Her characters are well drawn and beautifully portrayed by the author. It is incredibly easy for the reader to identify with and cheer on the characters in the eternal battle of good versus evil. The evl in this story is represented by the ruler of the land King Mercia and the good, by his long-suffering, battle-hardened, warrior Queen, Kasnata. This is an epic story that takes us from Mercia's home castle, where revolution is fermenting in the city's underground to the battle-field of the nine kingdoms.
One thing I particularly liked about the author's treatment of her characters was her willingness to sacrifice beloved and warm characters on the pyre of moving the story along. I thoroughly enjoyed this tale and if the first job of any first book of a series is to invest the reader in the desire to read more, then all I can say to Woolley is job done! I want desperately to read the next book in this series and discover what has become of my beloved characters.
I guess, for me, if there is a negative to be found, it is the one I always find when reading a tale where the author has created a new and exciting world to explore and that is character's names. Initially, I had some difficulty remembering who was who, with some of their odd sounding names. Although I overcame that the further I read, one thing did continue to dog me throughout the story. The female names were to me anyway, not always distinctly feminine and I would be searching for the next personal pronoun to assure myself whether this General was indeed a woman, or a man. A small point and certainly not one that detracted from my pleasure in reading this wonderful story.
As you may have guessed, I loved it and have no hesitation in awarding the five stars it richly deserves. Now, to find the second book and enjoy that one just as much. Excellent stuff C.S. Woolley.
You can check out all C.S. Woolley's work here: http://amzn.to/1nr8Wio