Review: Incursion

The Necromancer’s Key: Book One
By Mitchell Hogan

A corrupted power stirs from beyond the grave.
A sacred order of knights sworn to protect the world from evil.
The Necromancer Queen will rise again.

Seventeen years have passed since the Necromancer Queen Talia was overthrown and slain, and her capital city destroyed by the Knights of the Order of Eternal Vigilance.

Anskar DeVantte, raised in the sacred disciplines of the Order, is now ready to face the brutal initiation trials to become a consecrated knight-sorcerer.

But the further Anskar rises in the ranks the more his faith wavers, and he is beset by harrowing dreams and uncertainty. As troubling powers awaken within him, a schism grows between Anskar and his hallowed Order, and he draws the hungry gaze of the vanquished queen’s fanatical followers.

As Anskar pieces together the mysteries of his early life, and begins to understand the malevolent forces gathering in his path, he finds himself with a crucial choice to make:

Remain loyal to the Order’s righteous mission, or control the dark powers growing within him.

Either way, his destiny is steeped in war. The only question is, which side will he be on?

505 pages
Published by Crucible Press
Published on June 23, 2020
Author’s webpage
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I’ve been reading Mitchell Hogan’s work for several years now, and the first thing that struck me about this novel was how much he has upped his game. I loved this!

I’ve always found Hogan’s writing on point, his characterisation excellent, and the breadth of his imagination to be everything I look for in a fantasy author. But in Incursion, he takes it to a new level. I needed to double-check that it was a Mitchell Hogan novel I was reading. It was a little surreal; I recognised the world in which the story is set – Wiraya, although I had not (to my knowledge) visited the island of Niyas on which the story takes place – and the lore behind the magic and even the religious order of the god Menelas. But stylistically Hogan has pushed himself to the next level, and I applauded him. This book was brilliantly crafted.

Incursion is, by and large, a fairly typical coming of age story in a fantasy setting. Still, Hogan pulls you in with mystery and ramping up of tension as we follow Anskar in his last days as a novice in a Holy Order of Knights, the conquerors and governors of the native people of Niyas.

Naturally, Anskar is not all he appears to be. He is an orphan of the war that saw the Nyan’s conquered and their Necromancer Queen deposed, and he has lived his whole life in the citadel of the Order of Eternal Vigilance, first amongst the servants, then the other initiates. But Anskar is not all he appears to be, and as we head through the harrowing trials the Knight expect a novice to pass before becoming a knight-luminal, strange events begin to occur. As Anskar learns to use the sorcerous powers of the dawn -tide a new world opens up before him that fair exceeds the one the knights live in.

And in the lands that surround the only home he has known, a greater destiny is calling Anskar – if he can face it.

Sweeping in scope and epic in feel, this is the perfect novel for fans of Robert Jordan, Peter V. Brett and Brian Staveley.

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