Brian Staveley draws from the age-old plot of ‘prince thwarted from his rightful place on the throne’. Nothing new there. The story follows three tracks; two princes and their sister. The king sent his two boys away eight years earlier to study, while their sister remained in the palace.
The eldest son and heir to the throne went to a Shin monastery, where he learned about living on the land. His ability to meditate and clear his mind, however, may be his most valuable skill. His brother trained as a soldier in the country’s most elite military service, while their sister negotiated a place among her father’s ministers. The king’s murder sets his children on a quest to punish the murder and regain the throne. But the enemy’s alleys come from all directions and threaten to dispose of the king’s entire family.
Intricacies of setting and personal challenges bring characters to life. Staveley pays as much attention to each prince’s unique training and environment as to their friends, mentors and individual foes. He ratchets up the drama with the return of an ancient species, who possess powers that threaten to destroy the human race.
This is the first book of seven in The Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne.
Brian Staveley is a Master of Descriptions
Staveley writes details into every facet of his story. Although appropriate to each scene, setting details fill lengthy paragraphs. This makes it a long read. Details get the reader oriented to the world, but if you don’t like long paragraphs, they may signal a time to skim.
For a review of the entire series check out BestFantasyBooks.com.The Emperor's Blades (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, #1) by Brian Staveley
Published by Tor Books on January 14th 2014
Book one in an epic fantasy of intrigue and empire, for fans of George R. R. Martin and Douglas Hulick.
The circle is closing. The stakes are high. And old truths will live again . . .
The Emperor has been murdered, leaving the Annurian Empire in turmoil. Now his progeny must bury their grief and prepare to unmask a conspiracy.
His son Valyn, training for the empire’s deadliest fighting force, hears the news an ocean away. He expected a challenge, but after several ‘accidents’ and a dying soldier’s warning, he realizes his life is also in danger. Yet before Valyn can take action, he must survive the mercenaries’ brutal final initiation.
Meanwhile, the Emperor’s daughter, Minister Adare, hunts her father’s murderer in the capital itself. Court politics can be fatal, but she needs justice. And Kaden, heir to an empire, studies in a remote monastery. Here, the Blank God’s disciples teach their harsh ways – which Kaden must master to unlock their ancient powers. When an imperial delegation arrives, he’s learnt enough to perceive evil intent. But will this keep him alive, as long-hidden powers make their move?