The Thousand Names has sat on my 2013 TBR shelf for five years now. Each time I would pick it up I would go, “Eh” and set it back down. There wasn’t any real reason for my dislike. My husband had read this and two subsequent books and liked them all. But for some reason each time I picked it up and the knowledge that it was in part about a colonial like military campaign would give me pause and back on the shelf it would go.
After finishing my cannonball, I decided to tackle something that if I didn’t finish in a timely manner wouldn’t affect my goal and this is what I picked. I’m sorry it took me so long to read. I think part of my initial reluctance was the assumption that there would be a predominantly male cast with any females in side roles as this has the trappings of the nineteen hundreds technology wise. Much to my delight this was not the case.
Had I bothered to read the book flap I would have learned five years ago that one of the main characters is a female disguising herself as male to serve in the military. Ranker Winter Inhernglass has a deep history which is only brought up in bits and pieces. She is running from a past that haunts her and by the end of the book the reader still doesn’t know Winter’s full back story. In our world we often see mediocre men fail upwards so it’s refreshing to see Winter get promoted for her creative thinking and devotion to the men in her charge.
The story alternates between Winter’s perspective and Captain Marcus d’Ivoire. Marcus wants to do right and has a deep loyalty streak, towards the crown and his overall mission in the military, but also to his friends and this leads to personal conflict for him. These two perspectives help give a better overall view of the campaign from the larger picture that Marcus sees to the smaller view of Winter.
When seeing that I was finally going to read The Thousand Names my husband said that magic doesn’t really show up until the end. About fifteen pages in a corpse is animated enough to question but from there on out the book is very magic sparse until closer to the end. What I found surprisingly captivating are the descriptions of all the military interactions. Django has an excellent voice for describing each skirmish in such a way that they are all unique and don’t become repetitive sounding. His writing made it very clear what was happening at all times and so it was easy to visualize each enemy encounter.
By the end of the book I was thoroughly drawn in, and happy that we have books two and three already on the shelf. Apparently there is a book four out as well which will now need to be tracked down to keep the set up. Whew! It is 8:47am PST and so I am just barely making the deadline. Best wishes to everyone for the 2019 Cannonball Read!