In a world where ‘Demon Smoke’ is a forbidden, but highly prized product, the destinies of five very different young people will be brought together. The Smoke is actually the dying breathe of a demon and it is used as a drug by the wealthy of the surrounding states, but why would the king of the Brigant kingdom kill to get his hands on it? That is the overarching question that will bring the five together; a thief, a princess, a soldier, a hunter and a traitor, most of whom have no connection to each other. This is a fantasy world, somewhat medieval in feel and with no modern technology to help the heroes. They will have to bond together in order to achieve the aim of saving their countries and themselves.
This world is very much in the tradition of fantasy fiction; where there is a quest undertaken by a group of people who are gradually drawn together to serve a common purpose. The main protagonists come from a wide range of backgrounds and their characters vary from aggressive and sly to strong and challenging. This story acts as the start of the quest and it really sets the scene by introducing the characters and what is going on the countries that they are living in. The author has cleverly woven their stories together, gradually introducing us to the common thread which is central to the whole plot. The underlying themes are about power, with strong elements of political intrigue, but also relationships and the importance of friendship. There is a mix of male and female main characters and they don’t always meet the standard gender stereotype, so it is great to see strong female characters that are central to the quest. From the perspective of a teacher or librarian this book is suited to the 14+ age group; there is no overt sexual content but there is swearing and some quite bloodthirsty descriptions of torture and death. However as with all fiction I am sure that it will be read by a younger audience, particularly those who are fans of series such as Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings.