Indie Book Review: The Empire of the Dead by Phil Tucker

There’s only one word I can think of to describe this book: fun.

This is a different kind of story from Phil Tucker, who has written the excellent Chronicles of the Black Gate series (three books out, with two more to go, I believe). That series is epic fantasy with a capital E. This one is less epic, more tightly focused. It’s basically a heist story, though the object being stolen is a person rather than some treasure. But it also becomes much more than that.

It’s a story of a world where most of the gods have died and only the goddess of death remains. As such, necromancy is all over the place. That might seem like a tired trope of fantasy, but I think Tucker did it very well, putting some new twists on old ideas.

The biggest positive out of this book was the action. I already knew that Tucker could write great action scenes, and he delivered again in this one. I found myself frantically flipping virtual pages for much of the book. The beginning was a bit slow, and it took me a while to warm to the characters, but once I did, I was along for the ride. And it was a great one.

The only real issue I noticed with this one were a few more typos and editing issues than I’ve come to expect from Tucker. They weren’t egregious by any means, and I don’t think they should detract from anyone’s enjoyment of the book. I do think it could have used one more proofreading pass, though.

Overall, I really enjoyed it. I didn’t like it quite as much as The Path of Flames, but that’s a high standard to live up to.

Rating: 9/10

If you’re looking to give some self-published authors a chance, I highly recommend Tucker. My enjoyment of his stories is right up there with some of my favorite trade-published authors. Tucker knows how to tell a great story.

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