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!
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.
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.
I am enjoying this series very much. One of the main characters is such a sad character and such an idiot and so naive, it is hard to believe that a series of books, a really good series of books, is centered in large part on his actions.
Among the top.
There is a lot going on in this series but it is so well written it is easy to keep track of. Wonderful book.
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