There is a cancer at the heart of the mighty Cerani Empire: a plague that marks each victim with a fragment of a greater design. Geometric patterns spread across the skin, until the victim dies in agony or becomes a Carrier, doing the bidding of an evil intelligence. The lost prince Sarmin, the emperor's only surviving brother, lies locked in a hidden room. As the pattern draws closer to the palace he is at last remembered: now he awaits a bride, Mesema, a Windreader from the northern plains.
She is accustomed to riding free across the grasslands and finds the Imperial Court stifling, but she soon realizes the politicking is not a game. It is deadly earnest. Eyul, the imperial assassin, is burdened by the atrocities he has committed. As commanded, he bears the emperor's Knife to the desert in search of a cure for the pattern-markings.
As long-planned conspiracies boil over into open violence, the enemy moves towards victory. Now only three people stand in his way: a lost prince, a world-weary killer, and a young girl from the steppes who saw a path in a pattern once, among the waving grasses.
©2011 Mazarkis Williams (P)2013 Audible Inc.
the reasonable reviewer
Someone who enjoys less fantasy, but more original content in stories regardless of how interesting the authentic content is.
My reaction was satisfactory, but the ending was not interesting enough for me to acquire book 2.
Paul Boehmer was excellent as always. He is one of the best for narrative fantasies in my opinion.
I would cut the emperor (I forget his exact name) that was on the throne, after all his brothers were murdered except Sarmin. He as emperor did not factor heavily into the overall story enough for me to consider him important, even though he was crucial to its ending.
The Emperor's Knife is a decent story, with an original twist upon classic fantasy novels, but the plot overall is not compelling. I think the author should have developed two key characters more than anything else: The Pattern Master and holder of the Emperor's Knife itself. These two essential figures of the story we learn virtually nothing about during the story's delivery and only very little in the end.
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