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 I highlight an incredible upcoming fantasy novel that is probably going to be one of the top books of 2022, The Martyr by Anthony Ryan.
Anthony Ryan is a talented author who has been impressing fantasy fans for years with his intense and captivating novels. Debuting back in 2013 with Blood Song, the first book in his Raven’s Shadow trilogy, Ryan has gone on to write several highly regarded dark fantasy series, including his Slab City Blues series, the Draconis Memoria trilogy and his Seven Swords novella series. I have been meaning to read some of Ryan’s novels for years, especially after hearing nothing but glowing reviews and positive comments about his previous works. I finally got the chance earlier this year when I read the first book in his new The Covenant of Steel series, The Pariah.
The Pariah was an incredible and clever fantasy read that follows a bold new protagonist as he embarks on a series of adventures across the land. The novel focuses on Alwyn Scribe, an outlaw who, after being captured, embarks on a life-changing journey that sees him become a prisoner, a soldier, a spy and most importantly a scribe, as he encounters several charismatic leaders who earn his loyalty. Told using the chronicle style and set in a grim landscape full of war, rebels and religious persecution, this brilliant tale proved extremely addictive and I had an absolute blast following Alwyn as he embarked on his exciting and often poorly planned adventures. This was easily one of the best fantasy books of the year, and it recently featured on My Top Audiobooks of 2021 list.
As such, I was extremely happy when I saw that the second Covenant of Steel novel had been announced. This second novel, The Martyr, is currently set for release on 28 June 2022, and it is already shaping up to be awesome and epic read. Not only does it already have an incredibly gorgeous cover (which contrast nicely with the cover for the previous novel), but there is also a great plot synopsis out which reveals some intriguing details about the upcoming book.
The Martyr is the second novel in The Covenant of Steel, a new epic fantasy series of action, intrigue and magic from Anthony Ryan, a master storyteller who has taken the fantasy world by storm.
Times have changed for Alwyn Scribe. Once an outlaw, he’s now a spymaster and sworn protector of Lady Evadine Courlain, whose visions of a demonic apocalypse have earned her the fanatical devotion of the faithful.
Yet Evadine’s growing fame has put her at odds with both Crown and Covenant. As trouble brews in the kingdom, both seek to exploit her position for their own ends.
Sent to the Duchy of Alundia to put down a rebellion, Alwyn must rely on old instincts to fight for his new cause. Deadly feuds and ancient secrets are laid bare as war erupts, a war that will decide the fate of the Kingdom of Albermaine and, perhaps, prevent the coming of the prophesied Second Scourge.
I really like the sound of this cool upcoming novel and it looks like Ryan will be taking his already exceptional narrative in some awesome directions. The Pariah ended with Alwyn and his current patron, the religious fanatic Lady Evadine Courlain, going into hiding, as the forces of the church and the crown attempt to destroy them due to Courlain’s growing popularity and influence as a living saint. This new novel will apparently follow Alwyn as he attempts to save his lady from manipulation and destruction at the hands of their enemies, using all the skills he developed during his criminal youth. I think that this storyline has an awful lot of potential, and I cannot wait to see the inevitable combination of political intrigue, backstabbing, manipulation and war. I am also extremely intrigued to see how the main characters of this series, particularly Alwyn and Courlain, will continue to grow in this latest novel, especially if certain secrets and lies are revealed.
It also sounds like several awesome storylines or potential future events that were hinted at in The Pariah are going to come to fruition in this second novel, which has me pretty excited. In particular, it looks like there is going to be a repeat of the brutal civil war that was such a defining feature of the first novel, as several storylines were set around it. This should be pretty awesome, especially as Alwyn is in possession of some damaging information that will greatly benefit one side, and which he will no doubt reveal to advantage his own cause. In addition, it also appears that we will get some more hints about the prophesied Second Scourge, this world’s version of the apocalypse. There were several hints about the Second Scourge in The Pariah, and while most characters considered it religious propaganda, you had to know that it was eventually going to lead to something (a Chekhov’s Armageddon if you will). Whatever happens, I am sure it will be epic and I look forward to seeing all the resultant chaos and betrayals.
Overall, I am really looking forward to The Martyr next year and I am already extremely confident that it will be one of the top books of the year. Ryan is such an awesome author and reading The Pariah earlier this year has already made me a pretty dedicated fan. I cannot wait to see how the Covenant of Steel’s impressive story is continued in The Martyr and I think readers will be in for some big surprises and clever twists. This is easily one of my most anticipated reads of 2022 and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.