Acclaimed author Daniel Abraham’s works have been nominated for the Hugo Award and the World Fantasy Award. In this compelling follow-up to The Dragon’s Path, Geder Palliako enjoys high social standing as protector to the crown prince of Antea - but a looming war threatens to change his way of life. Meanwhile, Cithrin bel Sarcour is counting her blessings: long under close surveillance, she hopes a battle will be the opportunity she needs to regain her freedom.
©2012 Daniel Abraham (P)2013 Recorded Books
I'm a big fan of SF/F/Horror, and all things in between and out.
The priests have spiders in their blood.
They worship a goddess that has spend centuries in hiding, “a spider” who blesses them with the power to divine whether or not someone is lying, as well as the ability to speak truth. When you hear them, you believe – despite the circumstances, or whether you have evidence to the contrary, you believe. And so what the priests say comes to pass. They are prophets, and they’re creating self-fulfilling prophecies. Probably.
“Probably” is what’s important. Because what the priests are speaking isn’t actually the truth. It’s a belief made of sincerity, certainty, and absolute conviction. Even if it’s wrong.
If you haven’t checked out Daniel Abraham’s The Dagger and the Coin series, you need to do that ASAP, starting with The Dragon’s Path. It’s epic fantasy, and it does what it says on the tin – it’s full of all the stuff we love about epic fantasy – an incredible cast of characters, magic (albeit a very subtle magic), fantastical creatures, adventure, romance, and most surprisingly – banking. And yet, it grapples with big ideas like forced belief and fundamentalism.
If you’re looking for B&B (Battles & Badasses), there’s some of that but the books are generally more subtle, and instead focus on what’s really special about this series: the characters. Whether it’s ex-soldiers Marcus and Yardem waxing philosophical and theological while collecting a debt (like shades of Jules and Vincent from Pulp Fiction) or banking ingenue Cithrin meeting up with her old friends from an acting troupe, the characters feel like friends you haven’t seen in years, but when you reunite with them, it’s like no times gone by.
Not all of them are heroic – some are monstrous, whether in actions or philosophy, but Abraham doesn’t let us forget they’re humans too, and gets us to empathize with them far easier than we should. Dawson Kalliam’s class-warfare attitudes are despicable, yet the genuine affection he showers on his wife and children is endearing. Geder Palliako was bullied before his unpredictable rise to power, and so when he uses his newly gained positions to keep people from lying ot his face and taking advantage of him, we understand, despite his awful and barbaric actions.
The Dagger and the Coin is one of the best kept secrets in epic fantasy. Unfortunately, the audiobooks aren’t released until about 9 months or so after the print and eBooks come out (which seems to happen as often as not for Recorded Books)…or maybe that’s a good thing? Like The Dragon’s Path, I ended up reading this book, and then listening to it once the audio came out, right in time for The Tyrant’s Law (3 of this 5 book series). There are two reasons for this: 1) Daniel Abraham’s series is just that good (I expect to revisit these books and characters many, many more times, and 2) Pete Bradbury’s narration gives an added gravity to the story that’s phenomenal. Daniel Abraham was born to write SF/F, and Pete Bradbury was born to narrate it.
Let the countdown to The Tyrant’s Law audiobook commence!
Daniel Abraham provides some payoff for all of the foundation work he did in Book 1. All the same characters return and Pete Bradbury once again brings them to life with another excellent narration. With the background firmly established in book one for each of the main characters their storyline all move forward in significant ways and their paths begin to cross.
Geder Palliako and his Spider Goddess zealot allies exert their power and start to bring an ancient prophecy to life while Dawson Kalliam sees through their plans and instead strives to protect Antea from losing itself. With Dawson forever ignoring the potential consequences of his actions, his wife Clara continues to have his back and focuses on ensuring the success of the family. Cithrin starts to come into her own and her odd relationship with Marcus strengthens as their plans take shape. And finally, after the reveal at the end of book 1, Master Kit realizes he is uniquely qualified to stop the events that are unfolding and he must take action.
Despite the fact that Book 1 was a slow listen at times I do not recommend skipping it as it provides essential set up material for this one. If you have already listened to it then it's an easy choice to pick up Book 2 and enjoy the payoff.
While the first book was very good, The King's Blood takes the Dagger and the Coin series to a new level. The book retains the same structure as the first book, with chapters split between the four main characters, as well as few chapters to other characters. This works well to keep the pace of the book entertaining.
This series is not your typical fantasy series, as the usual fairies, elves, and other fantasy creatures are replaced by races of people made in the long lost past by dragons. They vary in type from human to humanoid like people with scales and fur. As with any population with varying races, some are wealthy, and some are victims to prejudice. There is some magic in the series, but it is not a common trait in the book, and is not a quality used by any of the main characters.
This book is driven mainly by the characters, all of whom are likable in their own way, even the villain. My favorite is Cithrin, an orphan girl who is taken in by the local bank branch, and who grows into a powerful bank manager. The other three main characters are Geder, a minor nobel who despite his bumbling nature grows to power, and becomes the villain previously noted. Captain Wester, an ex military general, who takes in Cithirin as replacement for his fallen daughter, and Dawson, a high nobel and adviser to the King, who sees the world as black and white, and is determined to force his will on the country. Also given a few chapters were Clara, Dawson's wife, and Master Kit, a traveling actor who is more than he seems.
Both this book and the Dragon's Path are driven by these characters, and I found myself looking forward to the next chapter to see what they were up to next. While their paths didn't often correspond in the first book, they begin to intertwine in this one as the story begins to take shape.
Overall, this was a very entertaining listen for me, as both the story and the narration were top notch.
As a fantasy fan I am overcome with the 'epicness' of this series. I have the Kindle and audio versions (so far) and give it a re-read at the release of each new book. Each time, I feel the same excitement, despair, hope, anger and everything else that a good story brings.
I love the narration. Pete Bradbury can read for me anytime.
(Posting for all books in the series.)
Fathers Face Remembered
The novel is an amazing piece of storytelling. Characters evolve logically. Moral choices ring true. This is fantasy at its best.
The last half is heart stopping. I couldn't stop towards the end.
To me it just seems like this was made quickly. He isn't awful. Just nothing to make it stand out above the narrators that I love.
King's Blood will run.
Take a chance on this criminally overlooked series. The first one is really good. This second book is even better.
This second instalment of the series really moves things along. Geder continues to be the most intriguing character. He's complicated and you want to like him but he surprises you constantly. Clara is also still my favourite female character. Cythron's storyline is becoming more interesting too.
While very different in feel, I will say to all ASOIAF fans, pick this series up while you wait. It starts slow, but boy, does it suck you in! Also it reminds of ASOIAF in its breath and grand scope. So glad I found this.
I like this series more and more and I very much enjoy Pete Bradbury's naration. He is one the few narrators whose voice I really like and I find him perfectly suited to this series.
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