Stands a Shadow, by Col Buchanan, is the first book I that I have read this year )which goes to show the dearth of my reading thus far in 2014). It didn't take me long as I read it quickly - primarily because I found it thoroughly engrossing.
Following on from Farlander, the first in his the Heart of the World series, this book concentrates on Ash (the Farlander Roshun of the first book) in the wake of the tumultuous events in book 1. The story flits between Ash and three other main protaganists: Che - the ex-Roshun Diplomat for the all-conquering Empire of Mann, General Creed - the Lord Protector of the invaded Bar-Khos and Curl - prostitute come Special serving in the Bar-Khosian army. Other characters appear, the story neatly flitting from one to another, showing the extent and breadth of the conflict involved. Ash and Che are particularly well drawn, although Curl and Creed felt very slightly underdeveloped, although that may change in coming books.
I enjoyed it, the world-building is generally excellent and the characters and story engaging. A very good second book.
Stands a Shadow - Col Buchanan ISBN 0-7653-3106-3