This exciting and very well written book is a standalone about the war between two neighboring countries that used to be friendly to and allied with each other. The king of one country gets assassinated and a parliament is created that declares war on the other country which is still a monarchy. The war goes on and on and is a conflict of attrition for both sides as neither can win or lose. The protagonist is a young woman of the monarchy country who sees her friends, neighbors and family members swept up in draft after draft until there are no more men or boys left. Then the king turns his eye on the women. The book follows Emily from her minor royalty homestead to the war. She could avoid going by sending instead one of the servants as the other prominent houses do, but she is courageous and fair and although scared to death, she goes to war for her king. She thus stands out as the lone noble to accept her lot as a common soldier. This book is a thrilling, continuous action story that delves deeply into the psyche of the soldiers forced to fight in incredibly hostile circumstances. We see unlikely heroes step up and seemingly brave nobles exposed as frauds and cowards. Emily is a very compelling character who changes those around her as she is changed by the deadly circumstances she has been forced into. It is also an expansive look at war from the common soldiers' viewpoint, and character development is as well done as the thrill a minute page turning battles that come very often. The world in which they have to fight and survive is unrelentingly harsh and the author uses it to lay a dismal cloak over the entire story. The surprisingly heartwarming commeraderie of the soldiers varies the otherwise bleak tale. I could not put this book down once I started it. It just sucks you in and you have to know what will happen to Emily and her fellow soldiers. The battles scenes are page turning frenzies. Oh, and there is some magic as well, as the Warlocks fighting for the King have a major impact in the fighting but less of a role in the storyline. My rating is 9.9/10.