Book Review: The Cold Commands by Richard Morgan 

When I bought the first book of the A Land Fit for Heroes series at my favorite sci-fi and fantasy bookstore, the woman behind the counter gave me a look I interpreted as pleasantly surprised and said: 

“An excellent choice! This is a great series.”

I had the feeling it wasn’t very popular, at least at that particular bookstore, since the price of the books were so low. Each book of the series was only 99 Swedish crowns and it’s hard to find any book under the price of 290 crowns nowadays. I don’t know how popular these books are elsewhere but I hope it’s a lot, otherwise this got to be one of the most underrated series I have ever read!

I loved the first book, titled The Steel Remains (I have written a review for it which you can find here), and I loved the second book just as much. 

The Cold Commands takes place a short time after the events in The Steel Remains. Archeth is still working as an advisor to the cruel emperor Jhiral Khimran II and trying her best to serve and help keep the peace in the southern Empire. 
Egar the Dragonbane is living with her and working as her bodyguard after having fled his natal steppes in the north. He leads a bored existence and longs for some adventure. Which, lucky (?) him, he won’t have to wait long for since, to put it mildly, shit is about to go down in the great city of Yhelteth.

Meanwhile, Ringil Eskiath is on the run after being exiled from his home and from the slave traders who don’t really appreciate him using his newly found powers to attack their caravans and free their slaves. 

The three friends’ paths will cross again in this new adventure where they will have to fight hold enemies up to new and mysterious plans. 

This book, just like the first one and I assume the whole series, is not for the faint of heart. It is quite rarely I read something which sends literal chills down my spine but parts of this story (especially one involving an execution and gross octopuses…) certainly did.

Like the talented writer he is, Morgan knows how to make the reader really feel things. The complex characters and fascinating milieus he describes sucks you right into the heart of the story and the vivid way he writes fight scenes is a personal inspiration to me as an author.

One quirky thing I liked is how Morgan incorporates sci-fi elements in his worldbuilding, which he also did in the first book. As he prior to this series mostly wrote science fiction I guess he couldn’t help himself and the results are pretty cool.

Apart from that I loved learning more about Archeth’s background as well as seeing the way Ringil’s character developed. Even Edgar’s adventures were quite interesting to read about, which is a plus compared to the previous book where I actually found him to be the least sympathetic and most boring of the three protagonists.

The Cold Commands is a great sequel to The Steel Remains and an exciting and intriguing prequel to the next book. I was planning to read and review another novel before continuing with this series but I just can’t wait to dive into the third book, The Dark Defiles, so that will have to wait.

I would give The Cold Commands a rating of 4,5 of 5. Can definitely recommend.