Monday, September 29, 2014

Book Review: The Falcon Throne

The Falcon Throne
Published By: Hachette Australia
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
Page Count: 512
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher
Genre: Adult Fantasy

The Falcon Throne is described as an epic fantasy, and epic it is in scope and size. This first book in The Tarnished Crown series follows the fortunes of the would-be-rulers of the former kingdom of Harcia, now split into two Duchies – Harcia and Clemen. Although at peace, tensions run high between the two lands, and the border between them, known as the Marches, sees its share of skirmishes. 

 As the story begins, the lords of Clemen are tired of the excesses of their Duke, Harald, and are gathering behind his illegitimate cousin, Roric, to stage a coup. Duke Aimery of Harcia still mourns the loss of his eldest son and heir, Malcom, and worries that his second son, Balfre, is not suited to the role. His youngest son Grefin shows much more promise, but won’t usurp his brother’s inheritance. Berardine of Cassinia seeks a royal match for her young daughter, but as a woman she is subject to the whims of the Regents who rule the island. In the Marches, and innkeeper takes in a desperate young girl and her infant brother, not knowing that the boy is the rightful Duke of Clemen and will turn her life upside down. 

What follows is two decades of political scheming, border skirmishes and outright war, aided by the witch Izusa, following the directions of the mysterious Salimbene who has his own agenda. 

 This is not a quick read, it took me several weeks to get through. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it, I found myself caught up in the story and was keen to discover the outcome, but with so many intertwined stories, it is a demanding read. 

 Fans of George R.R. Martin, Robert Jordan and other such writers of epic fantasy will find much to like here. This is a grand and ambitious story that unfolds slowly, but surely. There are several time jumps which I found slightly disconcerting, but overall I found it a compelling read. 

 Recommended for readers 18 and over due to frequent coarse language, violence and sexual imagery.

In the distant past, the Kingdom of Harcia was torn apart by royal brothers who could not accept a lesser inheritance. Now, the consequences of their actions are coming to light.

Balfre, son of Aimery, Duke of Harcia, is his father's heir. But he has dreams of a crown, not a coronet. He dreams himself the king of a Harcia re-united, but his brother Grefin, their father's favorite, stands in his way. 

Harald, debauched Duke of neighboring Clemen, is feared and despised by his nobles. He thinks he can trust his bastard-born cousin Ederic ... but Ederic fears for the duchy and will do what he must to save it.

And caught between dangers is Harald's infant son, Liam. Stolen by his nurse, vanished into the lawless Marches, he is the spark that will grow to set the world on fire.

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