Winterbirth - Brian Ruckley
I know, I promised no more trilogies (or series) but I picked this one up in a swap and decided I couldn't wait/wanted to see if the rest was worth bothering with...

I have to admit I was also intrigued by the differences in the reviews on Amazon - people seem to either like or hate this book, with very few opinions falling in the middle. It's pretty easy to see why, as there's a significant amount of world-building in this particular volume and the author doesn't worry about killing off (or doing exceedingly bad things to) characters who have a significant role, which is another habit that doesn't always endear authors to writers.

'Winterbirth' is about the clash of two kinds of thoughts, two religions in as many words, one which is quite fundamentalist and is all about the next world, the other more a celebration of life as it is - this had led to the former folks being driven out of the kingdoms ruled by the latter and now they're seeking to return to where they once lived and impose their philosophy with the sword. Meanwhile, the Thane is using his position not so much for the good of all as for the good of a few, which means manipulating the response to this invasion in the hope that his enemies from elsewhere will wipe out his enemies internally.

I can't say that it's a series I'd want to have bought, as the characters aren't anything like as strong as those Joe Abercrombie and Scott Lynch have been writing recently (sorry to everyone else, these guys seem to be holding the line in terms of good characterisation) but I'm interested enough to check out the next book in the series, 'Bloodheir', so I guess that's got to be a positive review from me?