Darien Empire of Salt

Posted April 9, 2018 by midnightreview in Reviews / 0 Comments

Publication date: 13th July 2017


From the daring and critically acclaimed master of historical fiction Conn Iggulden, DARIEN is the first book in the Empire of Salt, an epic new fantasy series of spellbinding imagination . . .


The city of Darien stands at the weary end of a golden age. Twelve families keep order with soldiers and artefacts, spies and memories, clinging to a peace that shifts and crumbles. The people of the city endure what they cannot change.

Here, amongst old feuds, a plot is hatched to kill a king. It will summon strangers to the city – Elias Post, a hunter, Tellius, an old swordsman banished from his home, Arthur, a boy who cannot speak, Daw Threefold, a chancer and gambler, Vic Deeds, who feels no guilt – and Nancy, a girl whose talent might be the undoing of them all.

As the sun sets, their arrival inside the walls will spark a series of explosive events. Before the sun returns, six destinies will have been made – and lost – in Darien.

Welcome to the Empire of Salt, where sword and sorcery are at their finest . . .

 My thoughts

Darien is the center of the crumbling Empire of Salt. Ruled by a King who is the puppet of the twelve families, the people of Darien are restless and forces are converging against the twelve. The first in what promises to be an epic fantasy series. I have never read any of Conn Iggulden’s previous books, I don’t tend to pick up historical novels so I was intrigued to see how this book would unfold.

I initially found it quite hard to get into – the first part of the book introduces us to several main players, the narrative switches between them, occasional during a chapter and I did occasionally struggle to remember where I was and what was going on. However, Iggulden’s writing style is so engaging that I kept with it and I am so glad that I did.

I found all the characters of the book incredibly engaging, each having their own reasons for wanting a change within the walls of the city. Each has a gift or a knack which makes them a little bit more than ‘ordinary’. Most characters had something likeable about them, which made you want them to succeed. I was particularly drawn to Nancy, a young woman trying to find her way in a city of thousands.

The main section of the book all takes place within the walls of Darien itself, I found these scenes very engaging and by the end of the book I found myself fully immersed in the sights, sounds and even smells of the city. I would have liked a little more world building as I ended the book feeling I knew very little about the empire itself, but perhaps this will come in later books. I am certainly looking forward to getting my hands on the next one.

Many thanks to the publishers and netgalley for providing me a copy for an honest review.

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