Waiting on Wednesday – Rise of the Mages and The Justice of Kings

Welcome to my weekly segment, Waiting on Wednesday, where I look at upcoming books that I am planning to order and review in the next few months and which I think I will really enjoy.  I run this segment in conjunction with the Can’t-Wait Wednesday meme that is currently running at Wishful Endings.  Stay tuned to see reviews of these books when I get a copy of them.  In this week’s Waiting on Wednesday article, I look at two fun upcoming fantasy debuts that I think have an immense amount of potential.

Here at The Unseen Library, we have a lot of love for debut novels, and it is always awesome to read and review the first book a new author has produced or to see a writer break into a completely new genre.  I have had a brilliant time reading some great debuts in recent years, with some proving to be quite exceptional reads.  For example, two amazing debut novels of 2020, The Kingdom of Liars by Nick Martell and The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, ended up being some of the best books (and audiobooks) of the year.  This year has been no different, as I had read some exceptional debuts in 2021, such as The Councillor by E. J. Beaton and The Frenchman by Jack Beaumont.  I have some other glowing reviews for debut novels coming up shortly, and I am planning to do a Top Ten List highlighting some of the best debut novels of 2021 in a few weeks.  However, before I do any of that, I thought I would take the chance to look at two exceptional upcoming fantasy novels that are likely to be some of the best debuts of 2022.

Rise of the Mages Cover

The first of these books is Rise of the Mages by Scott Drakeford.  Currently set for release on 25 January 2022, Rise of the Mages in an interesting epic fantasy novel that will serve as the first book in The Age of Ire trilogy.  Rise of the Mages has an outstanding story of blood, magic and rebellion, as well as an awesome cover, and I really like the sound of this cool novel.


Scott Drakeford’s epic fantasy debut, Rise of the Mages combines gripping, personal vengeance with compelling characters for an action packed first book in a trilogy.

Emrael Ire wants nothing more than to test to be a weapons master. His final exam will be a bloody insurrection, staged by corrupt nobles and priests, that enslaves his brother.

With the aid of his War Master tutor, herself an undercover mage, Emrael discovers his own latent and powerful talents.

To rescue his brother, Emrael must embrace not only his abilities as a warrior but also his place as last of the ancient Mage Kings—for the Fallen God has returned.

And he is hungry. 

This book has an awesome synopsis, and I am deeply intrigued by the fantastic sounding story that Rise of the Mages looks set to have.  Dark rebellions, rogue wizards and fallen gods are all excellent bases for great fantasy books and I very interested in the idea of a “Mage King”.  Based on this synopsis, it sounds like Drakeford is looking to produce a pretty epic and intense read, and I look forward to seeing all the magic-fuelled action, adventure and blood shed that Rise of the Mages contains.

The Justice of Kings Cover

The other book I really want to highlight in this post is the brilliant sounding The Justice of Kings by Richard Swan.  Set to be the first book in his proposed Empire of the Wolf trilogy, The Justice of Kings is Swan’s debut fantasy novel, after he previously wrote several intriguing science fiction novels, such as The Art of War trilogy.  The Justice of Kings currently has a release date of 22 February 2022 and I think it has the potential to be one of the best books of next year.


The Justice of Kings, the first in a new epic fantasy trilogy, follows the tale of Sir Konrad Vonvalt, an Emperor’s Justice – a detective, judge and executioner all in one. As he unravels a web of secrets and lies, Vonvalt discovers a plot that might destroy his order once and for all – and bring down the entire Empire.

As an Emperor’s Justice, Sir Konrad Vonvalt always has the last word. His duty is to uphold the law of the empire using whatever tools he has at his disposal: whether it’s his blade, the arcane secrets passed down from Justice to Justice, or his wealth of knowledge of the laws of the empire. But usually his reputation as one of the most revered—and hated—Justices is enough to get most any job done.

When Vonvalt investigates the murder of a noblewoman, he finds his authority being challenged like never before. As the simple case becomes more complex and convoluted, he begins to pull at the threads that unravel a conspiracy that could see an end to all Justices, and a beginning to lawless chaos across the empire.

This sounds like such an outstanding and compelling read, and I am deeply intrigued by the proposed combination of crime fiction, legal thriller, and epic fantasy fiction elements.  The Justice of Kings’ plot about an honourable knight concerned only with justice, hunting through an elaborate conspiracy with magic and a sword has an amazing amount of promise, and I cannot wait to see what clever and complex mystery Swan has written around this.  I have already heard some substantial buzz around this book, with several reviewers I follow raving about The Justice of King’s story and fantasy elements after receiving advanced copies.  As such, I am extremely excited for this novel and I cannot wait to see if it lives up to all the hype.

2022 is already shaping up to be an excellent year for debut fantasy novels, especially with Rise of the Mages by Scott Drakeford and The Justice of Kings by Richard Swan.  Both these exceptional sounding novels have an immense amount of potential and promise, and I know I am going to have a great time reading them.  These two novels have amazing synopses, and I am extremely interested to find out how these compelling plots turn out.  Out of the two, I think that I am a little keener for The Justice of Kings, due to what I have already heard about it, but I am sure that Rise of the Mages will prove to be just as epic and fantastic.

6 thoughts on “Waiting on Wednesday – Rise of the Mages and The Justice of Kings

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