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The Assassin King (Symphony of Ages) Hardcover – 26 Dec 2006


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Classics (26 Dec 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765305658
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765305657
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 3.3 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 733,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

The Assassin King opens with the arrival of a mysterious hunter, a man of ancient race and purpose, who endlessly chants the names of the pantheon of demons that are his intended victims, as well as one other: Ysk, the original name of Achmed, the Assassin King of Ylorc. At the same moment, two gatherings of great import are taking place. The first is a convocation of dragons, who gather in a primeval forest gladethe site of the horrific ending of Llauron, one of the last of their kind. They mourn not only his irrevocable death, but also the loss of the lore and control over the Earth itself that it represents. The second gathering is a council of war: Ashe and Rhapsody, rulers of the alliance that protects the Middle Continent; Gwydion, the new Duke of Navarne; Anborn, the Lord Marshall; Achmed, the King of Ylorc, and Grunthor, his Sergeant-Major. Each brings news that form the pieces of a great puzzle. And as each piece is added it becomes quite clear: War is coming, the likes of...

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3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Michael Sutherland VINE VOICE on 23 Nov 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was slightly thrown by this book. Or to be fair, simply finding this book - it's really hard to find in the UK. The cover, as the previous review says, doesn't really match the rest and isn't great. But if you look at Haydon's website, you'll find that the first three books (Rhapsody, Prophecy, Destiny) are a trilogy, then there are two intermediate books, and The Assassin King is the first in a second trilogy - so I don't really see why the previous reviewer thought it was misnamed.

Anyway, the book is a good continuation of the series. Increasingly dire consequences are revealed for the world, new characters come to light, more interesting stuff happens to our heroes and Meridion, Rhapsody's baby, continues to be mystifying.

It's unfortunate that Haydon is taking a break to write her young adult series, but she does tend to blast them out fairly swiftly, so hopefully the next installment will come quickly! If you like the other books, you'll like The Assassin King.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. P. Little on 10 Aug 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
From the beginning to the end of the book it had completely gripped me into the story and I couldn't put it down. It was an utterly brilliant read and Elizabeth Haydon has created such a structured and compelling story.
This book it definately a Must Read!!
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12 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Rearda on 16 April 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is the sixth in the increasingly misnamed Symphony of Ages Trilogy.

First, the cover. At the time of writing only the HB TOR Fantasy edition was available, with a tacky cover illustration that does no justice to the characters it portrays. Barbie meets Father Christmas and Lawrence of Arabia. And there should be a baby in that scene. Those who know the series will know what I mean.

Second, the good points... An interesting and menacing new character is introduced. Er.. that's it.

Third, the bad points. Word use: 'reverie' is used more sparingly, thank goodness; but Haydon still annoyingly mis-uses 'whence' as 'from whence' ('whence', on its own, means 'from where', making the additional 'from' redundant) and 'traverse' which she uses regularly to mean 'cross over' when it should only be used for a zig-zag route, eg: when climbing steep slopes, or ski-ing or the zig-zag course of a ship battling the wind.
The story: Don't look for a story arc - there isn't one. This is a mess of threads so complicated that a thumbnail map (in my edition) is supplied at the head of each chapter to reduce the confusion. Many of these story threads are left dangling, not with a gripping cliffhanger that leaves you checking your supplier for the next edition, but just dropped threads - characters left wandering about the countryside, characters missing, journeys half finished. It was a dull read, but unfortunately essential if you are an "I've started so I'll finish" reader. It was with increasing disappointment that I got towards the end of the book and realised how little story there was in it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 38 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Finally! 29 Dec 2006
By Jena - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
For those that are fans of the Symphony of Ages series it has been a long wait for this book. I am ecstatic that it has finally come out and I was not disappointed by it. I can only hope that there will be a shorter wait for the next in the series.

The story of The Assassin King begins shortly after where the previous book in the series, Elegy for a Lost Star, left off. This is a crucial moment in the storyline of the series. The world is starting to unravel and it is up to the heroes, including Rhapsody, Grunthor and Achmed, to fight for their world. It is nice to have the three main characters together as a team again.

The Assassin King is a pivotal point in the series that sets the foundation for the future storyline. As a result of this it does not have the same sense of "completeness" as the previous books in the series. This is not a negative criticism because it is a necessary step for the continuing narrative, but I would like to forewarn people. I would have liked to spend more time with Rhapsody, Grunthor and Achmed, but because of the multiple story threads that are taking place, that are necessary to establish, this was not possible. Because of the set-up Haydon has done in The Assassin King I am optimistic that the next book will see these characters more at the center.

The Assassin King plays a crucial role in the development of the overall storyline, but at the same time has a lot of good elements that stand by themselves. I highly recommend this book and the entire series. This book has fed my craving for the Symphony of Ages series and has whetted my appetite for more!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
At Last! 23 Jan 2007
By G. Greene - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The long wait for the next installment in the Symphony of the Ages is finally over, and while I'm a little disappointed that this book is primarily a building block for the next one, I am more than happy to catch up with Grunthor and Achmed, my two favorite characters (not that there was enough of them, but some is better than nothing). Additionally, we now have Rath, who is quite intriguing in his own right and a challenger worthy of Achmed, and the F'dor have returned in force.

The Assassin King is somewhat episodic, and many other new characters are introduced, while previously minor ones are expanded. But what this book lacks in flowing plot, it more than makes up for in brilliant, evocative narrative. Haydon is a master at creating atmosphere and characters, and the sheer virtuosity of her writing is a great pleasure to read.

I'm still waiting to see the world that Meridion changes when he alters time, but there are many other adventures to be had in the meantime. Let's just hope that the wait between books is not so long this time, since many more questions were asked than answered.

Great read and highly recommended!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Long Awaited and Well Worth It! 26 Dec 2006
By Mark Hartnett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have been waiting for this book for more than a year, but the wait was well worth it. The Publishers Weekly review is much closer than the one from Midwest/Klausner. Elizabeth Haydon has been the master of words and images in epic fantasy for a while, not just an endless stream of plot points. Whether she is describing a horrible seige to a holy city or the tiniest details of an underground hive a forgotten bees, you can literally see the pictures she is painting. My favorite character in her series, Achmed the Snake, is back in all his sarcastic, obnoxious force, as are Grunthor and Rhapsody in a return to the old days of the Three, plus an infant that has the ability to step in and out of time but can only communicate the way a real baby can. While it does take a chapter or two toward the beginning to catch up to what is going on, the book flies from there. I read it in two long sittings and am about to start it again, so I can enjoy a great discussion with all the other Achmed fans who've been drooling for this for years. Highly recommended.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
What a disappointment 15 Mar 2007
By RM Piper - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I was very disappointed when I finally finished this book. As a huge fan of the series I have noted that since the original three it has taken me longer and longer to finish each book. I finished Rhapsody in 1 day. It took me over a month to finish this one. It is not a story. A book should be able to stand on its own, even if it is part of a series. This seemed more like an effort to meet a deadline or make some cash off Ms. Haydon's fan base. I fear that after this installment that group may have gotten much smaller. I'd like to say that I am done with the series, for there is nothing I hate more than to waste my money, but Rhapsody, Achmed and Grunthor are still my favorite charecters in any book. Haydon's writing is still as poetic as ever. I simply hope she remembers that the people who are allowing her to be an author deserve better than what she just gave them. I do not need a 400 page lead in to the next book- especially when it costs me over twenty bucks. If she is done with the characters and the series then she should end it. I would rather say goodbye now than be strung along without any real story-line until I forgot why I was such a fan in the beginning.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Where is the Assassin King? 20 Jan 2007
By C. A. Everett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Actually I would give this a 3.5 if I could. I'm just not sure that it is quite a four star. I have to start this review off by saying I love the Symphony of Ages series. I will buy every single one of them that comes out and I highly recommend this series to other readers. Elizabeth Haydon's writing ability is excellent. She is able to draw you in and leave you in love with her world with exciting plot lines and well drawn characters (for the most part). I do, however, have a few issues with this new volume.

****THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD - so if you haven't read the book, please don't read further****

For a book that is entitled "The Assassin King" I was really hoping to see a lot of new information about my favorite character Achmed, but it was sadly lacking. I know she is explaining some old plot lines and introducing some new ones here, but if this is all we get of Achmed in the book named for him, I have serious doubts of seeing him in future ones in as much detail as I'd like. One of my favorite plot lines in this series is the love triangle between Rhapsody, Achmed and Ashe, so I have to rant about that for a moment. First of all, is there any main male character that is not completely enraptured with Rhapsody? (Ashe, Anborn, Achmed, Stephen, Michael and Tristan come to mind. At least Grunthor isn't). That is just a bit too trite. Second of all, there is way too much sickeningly sweet dialogue between Rhapsody and Ashe. I am really tired of hearing over and over again about their glorious love and their beginnings with each other. It's enough to give me a cavity. I am not a fan of Ashe's character and he is beginning to bore me to tears. For a character who is half dragon there are so many possibilities that could be done with him but he just seems flat where all of the other characters are well rounded. What I would dearly love to see is for Achmed to just snap and hurl him off of the Teeth some dark stormy night........(Come on, you know he wants to. I can dream, can't I? Failing that, give poor Achmed another lady worthy of his regard). I would also like to have an explanation about the fact that Achmed was the one who lost the most when Meridion changed time, which is alluded to in the last book I believe. What exactly did Achmed lose, was it Rhapsody? I hope that information is forthcoming in future books because Achmed is a wonderfully written gray character and has a depth beyond the other characters. It really needs to be explored further. Yes, I know this is a minor plot line compared to the others, but it's the one I wanted to touch upon in this review as it is the only one that has me really frustrated.

Ok- end rant. Grunthor was wonderful as usual and what I did enjoy was every single other plot line. I like the new character Rath, it's great to see another Dhracian show up to school Achmed on his background. Looks like Achmed will have a truckload more of irritation in his future. I'm excited to see the hunt for the other F'dor. The Talquist story also moved along quite well and it's great to see some other minor characters being built up. Fhremus, Faron and Melisande come to mind. I especially like how Talquist is finagling other "rulers" and Fhremus into being allies. The dragon plot line is going to be interesting also with the Great White Tree being vulnerable now and maybe we'll see more of the elemental trees in danger in the future.

Sounds like the rest of the series still holds great promise and I'll definitely be around to see it!
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