My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A tremendous read set around 10870 AD about an expedition to China. I hadn't read Hawk, his earlier book, so I will look out for that. The characterisation in Imperial Fire is excellent. The fight scenes seem accurate for the period and the terrain and people between Constantinople and China make you realise how brutally hard life was in those times. The quest is to open relations with China and/or to steal the formula for gunpowder. There's a lot of twists and it is an engaging read. One of the characters goes off on his own quest about 2/3rds the way through and that detracted from the main plot. It was engaging still but I did think it was unnecessary. That was my only down side to this otherwise engaging book.
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