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The Emperor's Blades: Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne: Book One [Hardcover]

Brian Staveley
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
Price: 7.92 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

16 Jan 2014 Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne

The circle is closing. The stakes are high. And old truths will live again . . .

The Emperor has been murdered, leaving the Annurian Empire in turmoil. Now his progeny must bury their grief and prepare to unmask a conspiracy.

His son Valyn, training for the empire's deadliest fighting force, hears the news an ocean away. He expected a challenge, but after several 'accidents' and a dying soldier's warning, he realizes his life is also in danger. Yet before Valyn can take action, he must survive the mercenaries' brutal final initiation.

Meanwhile, the Emperor's daughter, Minister Adare, hunts her father's murderer in the capital itself. Court politics can be fatal, but she needs justice. And Kaden, heir to the empire, studies in a remote monastery. Here, the Blank God's disciples teach their harsh ways - which Kaden must master to unlock their ancient powers. When an imperial delegation arrives, he's learnt enough to perceive evil intent. But will this keep him alive, as long-hidden powers make their move?


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The Emperor's Blades: Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne: Book One + Traitor's Blade (The Greatcoats) + Valour: Book Two of The Faithful and the Fallen (Faithful & the Fallen 2)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Tor (16 Jan 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 023077041X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230770416
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.2 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 68,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

‘A vividly imagined story of conspiracy and empire’ Col Buchanan

‘A complex and fast-moving fantasy set in a world where treachery and intrigue are everywhere' L. E. Modesitt Jr.

‘Machiavellian politics on multiple levels, an intriguing world of magic, and three protagonists whose personal journeys will keep the reader impatiently waiting for the next book!’ Richard A. Knaak

Book Description

The circle is closing. The stakes are high. And old truths will live again . . . The Emperor has been murdered, leaving the Annurian Empire in turmoil. Now his progeny must bury their grief and prepare to unmask a conspiracy. His son Valyn, training for the empire’s deadliest fighting force, hears the news an ocean away. He expected a challenge, but after several ‘accidents’ and a dying soldier’s warning, he realizes his life is also in danger. Yet before Valyn can take action, he must survive the mercenaries’ brutal final initiation. Meanwhile, the Emperor’s daughter, Minister Adare, hunts her father’s murderer in the capital itself. Court politics can be fatal, but she needs justice. And Kaden, heir to an empire, studies in a remote monastery. Here, the Blank God’s disciples teach their harsh ways – which Kaden must master to unlock their ancient powers. When an imperial delegation arrives, he’s learnt enough to perceive evil intent. But will this keep him alive, as long-hidden powers make their move? --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wow 15 Jan 2014
By Nick Brett TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a confident and engaging effort from the author, especially considering it is his first book.

In brief summary an Emperor is killed and this is the tale of his two sons and his daughter. The main focus is on the sons, the heir undergoing training as a monk and the other training in an elite military unit.

As I picked this up it felt like a generic weighty volume of fantasy. The prologue also felt a little heavy and it was with a gentle sigh that I turned the page...into a story that flew off the pages. There were some elements we will have seen before ( a harsh teacher) but you are turning the pages so quickly that you barely notice. The story switches between viewpoints and throws lots of twists and intrigue in there to keep you reading `just one more chapter'. The world building is interesting and the characters work within it. Ancient myths are balanced with a magic by which various powers are leached from a variety of sources by a select and untrusted few. Our threads are mainly one of growth, one of comradeship and one of politics. They all work very well indeed. There is an overarching theme of not knowing who to trust and you really, really want to know `who' and `why'.

Recommended and I am gutted about how long I will have to wait for the next one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok or bad? 9 Mar 2014
By JPS TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I had a number of problems with this book, and one of the main ones was to make up my mind as to whether I liked it or not. I also took longer than usual to finish it, which is never a very good sign. The main reason for this is that the book contains a number of features that worked rather well for me, but also almost as many that did not.

Starting with one the later ones, I generally dislike it when the author makes it too obvious that the book is just the first volume of a series. In other terms, this is not a stand-alone book and it ends rather abruptly. Having mentioned this, the author did manage to create a strong sense of suspense throughout the book and it is mainly because of this that I finished it, despite everything else.

Another issue is that the basic plot is not exactly original: leader (here the Emperor, in other books, some kind of King, or Duke - pick your choice!) is killed, falling victim to a bunch of powerful conspirators who then move to hunt down and take out his two sons who are of course far away when the murder happens. This feature has a strong sense of "déjà vu" and appears in numerous other fantasy novels. Also largely "déjà vu" is the reference to half-legendary cruel non-human races who used to dominate the earth and are allegedly extinct but whose heritage remains after a few thousands of years.

While it is not necessarily a problem in itself, it is compounded by the fact that the two sons were sent some eight years before at the two ends of the Empire - one to become a "Ketral", a member of the Empire's equivalent to modern "special forces", and the other, the heir to the throne, to a very remote monastery high up in the mountains, also to learn some special skills.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Murder, blood, and a bit of magic... 20 Feb 2014
By Christopher Meadows VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Staveley has produced a highly competent debut here, which hits a lot of good notes as part of the “gritty fantasy” sub-genre.
The world, broadly speaking, is quite well realised. The geography of the areas that the protagonists inhabit is well described, and well defined. There’s a nice mix of icy crags, urban sprawl and tropical islands, and the author manages to evoke each reasonably well – though the city setting doesn’t get as much time as the other two, which is a shame, as it would have helped to bring some of the action within that environment more fully to life.

The social terrain is a little fuzzier, but the author has clearly put in a degree of effort here. Each of the protagonists is in a different part of the world (as above), and we’re given three different micro-societies as a result. There are the monks seeking to empty themselves of self, in the aforementioned mountains. The tropical island is populated by the equivalent of a special forces training camp. And the city segments open up the world of palace intrigue.

As with the geography, the city sections suffer in comparison to the other two. The alpine monks have a well realised set of goals and social mores (some of which are rather surprising). The military teams are driven by camaraderie and competition, and the delineation of relationships around a team dynamic is well done. The city piece, which had the potential to be the most complex, dealing with the intrigue and plotting after an Imperial demise, pushes out a functional society, which looks interesting, but really doesn’t get enough time on the page.

The characters themselves have similar issues.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Two Men and Ignore a Lady 10 Feb 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It may just be me getting old, but the thought of reading another coming of age book just does not appeal anymore. Imagine my worry then that part one of a new trilogy ‘The Emperor’s Blades’ by Brian Staveley has three separate stories, two of which are about coming of age and one that is mostly ignored. In the Annurian Empire the Emperor rules with a just hand. He has sent out his two sons to develop into men; one is a monk learning inner peace, the other is an assassin, learning outer kill. Oh, and he has a daughter too, but she is mostly ignored.

‘Blades’ certainly has some fun elements. The prologue for one is very interesting and introduces a race of immortal beings who have just starting to give birth to children who have the rot, or as we like to call it – age. Unfortunately, this element of the book remains undeveloped until towards the end and will probably feature far more prominently in future books. Instead we are left with the adventures of Kaden, Valyn and Adare. The stories of the two boys are well developed, if a little juvenile literature at times, but both of them annoyed me slightly. They are both learning to control themselves, but even after 8 years they run incessant internal monologues. If you are being trained to be the best of killers, soppiness would not be tolerated.

Perhaps the most damning aspect of the book is the almost complete disregard for the character of Adare. She remains at home and as the eldest should be the next Emperor, but her gender means this will never happen. Staveley has ripe opportunity to explore this and Adare’s role in the major city would have been a welcome respite from the grim surroundings of the lads. However, she is side-lined almost completely. ‘Blades’ is a fun enough read, but not enough of interest really happens to capture the imagination, it does feel like a slightly slow book one of a trilogy. As a slice of fantasy fiction, it is reasonable, but does not stand out.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Average at best
I have been a fan of the fantasy genre for some time and having been thoroughly disappointed by many a new great author, I usually have come to new books with a somewhat sceptical... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Ash
5.0 out of 5 stars Great debut
Fantastic fantasy,great debut by Brian Staveley,can't wait for next book.Story telling at its best.The Blades are the Emperor's three children,and both the Blades and there... Read more
Published 15 days ago by B. J. Browne
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written and interesting ....
.... though fairly standard fantasy.

But for me and many others, that's recommendation enough!

The style of writing is engaging and easy to follow. Read more
Published 1 month ago by MJ King
4.0 out of 5 stars A promising start...
I did really enjoy this book and was kept interested from beginning to end by the authors solid characters, despite the sometimes bog standard elements of the genre that occur. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amanda
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
If you liked Game of Thrones you may well like this. In a world different to our own, the emperor has three cildren who have all had different training - one a monk, the second a... Read more
Published 1 month ago by T. Walker
4.0 out of 5 stars It has thrones in it...but it's not Game of Thrones.
Not a bad effort from a new writer to me. Staveley can write certainly, perhaps too well. The opening chapters see literature clash with fantasy, possibly at the sacrifice of... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Call me Sparky
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the slickest, but very entertaining
The story was decent and moved at a good pace, enjoyable throughout. It was hard at times accepting that the highly trained Ketteral cadet would make some of the choices he made,... Read more
Published 1 month ago by David Platt
3.0 out of 5 stars Derivative but enjoyable
This opening episode of what is likely to be quite a saga follows the three children of a murdered Emperor as they discover what has happened and will lead to their destiny. Read more
Published 2 months ago by PJ Rankine
2.0 out of 5 stars Well written, but ultimately disappointing
‘The Emperor’s Blades’ is a well written story, which despite being hailed as the next big thing, fails spectacularly to distinguish itself in a genre littered more and more each... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mr. T. S. James
3.0 out of 5 stars Fearlessly unoriginal
Brian Staveley can certainly write. The opening scenes in 'The Emperor's Blades' are possibly even a little over-written, with adjectives jostling for space, but it soon settles... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Clever Spud
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