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The Charnel Prince: Continuing the Saga of the Kindgoms of Thorn and Bone [Mass Market Paperback]

J. Gregory Keyes
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
Price: £4.94 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

25 Oct 2005
When the legendary Briar King awoke from his slumber, a season of darkness and horror fell upon the Kingdom of Crotheny. Now countless breeds of unspeakable monsters roam the countryside. An epidemic of madness has transformed peaceful villagers from the wildlands into savage, flesh-eating fiends. In Eslen, King William has been murdered, Queen Muriele is stalked by treachery on every side, and their last surviving daughter, Anne, has fled the assassins bent on destroying her family.

Close on the heels of the runaway princess, young knight Neil MeqVren, the queen’s one trusted ally, is sworn to rescue Anne from her murderous pursuers. Anne herself undertakes a perilous journey toward the sanctuary of her distant paramour’s arms, but along the way lie the sinister agents and hidden snares of a sprawling conspiracy that few might hope to evade.

At the same time, spies in the service of Praifec Hespero, the powerful Churchman, embark upon a mission to destroy the Briar King in the heart of his domain. And the power-hungry Church, spurred on by the mystical events, has launched an inquisition whose repercussions threaten even the queen. As the noose of intrigue tightens across the land, personal fates and a kingdom’s destiny alike will be decided in a conflict between virtue and malevolence, might and magic.

Here then is Book II of The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone: intoxicating and harrowing, passionate and grand–it is Greg Keyes’s most ambitiously imagined and vividly rendered work of epic fantasy.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Frequently Bought Together

The Charnel Prince: Continuing the Saga of the Kindgoms of Thorn and Bone + The Blood Knight (Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone) + The Born Queen (Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone)
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey Books; Reprint edition (25 Oct 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345440714
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345440716
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.7 x 2.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 762,697 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"'Rich, detailed, and always believable... Keyes excels most of all in his characters, who again and again demonstrate unexpected depths and surprising motivations' Locus 'Shames standard sword-and-sorcery efforts by playing for tragedy and real jeopardy' Time Out" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The Briar King has woken and, with the aid of monsters formerly found only in folk-tales, is destroying the forest and the people living on its bounty. Aspar White, the king’s forester, has been given the impossible task of killing the feared newcomer, but in the process he will discover that nothing about the Briar King is as straightforward as he had thought. Meanwhile Leoff, composer and self-professed coward, becomes embroiled in the horror of a town's destruction – which is part of an intrigue that leads him to the aid of Murielle, widowed Queen of Crotheny. As she fights to save her remaining family, Murielle despatches Neil, a trusted knight, to save her youngest daughter, in whose hands may rest the kingdom's future. But as prophecies, saviours and assassins close in, Murielle's plan may leave the girl - and the kingdom - as vulnerable as ever. Praise for The Briar King: 'The best reinvention of the big fantasy series since George R. R. Martin' Time Out ; 'The most exciting and brilliant opener to a series for a long, long while' Alien Online --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite Martin, but almost there!!! 27 Feb 2006
By Tyrion
I came across book one a couple of weeks ago and bought it to fill the time whilst waiting for George martin and Steven Erikson's next books. I was hooked almost immediately, I had to buy book two and read this in one sitting. The story is not complicated, the pace is quick and there are some characters that you genuinely like. The evil is not palpable yet but i can imagine that the books will get darker in forthcoming volumes. Sometimes it feels a little formulaic, but there is a quality to this that sets it apart from the standard fare.
It's not as grand as the Malazan books or George Martin's saga, and there i think is it's unique selling point. It has a back story that has just enough depth, there are numerous characters, but not so many that you lose track - yet the plot is compelling. I can't wait for part three. Just out of interest, does anyone know how many books wil complete the series? I'm not sure i can prepare myself for another marathon run like Robert Jordan.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great modern fantasy epic continues 29 Oct 2004
With The Briar King, Greg Keyes created a masterpiece of a first book, so much so that it would be almost impossible to keep it up at that level. He tries very hard, however, and almost succeeds. The Charnel Prince suffers a bit from "middle book syndrome," but not as much as some series I've seen. Keyes keeps the tension high, introducing some wonderful characters to take the place of those killed off in The Briar King. The book is marred only by a massive coincidence that, while it can be explained, still strains the suspension of disbelief a bit.
The biggest compliment I can give to Keyes is that I wish this series was done. Right now. I want to be able to read the rest of this and see how it comes out. Unlike The Briar King, Keyes ends this book on a bit of a cliffhanger. While Keyes doesn't break up the action with a vivid cliffhanger, one of the main characters is dealt a massive blow in a truly horrifying epilogue that shows just how evil one of the villains can be. What's even worse (or better, you could say) is that I had really grown to love this character, which made the ending even more of a shock. It left me with a pit in my stomach, which to me demonstrates just how good the characterization was.
Keyes continues his deftness at this characterization. Princess Anne is probably the best, as she grows up a lot in the span of six months or so. I guess running for your life will do that to you, but most of the haughtiness has left her by the time she reaches her final scene. She's done the work of washerwomen, been threatened with a marriage fostered in darkness, and realized that the love of her life isn't quite as pure as she had always believed.
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By Christopher Halo VINE VOICE
The Charnel Prince is the sequel to Keyes' fantastic 2003 novel, The Briar King (Kingdoms of Thorn & Bone), first in the The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone series.

The Charnel Prince actually starts relatively slowly at first, but it soon builds up in speed and tension as the events of the first book soon begin to have an effect on Crotheny, and the entire world.

Keyes captures wonderfully the confusion and shock of his characters as they find themselves in a world that no longer conforms to the rules it used to. Death is no longer final, and things roam the world that had previously been constrained to legend and drunken tales of dark places. Whole villages are going missing, the people turning up, rabid and mad, acting as though they were animals, several days -- even weeks -- later. The laws of nature are coming undone, and they don't much care whether any particular human is friend or foe... dead or alive...

Keyes' flair for reinvention -- and originality -- shows as often in The Charnel Prince as it did in its prequel, particularly in the worldbuilding. The easy option isn't taken, and different cultures with different languages and dialects (a lot of research went into linguistics, I'm sure) were presented very realistically. I also particularly enjoyed the way folklore and mythology was used, and the way it varied from village to village, as I did in The Briar King.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good 17 Nov 2005
By A Customer
This series is shaping up nicely. The book is fast-paced and well crafted, making a nice contrast to *certain* other authors working on epic fantasies at the current time.
The story in this book follows 6-7 main characters, all of whom are on the same side and are easy to sympathise with. There are some nice twists and a few mysteries. The plot is not completely black and white (although not too convoluted) so there are always questions. Most characters are on quests or doing 'active' things which tends to keep the action going throughout. There is some nice witty dialogue, especially from the Vitellians (Italians!). It also has more fantasy elements than the previous book, with unkillable knights, a variety of monsters and some magic.
I have given it four stars because it lacks some rather fundamental elements that I think a fantasy book requires:
1. The first is a map. Some go over the top, some just do the bare bones... but Keyes doesn't have one at all. He does a fair bit of geographical description and without a visual reference I found it rather frustrating.
2. The second is the lack of background to the characters and places. Tolkien wrote tomes to support Lord of the Rings; Martin has 50 pages of family trees in each book; most books have a list of characters; Keyes has nothing.
In short we are not told enough as the story develops. I understand it is important to only reveal key plot elements as you go along- especially with book paced like this - but the reader knows significantly less than the characters, which undermines the impact of certain events.
However, this is not significant enough to make a big difference to the score. This is a good book, an easy read and I look forward to the next in the series (particularly if Keyes can provide a bit more background - the Roanoke connection is most intriguing).
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