Obsidian and Blood Omnibus
Author: Aliette de Bodard
Publisher: Angry Robot
Page count/Size: 880pp
Release date: 5th July 2012
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin
This massive and epic fantasy trilogy has now been collected as an omnibus edition, which works out to be much cheaper.
Book One: Servant of the Underworld (Obsidian & Blood) (Obsidian and Blood), introduces us to High Priest of the Dead Acatl, living in the Aztec Mexica Empire in the 1480s. Acatl is relativeky new to the role, in which he feels uncomfortable. He is not a politician and certainly not tactful, so forced to interact at a higher level and attend the courts at the palace, leaves him at odds with his deputy Ichtaca, who objects to Acatl’s reluctance to be fully immersed in his role. However Acatl didn’t have much choice, being promoted by Guardian Ceyoxachitl, a woman of power in the Empire.
Amongst his duties, Acatl must investigate any strange deaths using ancient magical forensic techniques. Things go awry when his estranged brother Neutemoc is accused of murdering a nobleman and kidnapping a Priestess. All the evidence seems to point at him, so Acatl must ignore his grudge and investigate the crime to save his brother and sister-in-law. At the same time, Ceyoxachitl has decided it is a good idea to appoint him a student, the arrogant and young Teomitl, who Acatl soon discovers is royalty second in line to the throne.
Book Two: Harbinger of the Storm (Angry Robot) finds the Emperor and Revered Speaker Axayacatl-tzin dead and leaving the Empire weak and at risk of being attack by the brutal star-demons, whilst a battle goes on between the contenders for the crown. Book Three: Master of the House of Darts (Angry Robot) concerns Teomtil’s growth into a man and potential Emperor, as a strange supernatural plague affects the Empire.
These are essentially magical police procedurals in similarity with Lindsey Davies’ Roman series. However, these are rife with blood, brutality and magic. There is a great deal of political intrigue afoot and most of the characters experience a turning point in their life leading to personal development.
There are a number of strong and assertive female characters in this series, particularly Mihmatini, Acatl’s sister who is the backbone of their family and a powerful user of magic herself. The plots develop quickly and the books are incredibly readable and thoroughly researched.
This is top notch fantasy with moments of horror and lots of action. A must have for fantasy fans, and a bargain to boot!