This was such a great read! Aleksandr Voinov created a highly developed world with strong, multi-faceted characters. The world was fascinating. It was like I stepped right into the lands of Dalman and Fetin with the Scorpions lined up and ready for battle.
The story begins with Kendras, alone and badly hurt after fighting in a war with his fellow brothers - The Scorpions. The Scorpions are a unit of elite warriors that fight side by side as brothers and who follow the motto "Never Stop Fighting". Kendras is picked up and offered help by a gray-eyed mercenary named Steel. Steel helps Kendras but of course Steel's assistance isn't for free. Although Kendras agrees to Steels terms, his first priority is to find his surviving brothers or any who may have fallen. Nothing else matters to Kendras. Most importantly he needs to find the leader of the Scorpions, "The Officer". Kendras finds himself entangled in a web of political and religious struggles all the while dealing with his own internal turmoil; his resolve to never stop fighting versus his self-doubt. I love Kendras. He's strong and loyal, yet he shows touches of vulnerability. Great combo!
All the characters were so well developed, I loved them all. The only issue I had was with Steel. I was constantly waiting for more from him. Even though he's ruthless, I still felt like there was a place in his heart for Kendras but I just wish I saw it or I felt it a bit more. And I can't believe he died, not good!
I really hope to see more of Widow, Selvan, and Kiran. They're great characters. We don't know much about Kiran but he's very interesting. And Widow, well he's in a class by himself. Need more of him! I also liked the little touches of humor throughout.
What really came through for me most was "The Officer" and what Kendras felt for him. I loved the flash backs and listening to the officer's words through Kendras. I felt like I knew him even without having met him.
This was such a wonderful fantasy story of loyalty, honor, survival, and love.