ARC Review: Scourge of the Five Kingdoms (Book 1 of A Five Kingdoms of Cordizal Series)

Scourge of the Five Kingdoms by Charles K. Jordan

Scourge of the Five Kingdoms is a fun and entertaining debut fantasy novel. Author Charles K. Jordan introduces us to a world of magik, dragons, and the undead. In this world the Five Kingdoms have only recently banded together, and find themselves facing war. The Kingdoms (those of the Ramons, Arzans, the Nawahl, the Grang and the Xandrans), and the area beyond known as the Wildlands, make up the continent of Cordizal.

The book unfolds as a set of stories, as we follow a cast of characters while the Five Kingdoms enters into war. This war is destined to last a decade or more, against a relentless enemy army of the undead, whose longevity and resolve are sure to be powered by strong magik.

Here's a taste of what is in store for readers of this book. As the war progresses here are some of the major storylines -

  • The Consul of Five struggles to hold the kingdoms together, and keep them focused on the war effort. Some members of the Consul soon begin to scheme to take advantage of the circumstances to benefit themselves and their kingdoms.
  • Ang' Lor and his son Kir' Lor lead much of the fighting. They are Grang, a reptilian bipedal race of proud warriors. Holding the soldiers of the disparate kingdoms together provides its own challenges for them.
  • Haz-Ar Darkmare  is mentor to the disgraced Arcanus Dragonsbane. Both Arzans, Haz-Ar is a skilled magikan, whose path has turned toward the darker arts. Arcanus was a poor student of magik, but he proves to be an excellent swordsman. 
  • Maximus Gaiaus, a Ramon, schemes to take control of Rame and stoops so low as to conspire with the enemy. 
  • The Goddess of Death, whose story slowly unwinds within the stories above, leads to the final climax of the book. 
The book is well crafted, with alternating chapters following the various stories. Jordan did a great job of keeping the interest level high as you try to figure out what will happen next. The focus of the various stories is not on the war itself, but rather on the scheming and machinations of the various factions within the Kingdoms, and without, as they deal with the war and its meaning for Cordizal.

I give 4 of 5 Stars  ⭐⭐⭐ to Scourge of the Five Kingdoms. I have read a number of independently published fiction debuts this year, and this one ranks right up at the top. The writing and world building are excellent, and the story lines keep you engaged right up to the end. My only disappointment was in the number of loose ends the book left open. I understand there will be six books in all, so I'm sure those loose ends will get tied up as the series moves along. And, of course, the loose ends are what keeps me interested enough to stick around to see what happens in Book 2.

Scourge of the Five Kingdoms links:

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Revised Mar 2022