This is the Final version, which is to say it's more or less complete, but there still might be the odd error. If you come across something like that, please call it to my attention for a future fix. Emily did an outstanding job on this, but even between two sets of eyes there's room for error.
Reviews have been good to great, especially this one, from Peter:
When I first bought my Kindle, by sheer chance, Spellmonger was one of my first purchases. I read it with great pleasure, immediately looked up Mr. Mancour and found his blog and was very pleasantly surprised to find out that the publication of Warmage was imminent.
Having now read Warmage, I find it a very different book than Spellmonger; basically, Spellmonger could have acted as an introduction to an epic fantasy series while Warmage was the first book; and what a first installment!
For a start, it is an extremely long read. If it was in print form, I suspect it would come in at the best part of 600 pages if not over that. Despite its length though, the pace never slackens and it also gives justice to the unorthodox structure of having two stories running parallel to each other, just on slightly different timelines. One is very much focused on the political aspect of the crisis facing the main character while the other narrates the military aspect. It is not until the end that the political story catches up to the military story. They are both equally interesting and equally readable. I suspect that Machiavelli's The Prince has a prominent place on Mr. Mancour's bookshelf.
Minalan, our main character, was an under achiever who has been hoisted onto the path of power by his acquisition of a witchstone; sometimes he stumbles upon this path while at other times he positively dances. He is certainly not perfect but he is thankfully no dummy either. The supporting cast is very well drawn and thank goodness that we have a single person view of the whole story; multiple points of view seem to be all the rage right now and I find that a lot of the time this is an excuse for padding out the length of books with meaningless backgrounds and motivations as well as lazy plotting as we find the same incident in a book being related again and again by different people.
The author avoids this.
One of the great pleasures of the book is that we see Minalan developing in many ways but mostly as a person and this personal development influences his abilities as a mage, politician and general. If this book is anything to go by, he will need all of these abilities and more in the future. The style of the narrative is bright, breezy and deceptively humorous; some of the incidents are purely lighthearted, like the reports he receives that his fiancée is not getting on particularly well with his mother but in many cases we can see that Minalan is using the humour to mask the horror and desperation he feels about some of the situations he is forced to confront. One slight criticism I do have is that Minalan's development as a magician does not seem to be keeping up with the other aspects of his character but that will probably come in future books.
Finally a couple of words of warning: this is a beta version of the book and there are a few typos here and there. I am not going to mark down the book for that. They are easily fixed and the sheer scope of the story easily eclipses minor issues like that. It is extremely good value for its length and a final version of the prose will be uploaded next month by all accounts, possibly priced at a dollar more. Honestly, it would be extremely good value at twice the price.
Also, the bad guys here are really, really evil with a few twists that I have not come across before so be warned.
The end of the book announces that Book 3 of the series, Magelord, will be issued in 2013. It is good that Mr. Mancour is giving himself a year to write it as this is a fantastic start and the author is obviously taking great care in his world building and the development of the story; but I also hope that it is not issued too far into 2013 as, like the other reviewers, I am eagerly waiting for Minalan's next adventures.
You and me both! The reviews have been very gratifying, and I can't wait to get working on Magelord. Before that, however, I have to knock out the next volume in the Space Viking series, and before that I have to re-write a novel for my agent. A writer's work is never done.