The Thousand Names is the first in the Shadow Campaigns series. It is a military fantasy (or a flintlock fantasy---new term for me), and since I have a tendency to like military strategy in science fiction, reading a military fantasy kept me engaged.
But it isn't all about battles and strategy, The Thousand Names has well-realized characters, gender-bending, intrigue, and magic, too.
The prologue at the beginning seems a little out of place and a kind of misdirection, but once I got to Part One and Winter's pov, I became more and more involved with this epic fantasy.
I liked both Winter and Captain Marcus d'Ivoire's characters and especially liked the information they provide about the third major character--Colonel Janus bet Vahlnick, the strange, brilliant, and enigmatic new arrival who takes command. Marcus, who has more direct contact with Janus, is disconcerted and puzzled by the man, and no one expects the direction in which Janus takes the Colonials.
Secondary characters are also well-developed, and I especially liked a couple of these, but won't tell you which ones because they are important in several ways and figuring this out is part of the fun.
I was engrossed throughout and can't wait to see if the library has the second book, but must warn prospective readers that this will appeal mostly to those who enjoy military fiction. Even if you don't, however, this book may change your mind.
Once Upon a Time Challenge
Military Fantasy. 2013. 528 pages.