Chris Schonberger
September 07, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

As winter arrives, the world is at a crossroads. Rifts among the True Bloods are exacerbated by return of the exiled Black Road armies, setting the scene for an apocalyptic power to rise in Winterbirth.

For Fans of… Heroic fantasy splashed with 300-style gore.

Bottom Line An emphasis on racial division and religious fanaticism can feel heavy-handed, but Brian Ruckley’s realistic characters and sparing use of magic breathe new life into well-trod epic territory. B+

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