The Alera Codex: a model for coming together in divisive times

Jim Butcher knows how to tell a cracking good story.

He also knows how to undergird it with a morality that is desperately needed in these divisive times.

furies of calderon

First, I should issue a general spoiler alert, not because I’m going to give away any particular details, but because my general observation may spoil some of the twists in his story. So you may want to stop here and read the whole series for yourself, and then come back to this post. In that case, I’ll give you a general picture before coming to my larger point.

I’m not always up for epic fantasy. I think it is one of the most difficult genres to write really well because the characters can get lost in the trappings of plot and setting. But Jim Butcher writes such believable, well-rounded characters that I immediately get caught up in their stories. Even if you think fantasy isn’t your cup of tea, I urge you to give it a try. Then get back to the rest of this post. The first book is called CALDERON’S FURY.

For those who have already read the entire series and those who are simply curious to read on, consider yourself warned of my general spoiler, the whole reason I’m prompted to write about this particular series of books at this particular time. The hero of our series is a young man named Tavy, whom we first meet as a teenager hoping to escape his rural life. Tavy doesn’t want to flee the countryside because he is bored or has no job prospects, but because in his world, where almost everyone is born with some kind of magical talent, he has absolutely none.

Throughout the series, Tavy consistently makes his way by befriending his enemies. Not all of them, to be sure, and not by giving up his values or objectives.

Rather, he unites with those he has been taught to fear and hate in the interest of working together to fight against a common enemy, for common objectives. And in so doing, they create friendships and a better world.

Not a bad model for our times.


  1. ambfoxx said,

    February 16, 2018 at 7:57 pm

    What an original premise for a fantasy. Not a spoiler, in my opinion. Great to see you reviewing again.

    • Nancy Adams said,

      February 16, 2018 at 10:48 pm

      Thanks, Amber! Yes, Jim Butcher’s popularity is well deserved. Good to hear from you, too.

  2. Elouise said,

    February 19, 2018 at 6:05 pm

    I agree. This isn’t a spoiler! And it’s a brilliant way to show a different approach to ‘the other side.’ I’m so glad to see you’re posting again, Nancy! 🙂

    • Nancy Adams said,

      March 4, 2018 at 11:41 am

      Belated thanks, Elouise! Yes, it is a wonderfully creative way to show how reconciliation might look.

  3. themiddleofmymadness said,

    February 20, 2018 at 9:46 pm

    I will have to get a few of these. I love his Dresden Files books, but I wasn’t sure if I would like these because of the epic nature. I find that most stories of this type are tired retellings of the hero’s journey that don’t allow you to connect to the characters. Thanks for setting me at ease about it. This was a great review.

    • Nancy Adams said,

      March 4, 2018 at 11:45 am

      Hi! I agree with you about so many epic fantasies. It is a hard genre to write really well. Glad to meet a fellow fan of Harry & Co., too. I just love those books! Belated thanks for your kind words about the review.

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