In the fifth book in the Castle series, Steph Swainston returns to her uniquely imagined fantasy world.
Fifteen years after the last devastating Insect attack, the immortal Circle is finally ready to launch an offensive against their implacable enemies. This time they have a new weapon - gunpowder. Hopes are high.
But the Circle's plans are threatened when the vital barrels of gunpowder go missing. Jant, the Circle's winged messenger, is tasked to investigate. Soon it becomes clear that the theft is part of a deadly conspiracy . . . and Jant and his friends are among the targets.
As tensions rise, Jant races to foil the conspirators. Can he expose them in time - or will the crisis blow the Fourlands apart?
Honest-to-god unputdownable. A blistering debut
Steph Swainston's writing is as elegantly superior to most other fantasy as a samurai sword is to a flint dagger
A stunning fantasy, and the most incredible thing about it is that it is a first novel... The setting is impeccably realised, with a deftness of touch and a genius for description which would be impressive in an author of considerably greater experience - of the current crop of British fantasy writers, only China Mieville can touch this level of brilliance. In fifty years time, people are still going to be reading this book and talking about it the way we talk about Gormengast - INK MAGAZINE
Her descriptive passages are rich and vivid and her characterisation is actually even better; frankly it's superb... Even her dialogue is free-flowing, original, yet natural-sounding; how often do you get that from a debut novelist? As for the protagonist himself: in Jant Shira, Swainston has come up with one of the most irrepressibly loveable rogues in fantasy fiction, bar none. So, The Year of War has everything, yes? It's about as close to a perfect debut as you can get - THE ALIEN ONLINE
A joy to read, it is bursting at the seams with ideas. The Year of Our War is the first book that makes you believe New Weird actually is a movement, rather than a bunch of books China Mieville likes. A Mieville quote appears prominently on the cover where he describes the book as "thoughtful, exuberant, incredibly inventive, funny but never whimsical or mannered." This is true and it doubles as a kind of manifesto pledge for New Weird - SF SITE
An enjoyable piece of 'weird' fiction - DREAMWATCH