The world is gripped by magic. Islands soar. Ships fly. And whispers abound: the Bloodheart.
Bowen Cord seeks only treasure, and despises his heritage as an ice-summoner. Magic could not prevent his wife’s death. What allegiance, then, should he owe it?
When he learns of a priceless relic abandoned in the ruins of a floating island, he leaps at the chance to earn a fortune. But when a king’s ruthless agent threatens his stalwart crew and ship, Bowen is thrown into a quest for something far greater than treasure. He must harness the ice and confront enemies far more powerful than any he’s ever faced.
There is no return from his path. It ends only with the answer to one question: Who controls magic?
Book 1 in The Relic Cycle series.
Some Christians may spurn depictions of fantastic magic, yet Steve Rzasa’s Relic Cycle series reverses this belief. Here, magic is a person’s innate ability granted by the Most High, and anyone repressing magic offends God’s created order. That’s one blessing, for in this realm of airborne islands and sky-high piracy, our band of heroes—ragtag even amid a melting pot of fantasy races and real-world nationalities—needs all the magical help it can get.
We first encounter Captain Bowen Cord in The Bloodheart, where he’s caught up in a desperate scramble for a legendary MacGuffin (an object vital to the plot). And as if one ferocious and intelligent villain wasn’t challenge enough, Bowen works to keep peace among his strong-willed crew—comprising a were-fox, a winged woman, a faithful dog, and a cryptic orphan—while grappling with the latent threat of his own ice-summoning power. In the end, survival may require a very personal surrender.
Rzasa’s first-person, present-tense delivery proves surprisingly versatile, and the intensity of his action scenes compensates for the minimalism of his worldbuilding.
Best for: Older teens and adults seeking a swashbuckling sword-and-sorcery spectacle.
Discern: Unflinching violence, a smattering of language, and brief strong sensuality.