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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
One of the oldest of the Twelve Great Cities, Talis is second only to the capital in wealth and prestige. However, Talis is starting to creak under the strain caused by the tension between humans and faeries. The strain gets worse when a hobgoblin destroys Rook Gate, supposedly the most secure checkpoint in the city, with a bomb. What's more, a serial killer named Ripper is on the loose and eluding the authorities.
Irons in the Fire (Chronicles of Talis, Book I) by Antonio Urias starts with an engaging prologue. Urias has developed great world building with an array of ethereal creatures; nymphs, hobgoblins, air sprites, fauns, pixies, manticores and all kinds of faërie. There’s also cyclops, Minotaurs, unicorns, just to name a few. Politics dominates the multifaceted and character-driven story line, along with murders, magic and suspense. The faeries are striving for their rights; some through legislative measures and others through dangerous methods. Several humans try to capitalize on this matter for their own gain.
There are a number of protagonists. A mysterious Countess is hell-bent on fulfilling her purpose. Inspector Erkel and Sergeant Lund are assigned by their Commandant to investigate the Ripper case, but they'd rather be investigating the Rook Gate Bombing to avenge their friend, Sergeant Obry. Lord Edward Clesinger, his wife Lady Anne, and Baron Hessing are seemingly in danger of losing control of Talis. Then there’s Mr. Nix, whose influence in the city seems larger than it appears to be. Urias deftly narrates these lead characters to connect and move the story as one rather than overwhelming each other. I’m thoroughly invested in the political chess game and intriguing schemes. I absolutely look forward to Book 2.