Iron and Magic
(The Iron Covenant, Book #1)
By Ilona Andrews
Author’s Website: http://ilona-andrews.com/
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Omar
No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy…But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work.
Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast.
Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she’s trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify.
Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?
As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.”
Hugh and Elara may do both.
Iron and Magic starts with Hugh D’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of Roland the Immortal Wizard, Builder of Towers, and father of Kate Daniels, in a drunk haze covered in his own vomit and urine. After the events of Magic Breaks from the Kate Daniels series, were in a plan to try to get Kate to submit to Roland, Hugh got too close to kill her, and as punishment Roland strips Hugh from his power and blessing taking the warm and familiar presence that he knew all his life and leaving him alone and broken in the world. Now Hugh has an emptiness and hole in his soul that he tries to push aside every waking moment with alcohol to stop feeling that emptiness left by Roland. After Roland removed Hugh from his army, he learned that his militia, the Iron Dogs, didn’t follow his orders, they were actually loyal to Hugh as he fought and bleed with them; given that the Iron Dogs didn’t have a use for him anymore, Roland started to purge.
In the hope of saving the rest of the Iron Dogs, the surviving Centurions (leaders) of each Century (squad) of the Iron Dogs tracked Hugh down and persuaded him to put himself together and fight with them. Hugh accepts, mostly to fill the void in his soul that pushes him to suicidal thoughts, but also for the same loyalty that he has for the Iron Dogs. As a way to regroup and have a secure place for the Iron Dogs, Lamar, a Centurion, manages to make a deal to get a castle for them, but every deal or contract has a price, and the security and safety for the Iron Dogs will cost Hugh D’Ambray to get married.
Elara, the White Warlock, and leader of the Departed, the group of people from the community of the castle around it, needs protection and muscles to keep her people safe. Landon Nez, the Legatus of Roland’s Golden Legion, has been trying to make a bet for the castle and the land around it, the situation has escalated to the point where vampires have started to infiltrate Elara’s land. Dugas, Elara’s advisor, and Druid, got in contact and made the deal with Lamar that will be beneficial to both parties, and the best way to make everyone believe in their union was a wedding. What Hugh doesn’t know, or not yet, is the secret that nobody from the Departed wants to talk about, a secret that has to do with Elara and her magic, and a sector group, the Remaining, that used to be part of them.
Now that they are married, Elara and Hugh need to work together to secure the safety of the Departed and Iron Dogs against Landon and mysterious forces that seem to have taken interest in the communities around them.
“Next to him Elara stood, her teeth clenched. Okay. First things first. He would win this battle and then he would figure out what the hell she was and what he had gotten himself and his people into.”
I very much like the work of Ilona Andrews. For almost 6 years I have been reading the author-couple work and this time we get a different taste of characters within Iron and Magic. Readers meet Hugh D’Ambray, the Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, in the Kate Daniels series, which most of the readers didn’t like him. But Hugh has changed, he is no longer under the influence and warmed presence of Roland the Builder of Towers, being ripped off of the family and life he had all his life, broke him. For a fan of the Kate Daniels series, once I started reading the book and through Hugh’s POV, we see a broken man that has given up on life and just wants to make the void in his soul disappear. Hugh is different from the person we met before and I liked how the authors wrote the new storyline for him.
Elara is a mystery that I can’t seem to crack, I liked her character and the strange type of magic that she has, but most of all I liked how her community likes her. Elara’s magic is a mystery that seems to do many things, but there is a hunger to feed of from other’s magic that she needs to keep in check. At the end of the book we get to learn little more about her, but instead, we just get more questions and a great scene.
While Hugh and Elara were the main characters and I was excited to learn more about them, there were other supporting characters that I liked and want to get to know more. The Centurions of the Iron Dogs were a fun bunch of soldiers and I liked how they were a team and loyal to Hugh. Some of the people that work at Castle Baile are very interesting and also are quite magical, I also liked the character of Joanna and the reason she had to use ASL language. I really like the variation of magic users in this new series and how they all play a role in the storyline. One magic that I really liked was the collective magic of the Departed, the scene where they are as one was my favorite and it shows how odd they are to Hugh and the Iron Dogs.
“‘Have you gotten anywhere with the Remaining?’ Hugh asked him quietly. ’Nope. Nobody is talking.’ Lamar shrugged his wide shoulders. ‘Everything is great, everyone is friendly and welcoming, the minute we try to ask any leading questions, they clam up.’ He shifted on his feet. ‘You ever get a feeling we stumbled into a cult? Because I do’”
It seems that Kate Daniels was right, and Roland’s presence is not the best thing to grow up with. Over the course of the story of Iron and Magic, Hugh starts to realize that the magic that Roland gave him when he became his Warlord also change his morals and feelings of regret regarding the things he did, but now that Roland doesn’t share his power with him, he has started to doubt his past actions. Roland makes more of an appearance in this book than in the others, and we learned more of the reasons of why he wants Hugh back. We also get to see some of the type of army that Roland uses and might use against Kate in the future, Roland just seems to collect creatures and weapons from across the world.
Iron and Magic sets the storyline for what looks to be the series and I was surprised by the fact that there was more than one enemy. The snippets and summary give us the idea that Roland and his Golden Legion is the enemy of this book, but as the story goes on we learn that there are more enemies that threaten Castle Baile and the community around it. The author-couple Ilona Andrews has mentioned that for the last book of the Kate Daniels series, readers should read Iron and Magic beforehand because it ties events of this book to the last book. After reading this book, it does give information that will play a great part in the last Kate Daniels book, some enemies connect. SPOILERS. We also get an idea of what the future of the series will be and who is working against the main characters.
I liked Iron and Magic, the relationship between the main characters, members of the Castle Baile and the Iron Dogs, and the secrets hidden among all the characters. What I liked the most about this book was that I still don’t know what Elara is. The authors did a great job given glimpses of what she is, but at the same time not fully tell us, and we have to stick around and keep reading to find out. But really, WHO ARE YOU ELARA?
“Her voice came out cold. ‘Bring the cows.’ A shocked silence fell. The Iron Dogs look around, bewildered. ‘You can’t,’ Savannah recoiled. ‘For him? You would manifest for him?’”
If you are a fan of Ilona Andrews and their other series such as the Kate Daniels series, then I recommend you, Iron and Magic. In this new series, we meet a man that gets a second chance in life and tries to redeem his past actions, and also, we meet a woman that has a very dark secret but is loved by her people because her purpose is to create a home for them. Destiny and the need for security bring Hugh and Elara together in marriage, but time and their protective instinct brings them together in a new relationship that might fill that missing thing they never knew they needed.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*