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Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781529437003

Price: £20

ON SALE: 7th December 2023

Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Fantasy

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A mortally wounded magistrate faces his deadliest trial inside an ancient abbey where the monks are going mad and the gods themselves may be to blame!

Estevar Borros, one of the legendary sword-fighting magistrates known as the Greatcoats and the king’s personal investigator of the supernatural, is no stranger to tales of ghosts and demons. When the fractious monks of the abbey rumoured to be the birthplace of the gods begin warring over claims of a new pantheon arising, the frantic abbot summons him to settle the dispute.

But Estevar has his own problems: a near-fatal sword wound from his last judicial duel, a sworn knight who claims he has proof the monks are consorting with demons, a diabolical inquisitor with no love for the Greatcoats, and a mysterious young woman claiming to be Estevar’s ally but who may well be his deadliest enemy.

Armed only with his famed investigative talents, his faltering skill with a blade and Imperious, his ornery mule, Estevar must root out the source of the madness lurking inside the once-sacred walls of Isola Sombra before its chaos spreads to the country he’s sworn to protect.

Investigate alongside Estevar and the most heroic mule ever to appear in print in this thrilling swashbuckling fantasy mystery by Sebastien de Castell, author of the Internationally acclaimed Greatcoats and Spellslinger series!

Crucible of Chaos may be read as a stand-alone fantasy novel and as a prelude to Play of Shadows, the first official novel in the Court of Shadows series!


Brilliant and vivid world-building . . . riveting
Chad Stahelski, director of John Wick on THE MALEVOLENT SEVEN
The author's prose, both beautiful and captivating, kept me enthralled throughout . . . This dark fantasy tale takes you on a journey of truth-seeking, filled with witty remarks, magic, action sequences, and even a touch of magic . . . If you're a fan of Richard Swan's Empire of the Wolf series, I would highly recommend giving this one a try
Before We Go Blog
The best book I've read in 2024 . . . if you like fantasy novels with a historical feel, an intricate mystery, and strong supernatural elements, you will love this
Joseph Finley, author of ENOCH'S DEVICE
An interesting tale full of political intrigue, betrayal and some magical shenanigans
Books of My Heart
Think Agatha Christie, but with dark fantasy elements . . . De Castell does a brilliant job of writing a piece of classic feeling crime fiction within a fantasy setting
SFBook Reviews
Extensive world building, [an] awesome magic system, and riveting action
Right off the bat, this mystery is juicy. The suspects are interesting, the clues are bizarre, the setting is terrifying, and the twists are twisty . . . I had fun the entire way through
The Quill to Live
Really good fantasy
Amazing Stories
Sebastien's handing of the plot is masterful . . . dark, complex, intelligent and detailed, Crucible of Chaos is a Fantasy novel that is a cut above the usual
SF2 Concatenation