This book, the first in a series, is the fiction debut of Cas Peace but you wouldn't know that - the writing and descriptive ability of Ms. Peace are those of an accomplished author.
The story is set in a land of 5 realms, all different and all seperate but the main setting here are the 4th and 5th realms of Albia and Andaryon.
At the start we meet Journeyman Artesan Taran Elijah. In an effort to increase his knowledge and further his Artesan abilities he crosses over from Albia to Andaryon but while there he stumbles on a plot (although he is unaware of just what it is). He barely escapes back to Albia with his life, and carrying an artefact.
Taran and his apprentice Cal try to send the artefact back but are unable to so go to the military for help - and this is where an already good book really picks up!
At the Manor, where the army are based we meet the characters of Bulldog, Robin and Major Sullyan - characters so well fleshed out you feel like you know them personally. The interaction between all the characters comes across really well and sits comfortably with the reader. Major Sullyan is, in my opinion, one of the best female characters in fantasy fiction today.
The nasty characters also come across as exactly what they are - the plots, machinations and general downright nastiness all hold up well.
The magic system is an interesting and clever one but also believable.
The book ends on a cliffhanger that will leave you aching for book 2 (King's Envoy - available soon).
So, short version - a beautifully told tale with characters you will want to go adventuring with again. An amazing talent with a lot of promise for the future. I will be following the career of Ms. Peace with interest.