“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, where we spotlight the forthcoming books we’re excited about.
When I read Gameboard of the Gods last year, I gave it a somewhat mixed review. A slow start and an unaccountable blindness on the part of the presumably brilliant male main character marred (for me) the otherwise excellent writing and intriguing world-building. At the time, I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to read the next book.
But then a funny thing happened: the characters and the story stayed with me and even grew on me. I found myself wondering, at odd moments through the year, what was going to happen to them next. And I realized that while I might have had a few quibbles with the first novel, there was something very compelling about it. In short, I was going to have to read book two… and I was getting more and more excited about it!
Gameboard of the Gods introduced religious investigator Justin March and Mae Koskinen, the beautiful supersoldier assigned to protect him. Together they have been charged with investigating reports of the supernatural and the return of the gods, both inside the Republic of United North America and out. With this highly classified knowledge comes a shocking revelation: Not only are the gods vying for human control, but the elect—special humans marked by the divine—are turning against one another in bloody fashion.
Their mission takes a new twist when they are assigned to a diplomatic delegation headed by Lucian Darling, Justin’s old friend and rival, going into Arcadia, the RUNA’s dangerous neighboring country. Here, in a society where women are commodities and religion is intertwined with government, Justin discovers powerful forces at work, even as he struggles to come to terms with his own reluctantly acquired deity.
Meanwhile, Mae—grudgingly posing as Justin’s concubine—has a secret mission of her own: finding the illegitimate niece her family smuggled away years ago. But with Justin and Mae resisting the resurgence of the gods in Arcadia, a reporter’s connection with someone close to Justin back home threatens to expose their mission—and with it the divine forces the government is determined to keep secret.