((I got a Starred review in Publisher’s Weekly. They don’t hand those out those stars very often.
Son of the Black Sword
Larry Correia. Baen, $25 (432p)
Bestselling fantasy author Correia (the Grimnoir Chronicles) casts a compelling spell with this India-influenced series opener. Elite fighter Ashok Vadal, bearer of the magical ancestor blade Angruvadal, has dedicated his life to serving the law. He fights demons and kills rebels who try to bring back religion and stand up for the casteless, the lowest of the low in this highly stratified fantasy-world society. When the Inquisition sends Ashok to infiltrate a rebel group working to free the casteless, he’s certain it’s punishment for the revelation that he himself was born a lowly untouchable. The Inquisition’s real goal is to engineer a reason to annihilate the casteless entirely; unfortunately for them, Ashok is the worst person they could have chosen for the job. Correia skillfully sets in motion this story of plots within plots, revealing complex, sympathetic characters and black-hearted villains with equal detail and insight. Full of action, intrigue, and wry humor, this exciting series launch promises many more thrills to come. (Nov.)