THE MERCHANT EMPEROR
The Merchant Emperor reads like a true epic fantasy, complete with a large array of characters and many plot lines and alliances to keep track of. Fans of ambitious buildups and grand battles will cheer and weep (depending on the battle) alongside the inhabitants of the Symphony of Ages. Haydon does an excellent job of managing such a large cast of characters; even when the sheer number of stories and people to remember becomes overwhelming, there is always a sense of intimacy that many epic fantasies end up missing.
Ashe is busy gathering allies and looking to grow the Cymrian alliance. The Merchant Emperor of Sorbold has allied himself with demons and is at war with the remaining Dragons. Villain Talquist will soon be crowned emperor of Sorbold, and wants nothing more than total control of the Known World. Meanwhile, Rhapsody must gather her courage and wield the ancient weapon Daystar Clarion to change the tides of war and balance her life as both mother and ruler. (TOR, Jun., 432 pp., $25.99)