The Killing Fog by Jeff Wheeler

Book One of The Grave Kingdom series

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The Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Kingfountain series conjures an epic, adventurous world of ancient myth and magic as a young woman’s battle with infinite evil begins.

Survivor of a combat school, the orphaned Bingmei belongs to a band of mercenaries employed by a local ruler. Now the nobleman, and collector of rare artifacts, has entrusted Bingmei and the skilled team with a treacherous assignment: brave the wilderness’s dangers to retrieve the treasures of a lost palace buried in a glacier valley. But upsetting its tombs has a price.

Echion, emperor of the Grave Kingdom, ruler of darkness, Dragon of Night, has long been entombed. Now Bingmei has unwittingly awakened him and is answerable to a legendary prophecy. Destroying the dark lord before he reclaims the kingdoms of the living is her inherited mission. Killing Bingmei before she fulfills it is Echion’s.

Thrust unprepared into the role of savior, urged on by a renegade prince, and possessing a magic that is her destiny, Bingmei knows what she must do. But what must she risk to honor her ancestors? Bingmei’s fateful choice is one that neither her friends nor her enemies can foretell, as Echion’s dark war for control unfolds.

My thoughts

This is an easy 4.5 stars for me.

Considering I love the fantasy genre so much it’s a bit of an oversight for me that I haven’t read any of this author’s previous books – only because I never knew which series I should begin with! When I saw The Killing Fog – the first in The Grave Kingdom series – offered on Netgalley I jumped at it and am so glad I did.

We are thrown immediately into the action as Bingmei’s entire family and community is slaughtered and she narrowly escapes. From there the story continues to progress at a good pace, neither hurried or too slow, and Bingmei becomes a formidable fighter in a band of mercenaries led by Kunmia. Kunmia’s team are sent on a mission, along with an exiled prince and his friend, to find a legendary palace buried beneath a glacier. Also buried and now awoken is a powerful lord, Echion, who commands a legion of outlaws and who rules over The Grave Kingdom – the kingdom of the dead.

I loved the Asian influences throughout the book. It was very fitting for the storyline. The author has drawn a cast of characters whose unique strengths and weaknesses are revealed bit by bit along the way. Together they make a strong ensemble. The magical components add an element of unpredictability to the story.

I now know why Jeff Wheeler is such a popular author!

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