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The Fall of the Kings (Riverside) Mass Market Paperback – Oct 2003

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The Fall of the Kings (Riverside) + Swordspoint: A Melodrama of Manners + The Privilege of the Sword
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reissue edition (Oct. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553585940
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553585940
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 2.7 x 17.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 332,677 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Ellen Kushner (1955- ) Ellen Kushner is the author of World Fantasy Award-winner Thomas the Rhymer, and 'Swords of Riverside' comprising the interconnected novels Swordspoint, The Privilege of the Sword, and The Fall of the Kings (with Delia Sherman). She narrated these as audiobooks for Neil Gaiman Presents, winning an Audie Award for Swordspoint. She has taught creative writing at Clarion, the Odyssey Workshop, and is an instructor at Hollins University's Children's Literature M.F.A. program. She lives in New York City with Delia Sherman and far too many books. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 Aug. 2003
Format: Paperback
I've been waiting for this book for what seems like years. Time and again the author promised a sequel to the wonderful Swordspoint and then didn't deliver. But now Kushner has bowed to the pleadings of her fans and published The Fall of the Kings.
And what a disappointment. For starters the book is far too long. Length would be fine if it was used to either advance the plot or build dramatic tension. In this case Kushner does neither. We are treated to agonisingly long descriptive scenes which lead us nowhere. Yes, the language is pretty enough but thats no substitute for plot or character development.
Since the character development is so flimsy we are left with a host of similar characters whose only distinguishing features are their names. Unlike Swordspoint we don't really get to undersatnd their lives, motives and thoughts in a cohesive way.
In terms of plot the big final 'action' scene of the novel is flat and dull. Focusing too much on the language to the detriment of the action Kushner fails to make these important scenes exciting or thought provoking.
Although I've given the novel a 3 star rating I think that's more due to nostalgia over her previous novels than praise for thisone.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ventura Angelo on 19 Mar. 2003
Format: Paperback
Set in the same alternate reality of Swordspoint,this book delves deeply in the history of the town who has seen the adventures of Richard StVier and Alec. The action is centered at the University,where Doctor Basil StCloud, insists investigating history and ancient documents at the cost of subverting established facts and dogmas. He clashes whit a Dr.Crabbe, a crabby indeed antirevisionist who states that all is already known and no further research is necessary. Historical research on the early monarchs will lead to the discovery of the archaic and mystic roots of their civilization, but the revival of ancient customs and myths through learning and the love for the young,undisciplined aristocrat Theron will lead to unforeseen consequences. The novel is magnificently written, the charachters of Basil St Cloud, Lord Theron his lover,and of the colleagues and students , aristocrats, dames and children, young nobles, politics and plotters, are wonderfully portrayed. This strange society is so poignantly depicted that we could swear to be there, amid quarrelling students,in crowded classrooms, at familiar gatherings. This book blends the humanity of Dickens and the witty dialogue of Oscar Wilde...and the dark fascination for ancient myths of Algernon Blacwood. You'll love this book. It's all books like "A secret History" by Donna Tartt wanted to be.In " The fall of the Kings" the reader,like Basil St Cloud, shall be intrigued by the ghosts of past archaic rites, and shall wonder on the eredity the past leaves to the present, even when the present wants to reject it.
This is indeed a great book.
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By Se Wardell-yerburgh on 18 Jun. 2015
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Really enjoying the political fantasy this book gives us. Its quite different from the two books before in the series, but I think it works well and I would definitely give it five stars. Also Love the cover!!
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Jan. 2005
Format: Paperback
Well that was 7 hours of my life COMPLETELY wasted. Most of the book was fine, if a bit long-winded sometimes. But the ending sucked. I didn't feel like the author resolved the story in a satisfactory manner. After reading the last page, I thought, "That's it?" It left me feeling like the whole story was pointless.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 37 reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
intriguing, complicated and engrossing 27 Nov. 2002
By A. Rappoport - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
What a lovely book, rich and layered, set in an alternate universe witout the usual cliches, it feels familiar and strange at the same time. I loved Swordspoint and Thomas the Rhymer, and this is a great successor. The people, heroes and anti-heroes alike, are treated sympathetically through the course of the book, and even the minor characters are intriguing and surprising. I'm not usually a fan of atmospheric novels, but this one worked beautifully. It also has enough plot and witty dialog and character development to keep me reading until *way* past my bedtime.
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
A worthy sequel to Swordspoint! 9 Nov. 2002
By "spellbound-i" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Wow. I waited several weeks for an unfilled order for this book at [a store] and finally gave up, going to Amazon.com in desperation. My copy arrived yesterday and I was awake until 3:00 AM reading this delicious, sexy, thrilling, magical tale that I literally could not put down for hours! The son of the memorable Alec, late of "Swordspoint", is the focus of this story, a handsome, dissolute young lordling, (clever and witty, but not so caustic as his father) who attends the famous University and falls for a young professor. The professor has been researching the ancient tales of the kings and their wizards, their relationships, and their power struggles. The magical legends, believed to be full of fanciful notions of mysticism, appear to be coming back to life in the world with young Theron Campion, the noble, and his professor reliving the ancient roles of the kings and wizards before them. This book is beautifully written, darker and sexier than "Swordspoint", and just as thrilling and new. I LOVED this book. Seek out the comic book series (yes, comic book) "A Distant Soil", issue #29, for a short story by Delia Sherman entitled "The Tragedy of King Alexander the Stag" for an original, nowhere else published story of the Kings and Wizards of the "Swordspoint" world. I can't recommend this book enough.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
A treat for all the senses 17 Nov. 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman's The Fall of the Kings is a worthy sequel to Kushner's earlier Swordspoint. The excitement is there, the political intrigue, the food (pickled cherries!), and most of all, what people do to one another.
Get the hot chocolate out and enjoy this bawdy, intellectually stimulating novel of love and betrayal.
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
A Wonderful Return to a Familiar Place 20 Dec. 2002
By The Fountain Pen Diva - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
'Swordspoint', a little gem of a novel, is a book I enjoy re-reading and have never grown tired of. Though short, it is an elegantly witty work of high fantasy with characters I came to love.
Now, Ellen Kushner and her partner, Delia Sherman, have once again delighted my literary palate with 'The Fall of the Kings'. This novel is as rich as a Pre-Raphaelite painting, full of lush hues and romantic themes.
'The Fall of the Kings' is full of so many multifacted characters to love, to dislike and to ardently sigh over--Theron, the wonderfully charming, decadent, shamelessly self-indulgent, warm and idealistic son of Alec, from 'Swordspoint'; Basil St. Cloud, the handsome and charismatic young scholar with his longing for truth and passion for the past--and for Theron; The Lady Sophia could easily give her ancestress, Diane of Tramontaine a good fight. Where Diane's motivations were more mysterious, Sophia is quite open when it comes to wielding power. And of course, who could forget Theron's sister, Lady Jessica, the beautiful and ruthless pirate queen.
Even the ghost of Richard St. Vier makes a small spectral appearance.
Add to this heady mix raucous university students, dueling professors, hidebound scholars, men in elegant frocks, women in shimmering gowns, a heartless paintrix, ancient lore and buried secrets, and 'The Fall of the Kings' becomes the kind of novel that envelopes you in its many layers.
Like 'Swordspoint', the eroticism is subtle, allowing the reader to savor the intimate moments between Theron and Basil. Kushner and Sherman do not go into details, and as excellent storytellers, they do not need to.
'The Fall of the Kings' is another masterwork of high fantasy--a world that once visited is very hard to forget.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Gorgeous and Elegant 20 Nov. 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I've been waiting for years for a sequel to Swordspoint and was thrilled to finally read Fall of the Kings. It is as lush, gorgeous, thrilling, and witty as its predecessor, while exploring darker and richer territory. Sherman and Kushner manage to find the perfect word, the just-right phrase to catch the reader off-guard again and again. Like a fine chocolate, it is impossible to convey the sensual enjoyment, the delicious combination of bitter and sweet, the sheer delight that is Fall of the Kings. I can't recommend this book highly enough.
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