Saturday, June 02, 2007

Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone

Since I've gotten much deeper into The Blood Knight, I should say that this series will almost certainly be declared the best epic/high fantasy series of the modern era. Who will declare this? Well, mostly just me but that's all that really counts anyway. After the first two books set up the world and its many characters, this one delves into some of the history that was hinted at. We also get an explanation of what is going on behind the scenes without actually finding out who the hidden hand is. Anne Dare is becoming the queen she will need to be. Aspar White is tracking down his wife's killer. Stephen Darige, of the Cape Chavel Dariges, has not died but instead become a central character if not the central character. It's all really good stuff.


Fred Charles said...

Which series is this? I probably have it on my bookshelf, lol. I have too many books. Is the Briar King the first book?

I still have yet to find anything to top George R. R Martin's Song of Fire and Ice series.

Scriptorius Rex said...

The Briar King is the first book, followed by the Charnel Prince, The Blood Knight and the forthcoming The Born Queen. It's by Greg Keyes.

I just could not get into George R. R. Martin's series. I got half way through A Storm of Swords and thought it was wordy and overwritten. Much like Tad Williams and To Green Angel Tower.

Seren said...

Though his first appearance in 'The Briar King' was not particularly propitious (if I remember Asper had to rescue him from some very nasty men), I always felt that Stephen was going to be an important character - one of a triumvirate - together with Anne and Aspar in the development of this epic. Indeed, he and Anne seem to be the characters who have most developed and grown in stature as the story has unfurled itself. I enjoyed his first scenes, when, as a callow youth he encountered Aspar in the forest and amused himself writing wry observations of Aspar's behaviour and demeanour, comparing him to a wild animal.
Mr Keyes has thrown Stephen into Death's way more than once in this saga, but he seems to have emerged from these encounters a stronger and wiser man. It seems to me that the possession of mystic powers has accelerated the development of both his and Anne's characters and I wonder how important a part these are going to play in the unfolding drama. Will they be an influence for good or evil?
I foresee Stephen's role to be either the debunking of the authority of the church and revealing the whole structure to be founded on some perfidious lie perpetrated by some malign spirit to keep the natural forces for good from gaining ascendancy - or he could just become the next Praifec with Anne as Empress.
I'm beginning to wonder too if there isn't some moral message implicit in the story relevant to present day society about respecting the forces of nature and not treating them with contempt. Is he also having a shot at the hypocrisies apparent in organised religion vis a vis the corrupting influence of power at the expense of religious belief?

Howard von Darkmoor said...

I shall add this series to my horrendouly enormous To-Be-Read piles if you will add Steven Erikson's The Malazan Book of the Fallen to yours.

I know simply by your statements that you have not read him yet. For, to quote the illustrious voice of someone I just can't place at the moment, "I should say that this series will almost certainly be declared the best epic/high fantasy series of the modern era."

fredcharles said...

I usually don't go for wordy books, but there is something about Martin's books that I enjoy. Did you start with the first book? Jumping into the series would probably not help matters.

I actually have a copy of the Briar King on my shelf. I need something to read now, so I think I will check it out.