The Thousand Names - Django Wexler

I've had The Thousand Names sitting on my TBR bookcase for a while now and the sheer number of pages made me wonder if I was ever going to get around to reading it, but a few days ago I plunged right in and here we are... 

 

There may well be a nifty term for these kind of books, not quite 'sword and sorcery' but more 'muskets and sorcery' but I can't immediately recall what it is - there's a comment in there somewhere about Napoleon's military expedition to Egypt being a major influence on the story line and I can see that quite easily. Essentially most of the main characters are soldiers, some of whom have been stationed in a desert country in support of a weak monarch but who now find themselves fighting a war on multiple sides against the people who want to overthrow him and also a group of religious fanatics. 

 

I'm not a great fan of battle scenes so there were a few places where I skimmed my way through a dozen pages or so to get to the next part of the actual plot, with apologies to the author who probably worked hard on those. We discover quite early on that one of our main characters is actually a woman disguised as a man, only for another to turn up later on - one seems statistically possible (as we know it happened historically) but two within a smallish group of soldiers somewhat strains credibility. I guess if you're wanting to write historical fantasy but also want female characters who do something, it's a little too tempting to go down that road. 

 

Anyway, overall plot-line: under the command of a new colonel, the soldiers find themselves pursuing artefacts of power deep into the desert. Meanwhile, back at home there's a bunch of religious folks who drove the equivalent of the Inquisition who had been thought to be gone but who've been biding their time and very much want to get their hands on said artefact. The Thousand Names ends with folks returning to their homeland, artefact in hand, to begin the next book in the series (The Shadow Throne), though I'm not sure if I'll be reading that as well - maybe the library has it, if not it seems a bit unlikely, since nothing in this book really made me think that I was desperate to know what happens to these characters and how it all works out.