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Brian Ruckley was born and brought up in Scotland. After studying at Edinburgh and Stirling Universities, he worked for a series of organizations dealing with environmental, nature conservation and youth development issues. He lives in Edinburgh. Find our more about Brian Ruckley at


Following his fantasy debut, Winterbirth, this middle book of the "Godless World" trilogy reimmerses readers in the Clans-and-Indians atmosphere of Ruckley's heroic fantasy world. The titular "bloodheir" could refer to any of three candidates. Orisian, newly minted as thane of the Lannis Blood, searches for a positive direction in which to lead his staggered people. Aewult, the Haig prince and Orisian's ally, commands a huge army, but his arrogance and greed for glory may doom them all. And Orisian and Aewult's mutual foe, Aeglyss, channels the rejections of his youth into a horrible magical vengeance as his strange powers mutate, raising him ever higher in the fatalistic ranks of the Black Road as they bring war deep into Haig lands. Or it could be that the bloodheir is actually the reader, who will learn that no secondary character is safe in Ruckley's cruel, icy world. This grim, sometimes gripping martial epic will leave those who have come this far anxious for the final chapter. A solid fantasy choice, especially for libraries where Winterbirth found an audience.--Neil Hollands, Williamsburg Regional Lib., VA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

This awkward middle volume, the second installment of Ruckley's Godless World trilogy (after 2007's acclaimed Winterbirth), lacks the thematic impact and emotional intensity of its predecessor. As the armies of the Black Road, a fatalistic religious movement revolving around a creed of predestination, descend from their northern exile, the quarrelsome leaders of the True Blood clans must join forces or die, but supernatural forces beyond their understanding are playing with their destiny. Multiple plot threads featuring dozens of integral characters bog down the pacing considerably, creating a narrative that, like the unwieldy and poorly led True Blood army, becomes a "lethargic thing" emanating "resentment and reluctance." New readers will be utterly lost and fans left impatient for book three. (June) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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