This book is touted as Game of Thrones meets Gladiator and I have to say there was some of the former but a whole, whole lot of the latter.
If you like scenes filled with fight after fight after fight - add in a few skirmishes and a couple of full scale battles - even a siege - well this is the book for you!
The main character that we follow for the majority of the book is Tau, a young fellow who after a violent tragedy changes his life, goes on a path of vengeance that includes him becoming the greatest swordsman of his time. And we see just about all the matches/battles/skirmishes that take him there.
Yes, there's magic. There are dragons. There is some terrific world-building - a fantasy world that is more African than anything else. There's a bit of romance. There are some intricate politics that I would have liked to have seen from another POV. But my favourite parts of the book were where Tau and his sword-brothers begin their relationships and then grow them. Found family stuff, really. And that's a catnip of mine.
So, this highly touted book was good, but not great for me. Far too much fighting and not enough of the characters out of the ring. I'm hopeful, though, that the next book will have more of politics, the magic and the dragons! Oh, and that cover! GORGEOUS!