A Review of The Brother’s War

The Brother’s War Review

The Brother’s War, a powerful fantasy novel based on the trading card game Magic the Gathering by Jeff Grubb tells a story of epic warfare, betrayal, love, and the dark side of ambition. It transformed the fictional world of Terisaire as well as those of the two brothers who fought for it, Urza and Mishra, and those around them. Set in an age of unrest between two races of people and the quest for power, the two brothers Urza and Mishra battled each other for ultimate control of Terisaire and each determined to kill the other.
The story begins with Urza and Mishra becoming apprentices to the archaeologist and artificer Tocasia. In the novel, Jeff Grubb used a lot of detail to describe the main characters. He described Urza as a “thin and tall man, with blonde hair,” while Mishra is broad and tall, with black hair. Both of them spent their early teenage years with Tocasia, but after Urza discovered the Mightstone and Mishra, the Weakstone, the two brother killed Tocasia and each went their separate ways. It is this moment that the two brothers would begin their quest for supremacy.

As time progressed, both brothers came to influence a faction. Urza married the daughter of the Warlord of Yotia and became the Chief Artificer, while Mishra became the Wizard for the Fallaji tribes. Both used their influence over the rulers to achieve their own goals, which was to defeat each other.

However Urza married the Warlord’s daughter not because he really loves her, but it was for power and to make machines for the nation. For most of the marriage, Urza neglected his wife to the point that she slept with Mishra, who was his worst enemy.

­­The real battle would not begin until the Warlord betrayed Urza and attempted to kill Mishra. This “betrayal” escalated the war further and when Urza told Mishra to stop it, Mishra said, “So you can betray us again?” From that point on, the two brothers would never trust each again, each fearing that the other would grow stronger and betray them.

Years passed and the two grew even stronger. Mishra united the Fallaji tribes while Urza became the Lord Protector of three great empires in the north. Mishra enlisted the help of the Priests of Gix, who controlled many machines and are half-machines themselves. With their help, Mishra launched a deadly raid into Yotia and in a single stroke took the whole empire.

The final battle, however, would not occur until years into the conflict, when the two opposing armies gathered on the island of Argive. Jeff Grubb described it as, “The night the world ended.” The description of the battlefield is “gloomy and dark.” The two armies “gathered at opposite ends over the dead bodies of elves and trees.” Jeff paints a picture of how the battlefield looks like and it is easy for readers to understand and picture it.

Mishra attacked Urza but fires on his clothe burned his skin and revealed what was inside. To Urza’s horror, Mishra’s internal organs had been replaced by machines and his blood is replaced by oil. Mishra had been consumed by the very machines he had created. When he saw what Mishra had become, he was sure that his brother was gone and he was determined to destroy the abomination that was now his “brother.”

Using a powerful artifact known as the Sylex, Urza destroyed his brother, both armies, and shattered the island of Argive. The rage, pain, memories, and power flowed through him and he ascended into a planeswalker, a near-god being who has the power to travel to different planets (or planes). The novel ends with Urza leaving the land and snow falling, paving the way for future novels in this series.

Overall, I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars and recommend other readers to read this. The author Jeff Grubb wrote a book with a perfect plot and a detailed description of characters, locations, and events; and most of the times it is easy for readers to understand. You do not have to play

Magic the Gathering to understand this story, and that is what makes this book interesting. However at certain points the book tends to go confusing because there is a great amount of detail, and sometimes it confuses the reader. Also it is not recommended to skip any chapters in the book, as each chapter ties in with the next.

In The Brothers’ War, Jeff Grubb paints a picture of how ambition and the lust power can destroy both men and land alike. Forces that even threatens our world today.


Grubb, Jeff. The Brother’s War. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 1998

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