I read this book as a beta and ended up disappointing/exasperating/something-ing the author with the brevity of my comments. And that's because I really didn't have a lot to say other than "Damn dude, nice job". The Imbued Lockblade carries on from the events of The Woven Ring, Presley's debut book. It is set in a reimagined Civil War period with a fun, almost anime-ish magic system that lends itself well to action scenes, and follows three antiheroic types trying to keep a young girl safe - although maybe not always for the best of reasons. The author has two narratives - one following the action of keeping the girl safe in the 'now', the other tracing the journey one of the characters took to become the person they are. In The Imbued Lockblade, that central character is Luca - a good humoured rogue with the self-assurance and morals of a cat. The mix works well here thanks to great pacing and storytelling and probably makes the story what it is. The more I think about what he accomplished with them, the more jealous I feel. Previously I'd thought Presley's weakness was his prose, but the dialogue was sharp and fluid. The descriptive text and inner monologue is sometimes a bit stiff, but that does suit the period, and feels less stiff than The Woven Ring. Everything else was, well, a nice job. The characters are particularly worth a shout out; they are somewhat Gemmell-esque to me in that they are heavily flawed yet still affable and believable. His minor characters thrum with life and purpose too. Its possibly a bit much to hope for that Presley jumps forward as much again in ability as he did here in his next book (which was certainly not bad), but that's okay. This level of quality is more than okay with me and deserves a look from anyone.