrative so much, I was too impatient to only listen to the book whilst driving, so I bought a Kindle version to read between my work commutes too.
This The Empire of the Dead book review was written by Adam Weller
All reviews for: The Godsblood Trilogy
The Empire of the Dead
The Godsblood Trilogy #1
Acharsis has always loved long shots. But even with a perfect scheme and a handpicked squad of godsblooded grifters and fighters, breaking into the undead lord's Akkoda...
The Valley of the Gods
The Godsblood Trilogy #3
Is victory worthwhile if it comes at the expense of everything you love?To avoid seeing the River Cities destroyed in their efforts to defeat Irella, Acharsis a...
Have you read The Empire of the Dead?
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.
The Empire of the Dead reader reviews
8/10 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
For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear while the Lord Ruler reigned with absolute power ...
Half a King
Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea itself. And he must do it al...
The Faithful and The Fallen
Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors, learning the art of war. He yearns to wield his sword and spear to protect his king’s realm. But that day will...
The Farseer Trilogy
In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma. Born on the wrong side of the sheets,...
The World Tree rises up out of the seething clouds like a green mountain, lifting its children up to the light. All creation nestles in its gigantic branches: all take shel...
Hope and Red
In a fracturing empire spread across savage seas, two people find a common cause. Hope, the lone survivor of a village massacred by the emperor's forces, is secretly tr...
The Banished Lands are engulfed in war and chaos. The cunning Queen Rhin has conquered the west and High King Nathair has the cauldron, most powerful of the seven treasures...
The Ember Blade
A land under occupation. A legendary sword. A young man’s journey to find his destiny.Aren has lived by the rules all his life. He’s never questione...
In the cramped west end of Sharakhai, the Amber Jewel of the Desert, Çeda fights in the pits to scrape a living. She, like so many in the city, pray for the downfall...
Great fantasy books published in 2017
The Fall of Arthur
The world first publication of a previously unknown work by J.R.R. Tolkien, which tells the extraordinary story of the final days of England’s legendary hero, King Ar...
The second thrilling installment of the award-winning Nevernight Chronicle, from New York Times bestselling author Jay Kristoff.In a land where three suns a...
A corrupted city. A dark dream of power. Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his...
At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth....
A Conjuring of Light
The precarious equilibrium among the four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empi...
Beren and Luthien
Painstakingly restored from Tolkien’s manuscripts and presented for the first time as a continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of Beren and Lúthien wil...
The Witchwood Crown
New York Times-bestselling Tad Williams’ ground-breaking epic fantasy saga of Osten Ard begins an exciting new cycle! • Volume One of The Last K...
‘An exciting new writer – sharp, compelling and original’ Mark LawrenceYears have passed since the Vagrant journeyed to the Shining City, Vesper in...
A modern Britain. An age-old cruelty. Britain's magically skilled aristocracy compels all commoners to serve them for ten years - and now it's the Hadleys' turn...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: