The Infernal Battalion (Shadow Campaigns)
by Django Wexler
Cover Artist: Paul Youll
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Ace Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451477347
Date: 09 January 2018 List Price $28.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Vordan once again faces invasion. This time by one of her own. Janus bet Vhalnich is at the head of a Murnskai Army and declared the Emperor of both Murnsk and Vordan. Janus is a hero of the people, and that makes the situation very difficult for Queen Raesinia of Vordan. Some of her troops may go to his side and her country is in great debt.
Behind the scenes, the Beast is free from the bonds which have held it in Elysium for centuries. The Beast has Janus under its spell. The Beast's one desire is complete control of everything. As it takes control over more people it becomes more powerful with a greater capacity to take even more. It has one fear, Infernivore, the demon inside of Winter Ihernglass. Winter is trapped deep inside Murnsk and must make her way back to Vordan.
Marcus d'Ivoire is a good leader. He may be the next best general to Janus, but his closeness to Janus makes him suspect. So another is put in overall command, one who has some experience but is unknown to most. Marcus is left in command of Winter's old detachment including the Girl's Own. But his heart will always be with Raesina.
Each character will struggle with their own demons. They separate to bring all of the pieces together for one final confrontation. The outcome will be decided not just by the arms of men, but also those possessed. The side who makes the greatest sacrifice will win.
This is the fifth novel in the Shadow Campaigns. As such it isn't the best starting point for new readers. The world mixes magic and gunpowder technology in a world similar to that of Napoleonic France. The series is quite good with a lot of action and intrigue told through several perspectives.
The heart of the series has always been the battle scenes. There are several battles in this novel as the armies face off on the field. The tactics continue to develop over time taking into account the demonic abilities which play a role in this world and the terrain.
The Shadow Campaign has always been Winter's tale. Winter is capable and the host of a very powerful demon. A demon which can free the world from the worst demons. She is able to control the hunger of her demon and limit it. What we know of her past, will play an important role in the final battle even as she prepares to give her life for the world's freedom.
There is a lot of action packed into this novel. The conclusion to much of the series is included, with the potential for future stories set in the universe. But the action of future stories may need to follow a new path as several arcs seem to be finished in the final moments.