Age of Myth - the Legend of the First Empire series begins
The Age of Myth kicks off a new series from Michael J. Sullivan and it takes place thousands of years before the excellent Riyria Chronicles. The Fhrey are a race of elves with a 3 thousand year long lifespan, although their numbers are rather limited, and the humans have worshipped them as gods for as long as anyone can remember. The humans, known as Rhunes, are rather backwards when compared with the Fhrey, but they do multiply at a much higher rate. This is why the Fhrey ensure that the Rhune numbers are kept in check by keeping the various clans constantly at war with other. All of it adds up to a that life is full of hardship for the various human clans, including limited food. A lack of local game causes Herkimer and his son Raithe to risk venturing into Fhrey territory and there they encounter one of their gods, a Fhrey named Shegon. This meeting does not go well for them since they should not be where they are and it is the spark that sets into motion events that make war between the Rhunes and the Fhrey an almost certain outcome.
Of course a war between the Rhunes and the Fhrey would not be much of a fight as the humans do not even have decent weapons, but all is not perfect on the Fhrey side of things either. The Miralyith are the Fhrey tribe that has most recently come into power and they use the "Art" to allow them to wield powerful sorcery to exert their dominance over the other Fhrey. Many Miralyith feel they are above the other Fhrey and this has caused a lot of turmoil within the Fhrey themselves, especially with some of the Instarya. The Instarya are the warrior tribe that lives near the frontier with the Rhunes and when the ruler of the Fhrey orders them to raze the Rhune villages to the ground some of them refuse and side with the humans, thus giving some hope to the Rhunes.
This book spends a lot of time introducing the characters and flushing out the Fhrey and Rhune cultures, which are both very interesting and well done. There are other races in the world of Elan, but this book focuses on just these two for now, leaving the others to be introduced later in the series. Although there are no standout characters like Royce and Hadrian from the Riyria books, there are enough interesting personalities to keep things entertaining and it is a promising start to the series. The audiobook is narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds and he is one of the best so it makes for a great listen as well.