The Tyranny of Faith (Empire of the Wolf #2) by Richard Swan

My Five Word TL:DR Review: The gift that keeps giving


I would just mention that as this is the second book in the series the following review may contain spoilers (although I strive not to include any) so if you haven’t started this series yet (please do so immediately) and before reading further.  Thank you.

To say I had initial doubts about requesting book 1 this is turning into a tour de force that would have been a crying shame to have missed.  I love this series so far.  No middle book syndrome here.  No siree.  What really puzzles me is how did Richard Swan just pop up and with his debut novel create such a satisfyingly good first book in series?  It’s breathtaking.  This is a rollercoaster of a ride emotionally, the characters continue to impress and the story is packed with treachery and surprise.

The story starts almost immediately where we left off in The Justice of Kings and Helena is still our excellent storyteller narrating events in such a refreshingly honest voice that it’s easy, if not impossible, to become attached.  Rebellion is still stirring and Vonvalt returns to the Capital City, Sova, where he finds people openly speaking against the Emperor, not to mention fanatical preachers provoking dissention against the Magistratum.  The Emperor immediately sets Vonvalt to work rooting out the culprits but before Vonvalt can turn his sights onto the real threat -Claver – his attentions are drawn away when the Emperor’s son is kidnapped and demands that Vonvalt seek answers and find his son.

I’m not going to elaborate on the plot as there are twists and turns here that I don’t want to spoil.  What I’d like to focus on instead are the winning elements of the story.

Well, firstly, for me the characters are so well written.  Helena, as I already mentioned, is refreshingly honest.  She’s still a young girl and naive in many respects.  Her emotions for Vonvalt are in turmoil, she feels attracted to him but at the same time feels that some of his actions of late are questionable and this is a feeling that is about to explode.  It all leads back to my question during book one about who is responsible for keeping the Justices on the straight and narrow.  And this is another aspect that feeds beautifully into the characters themselves, leading their actions and giving their motivations new meaning as we discover things from their past that they’re not proud of which continue to haunt them.  And, we have four central characters with this instalment with Sir Radomir joining Bressinger, Vonvalt and Helena.  They are an interesting bunch to read and the author lets us spend some quality time with thiem which really helped.

The writing is so easy to like.  On the face of it, I feel like this should be a really ‘dry’ read with lengthy debates about justice, peacekeeping and faith and how it plays into the Magistratum, and to be fair there is plenty of food for thought here to really provoke the reader, but, at the same time the writing is so easy to engage with.  The pacing is good and there’s a balance between the winning elements that is almost perfect.  It’s not all action to the point that you just feel exhausted on behalf of the characters, but when there is action it’s gripping and tense.  There’s a mystery taking place and although you know that things are going to go pear shaped (Helena does like to drop hints) the eventual reveals are still a surprise.

Not to wax lyrical, I loved the story with this.  It takes a turn for the dark, Vonvalt is weighed down with his own issues, the Emperor isn’t seeing straight (as you might imagine with the kidnap of his son and heir) and Claver seems to have grown in strength.  And may I say at this point what a fantastic ‘baddie’ Claver makes.  Ooh, he’s so bad, I dislike him intensely but really like him in turns of the series.

The magical elements whilst similar to book one have increased in strength and I loved the times where the story took us to the demons and underworld, it’s decidedly creepy.

I am loving this series and can’t recommend it highly enough.

Also, can we just take a minute to look at that cover – I love it.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 5 of 5 stars


2 Responses to “The Tyranny of Faith (Empire of the Wolf #2) by Richard Swan”

  1. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    It pains me not to have found the TBR space to read this second book (yet…) because like you I greatly enjoyed the series’ starter. Reading your review confirmed my certainty that this is an author whose works I cannot miss….
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  2. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Yes this series is so good and needs waaaay more attention than it is getting. It should be on every fantasy reader’s list! I love Helena so much and I just want the next book now!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s