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Literature / The Blood War Trilogy

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A war against extinction is being fought.

The Blood War Trilogy is a Epic Fantasy series of books by Tim Marquitz.

For hundreds of years, the bestial Grol have clawed at the walls of Lathah without success. Now armed with O'hra, mystical weapons of great power, they have returned, to conquer. They're not the only ones.

Witness to the Grol advance, Arrin can abide his exile no longer. He returns to Lathah, in defiance of death, with hopes to save his beloved princess and the child born of their illicit affair. He finds her unwilling to abandon her people. At her behest, Arrin searches for a sanctuary for them only to be confronted by the Sha'ree, a powerful race long thought gone from the world. Through them, he learns it is not just the Grol that threaten the land.

Empowered by a magic never before seen, the savage nations spread chaos and ruin across the realm. With Lathah under siege, and the world on the brink of cataclysmic war, Arrin must strike a deal with the Sha'ree to take the fight to the Grol, or forever lose his one true love: his family.

Not to be confused with Planescape and its Blood War.

This series contains the following tropes

    open/close all folders 

    Dawn of War 

  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: Malya is married with two kids due to, well, fifteen years having passed.
  • Action Girl: Braelyn is a warrior of extreme skill.
  • Actual Pacifist: The Sha'Ree are this, refusing to kill.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Grol are a race of intelligent carnivorous predators, which is enough to make them look at humans as something delicious as opposed to potential trading partners. Subverted not a few chapters later by the Tolen, who are the Grol's progenitor race and are as civilized as anyone (and consider their Grol brethren worthy only of destruction).
  • Badass Abnormal: Arrin is a Grol-killing, battle-hardened veteran with nothing more than a sword and magic collar.
  • Beast Man: The Grol and Tolen are a race of this, appearing as humanoid wolves.
  • Benevolent Precursors: The Sha'Ree are this, having taught humanity magic and helped them rise from the chaos.
  • Big Bad: Warlord Vorrul is the leader of the Grol Horde. Sultae, however, is the one pulling the strings.
  • Broken Pedestal: The Sha'Ree become this to Arrin when he discovers one of them was responsible for arming the Grol.
  • Crossing the Desert: This is what Arrin and the survivors of Lathah are forced to do in order to get the Sha'Ree's artifacts.
  • Infinity Plus One Sword: Any race which has access to Sha'Ree artifacts (magic) WILL crush those who don't.
  • Defiled Forever: Prince Olenn thinks of his sister as this after her pregnancy.
  • Doomed Hometown: Fhenahr is destroyed at the start of the book, signalling the end of their bulwark status with Lathah and the Grol.
    • Lathah becomes this at the end of the book.
  • Eats Babies: Just in case you had any sympathy left for the cannibal race of orc-werewolves or their commander.
  • Epic Fantasy: Multiple point of views over a massive multi-front fantasy war.
  • Evil Chancellor: Xilth serves as this to Prince Olenn, but is no more evil than Prince Olenn himself.
  • The Exile:
    • Arrin starts the book as this.
    • Becoming this is what drove Sultae mad.
  • Fantastic Racism: Hilariously, the people who despise the Grol the most? The ones who have Fantastic Cursing for them like "dogs" and "mangy ones." The guys who want them all massacred to the last? The Tolen. I.e. the same species, just the "civilized" Grol.
  • Farm Boy: Cael is one of these, even suffering the Doomed Hometown trope.
  • From Bad to Worse: The Grol have found a treasure-trove of magical artifacts which allow them to Curb-Stomp Battle great kingdoms before exterminating every man, woman, and child. They're just ONE of the Chaotic Evil groups which is being so armed.
  • The Horde: The Grol are this, being not so much an army as a plague of locusts (well, orc-werewolves) about to devour all of humanity.
    • The Korme are also this, albeit a race of humans rather than orc-werewolves.
      • Yet, a THIRD horde exists with the Yvir barbarians.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: Prince Olenn is viewed this way by his entire family, mostly because he is.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Being, essentially orc-werewolves, the Grol consider human beings to be a fair game for their diet.
  • Knight Templar: Sultae intends to wipe out all of the races of man who she blames for ruining the world.
  • Low Fantasy: The setting has very little magic except for the Sha'Ree's artifacts and these are enough to change the balance of power in the world.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Part of the series' appeal is the violent way Arrin dispatches his supernatural opponents.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Sul'tae is the party responsible for all the various The Horde types getting an endless supply of magical weapons.
  • Master Swordsman: Arrin is one of these, capable of taking on whole squadrons of Grol by himself. The magic collar helps.
  • Nay-Theist: A realistic example. Domor doesn't disbelieve in Ree but doesn't believe she does anything to affect the world. Making him a fantasy Deist. He's right, too.
  • Our Elves Are Different: The Sha'Ree are an Actual Pacifist race with NO ears rather than pointy ones. They're also an Actual Pacifist species and super-mages who are a Physical God race too.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: The Grol are a race of savage wolfmen who are still every bit as nasty, brutal, and mean as their Tolkien counterparts.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The Grol have the qualities of both orcs as well as wolfmen, though they don't shapeshift and are highly intelligent.
  • Mordor: The Dead Lands are a place nothing grows and considered something of a physical hell.
  • Physical God: The Sha'Ree have elements of this, having been created by Ree in order to serve as an intermediary species.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: Jerul is all about the worship of Ree in all things and is a certifiable badass.
  • Regent for Life: Prince Olenn has this position in Lathah due to his father, the King, suffering dementia.
  • Savage Wolves: The motif is in full-force with the Grol.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Arrin has been pining for Malya for fifteen years with no thought to any other woman. He doesn't stop to think she might have moved on in the meantime, unlike him. Afterward, he starts loosening up.
  • Starcrossed Lovers: Malya and Arrin are this, given she's a Princess and he's a soldier.
  • Surprise Pregnancy: The Princess' one by Arrin results in his becoming The Exile.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Sultae is responsible for the invasions of the human kingdoms.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Arrin knows the only way he'll be able to get a meeting with the Prince to warn him about the Grol threat is if he turns himself in, so the Prince can execute him personally for defiling his sister. Doubles as Refuge in Audacity and Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Uptown Girl: You can't get more uptown than a Princess with a lowly guard. Well, maybe Aladdin, but this is not that far.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Sultae is arming all of the aggressive evil kingdoms with magical weapons so they'll exterminate the non-evil ones and then turn on each other.
  • Wolf Man: What the Grol appear to be.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Prince Ollen is believed to be this by his father and sister. Which is why they hide the Princess' child by Arrin far-far away.

     Embers of an Age 

  • Ax-Crazy: Sultae is completely nuts. Just look at the other examples if you want to see how.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Downplayed Trope example with the Sha'Ree. Their secondary sexual characteristics are very small.
  • Category Traitor: Sultae views every single Sha'Ree but herself to be one of these.
  • Character Death: Jerul perishes protecting Arrin.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Sultae subjects Zalee to this in front of Domor.
  • Dirty Coward: Prince Olenn is revealed to be this by escaping the city he refused to evacuate due to his belief the Grol couldn't take it. Also, he's a hypocrite. Worse, his secret route could have been used to evacuate the entire city.
  • The Dragon: Warlord Vorrul is revealed to be nothing more than this to Sultae and isn't very happy about it either.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Sha'Ree were dying of a horrific plague which caused them horrible deformities and death. It turned out to be from magic overuse with impure metals. In effect, they were suffering radiation sickness.
  • Fantastic Racism: Arrin's hatred for the Grol reaches genocidal proportions, not that you can truly blame him. We also discover Sultae intends nothing less than the death of all races other than the Ree.
  • Final Solution: Sultae plans this for all non-Ree. Arrin decides it is the only way to deal with the Grol.
  • The Fundamentalist: Sultae is a believer that Ree will only be healed with the destruction of the other races.
  • Genocide Backfire: An unusual and dark example as it applies to an entire race. The Lathah decide they want to kill all of the Grol for their attempts to wipe them out. They succeed.
  • Guilt-Free Extermination War: Played with. Arrin and the Lathah don't feel any guilt for planning on destroying the Grol. The reader, however, is left to determine if they're actions are justified given the Tolen are right next to them and show the Grol can be something more.
  • Kick the Dog: Prince Olenn has several moments of this ranging from threatening to murder his sister's children, revealing he could have evacuated Lathah all the time like he did himself, and then killing his father.
  • Knight Templar: Sultae's motivations are religious in nature, combined with a healthy dose of Fantastic Racism.
  • Insane Troll Logic: How being exiled into the wilderness to die by her people leads to needing all other races to die. Lampshaded by Zalee when she tries to talk some sense into Sultae.
  • Lensman Arms Race: What the war becomes. The only hope for humanity and its allies is to get the same sort of weapons their enemies now possess.
  • Mangst: Arrin suffers this over the believed death of his child as well as his lover having moved on.
  • Modest Royalty: Braelyn turns out to be this.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The reason Sultae has begun her genocidal plans? Because she and a bunch of other Sha'Ree were exiled to die in the wilderness because of plague which, it turns out, they didn't even really have. She became a religious fundamentalist with a hatred for all non-Ree life during her time in the wilds.
  • The Quisling: Subverted by Prince Olenn. You think he's going to betray humanity out of a misguided effort to save himself but, in fact, it's all part of a larger effort to defeat the Grol.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Arrin is less interested in finding a way for his people to survive than avenging his child (who he never met and, in actuality, isn't dead).
  • Torture Always Works: Subverted by Domor in that he breaks not because of the torture but because of what he saw done to someone else (who didn't break).
  • Self-Made Orphan: Prince Olenn becomes King Olenn this way.
  • The Starscream: Warlord Vorrul plans to do this to Sultae but is way-way out of his league.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Prince Olenn becomes one of these by securing the release of his people from Grol custody by betraying Arrin's location to them.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Olenn makes it very clear he's entirely willing to do this in order to keep his sister under control.

  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Uthul does this and becomes the new spirit of the land—maybe.
  • Asshole Victim: Olenn is this to no one's surprise.
  • Adam and Eve Plot: Sultae has the plan to breed a new race of Sha'Ree with Tyreh. The fact he is unwilling doesn't matter.
  • The Alcoholic: Domor becomes one of these, albeit a good-natured one, after the events of the book.
  • Antihero: Olenn's plans go completely to shit as soon as it becomes clear that Braelyn doesn't really care about Malya or her family any more than any other of the nameless masses she's trying to protect.
  • Apocalypse How: Ahreele is swept clean of all life by a series of volcanoes and earthquakes. The only survivors are those who flee to other lands.
  • Babies Ever After: Ellora has this as her happy ending.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Ahreele is destroyed but the Tolen, Pathra, and Lathah refugees all successfully evacuate to a new homeland. Is an Earn Your Happy Ending for some characters and a Downer Ending for others.
  • Character Death: Arrin is killed by King Olenn.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: It's implied Olenn is subjected to this before he's killed.
  • Dirty Coward: Olenn remains this right up until the end.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: Subverted as everyone reacts to Tyreh as if he's been held prisoner and repeatedly raped by Sultae because, well, he has.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: More or less what happens to Ahreele, though it's only the single place which is destroyed.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Downplayed. Malya is saddened by Arrin's death but not especially devastated. As far as she was concerned, their relationship really had ended fifteen years ago.
  • General Failure: No one is surprised when Olenn turns out to be one of these.
  • Generation Xerox: Camron is, apparently, this to Arrin.
  • God Is Dead: The utlimate fate of Ree, which has been happening across three books.
  • Good Old Ways: Loudly mocked by Uthul when he returns to the Sha'Ree.
  • Kirk Summation: Uthul tries this on Sultae but gets pretty much the reactuon you'd expect.
  • Oh, Crap!: Olenn has one of these when Braelyn calmly informs him she doesn't give a crap about his hostages.
  • The Paragon Always Rebels: Uthul becomes this to the Sha'Ree given he's their greatest elder and now telling them the old ways are crap.
  • Ship Sinking: Kirah and Arrin have this happen to them by his death. So does Malya and Arrin's chance of a reconciliation.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!:
    • Braelyn has no particular fear, interest, or care about Olenn, which means he's now a man faced with a superiorly armed army who wants to see him dead for killing their former leader.
    • Camron has one of these to Olenn as well. Olenn's headgames fail utterly when he points out that, while terrible he's killed Arrin, Camron barely knew the man.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Olenn has one when he's captured by Braelyn and her forces.