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Knife Sworn (Tower and Knife Trilogy) Hardcover – 13 Nov 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 307 pages
  • Publisher: Night Shade Books (13 Nov. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597803863
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597803861
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 16 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,166,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Near-sublime hallucinatory passages that truly transport the reader' Starburst.

'A solid sequel in a marvellous trilogy of high fantasy ... Williams is a wonderful author and fans of epic fantasy will love this magical, character-driven trilogy' The Ranting Dragon.

'A game changer' Speculating Spec Fic. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

After a lifetime locked in his tower room, Sarmin has come into his own. He is the crowned emperor; he has wed Mesema of the horse tribes; the Pattern-Master is dead. Everything should be happy-ever-after. But war ignites in the north, and in the palace, Sarmin's new baby brother is seen as a threat to Mesema's unborn child. Scheming courtiers surround the Petal Throne, and when a peace envoy is invited, their plots blossom. Sarmin has no royal assassin as proof against their treachery: no one to whom he can give the twisted Knife. Those whom Sarmin saved from the Pattern-Master's curse, unsure how to live without the Many, turn to Mogyrk, the god of their ancient foe, for comfort. And Sarmin has not been left alone: the remnants of the Many haunt his thoughts; he hears their voices in the darkness of his room. The worst damage left by the Pattern-Master is about to take Sarmin unawares...

--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TOMunro on 2 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not just the first book I've finished in 2014, but the first fantasy book I've finished in a while.

I had been struggling my way through books by two different writers. Such towering figures within the genre that my travails of readership left me wondering "is it me?" So I turned at last to Knife Sworn book two in Mazarkis William's trilogy and found at last a book that could have me turning the pages in eagerness to see what happened next, yet still determined to make sure I caught every word.

In the Emperor's Knife I had been intriged by the world Mazarkis had imagined - a Cerani Empire built on rigid hierarchies and the most absolute of absolute monarchies. It had at once the air of mystery bound by threads so familiar they felt like strands of our own history.

In Knifesworn the world building is complete from a reader's perspective and the story plunges abruptly into themes of world destruction as the Emperor Sarmin finds threats of every kind assail him from without and from within to the point where even the one person he should be most sure of turns out to be the one most likely to betray him.

The theme of "the pattern" from the Emperor's knife is revisited and developed. I liked the idea that there had been a kind of value in the way that the pattern bound people together in a collaborative entity which leaves some survivors bereft and lonely. It put me in mind of my dim grasp of William Blake's railing against the imprisonment of man in the mental prison of his own individuality sampling the world through five imperfect senses.

The magic and the mystery are not laboured; Mazarkis Williams offers no lectures on her world's systems, no disconcerting authorial asides to the reader.
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Format: Paperback
Knife Sworn is the second book in the Tower & Knife series and the middle book of a trilogy. As such it had a tall order in front of it; it had to live up to the first book and keep the narrative going so there will be a strong draw back for the third book. And of course, it has to avoid middle-book-syndrome. And people wonder why writing that second book is harder than writing the first! So you'll be glad to know that Knife Sworn did the first and the second and was relatively successful at avoiding the last. I was quite pleased with how Williams continued the story after the relatively self-contained The Emperor's Knife and the book's ending definitely left me eager to start the final book. However, while it wasn't less action-packed, slower-paced or only a bridge between book one and book three, Knife Sworn certainly doesn't stand on its own; one could read it without having read the first book, but you'd miss a lot of background and the story doesn't have as satisfying an ending as The Emperor's Knife. Still, Knife Sworn is a very enjoyable read and shows Williams' growth as an author quite well.

The book features different points of view than the previous one. Sarmin makes a return, and we get new viewpoints from Grada, Rushes and Nessaket. Which means this time we get three women and one man, whereas last time it was one woman and three men. I do have to say I missed Mesema's point of view in this book, as I'd come to care for her and I was sad to only see her at a remove in this book. On the other hand, I really enjoyed Rushes' and Grada's story arcs and I appreciated getting to know Nessaket better and seeing what makes her tick.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After Emperor's Knife, an amusing romp with an original twist, that benefits from the feminine touch (even if the male characters are somewhat two-dimensional), the switch to full-blown 'chick-lit' comes as something of a surprise. From a personal point of view, I found it disappointing that the second novel deviated in style quite so much. I am not a huge fan of books that devote whole chapters to individual characters, and the book starts with successive chapters on four characters (all female), only two of which one actually cares about.

The author's style is competent, and perfectly readable when the storyline is gripping, but is not sufficient to carry the change of style and pace of this second volume.
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