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The Emperor's Blades (Chronicles of the Unhewn) Paperback – 9 Oct 2014


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Tor; Main Market Ed. edition (9 Oct. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1447235827
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447235828
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

After teaching literature, philosophy, history, and religion for more than a decide, Brian began writing epic fantasy. His first book, The Emperor's Blades, published by Tor UK, is the start of his series, Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne. Tor.com has released the first seven chapters as a teaser that can be found here: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/11/read-the-emperors-blades-by-brian-staveley.

Brian lives on a steep dirt road in the mountains of southern Vermont, where he divides his time between fathering, writing, husbanding, splitting wood, skiing, and adventuring, not necessarily in that order. The second book in the series, The Providence of Fire, will be released in January, 2015. Brian can be found on twitter at @brianstaveley, facebook as brianstaveley, and Google+ as Brian Staveley.

Product Description

Review

A vividly imagined story of conspiracy and empire (Col Buchanan)

A richly imagined world and vibrant characters . . . an exhilarating adventure (Elspeth Cooper)

A complex and fast-moving fantasy set in a world where treachery and intrigue are everywhere, accomplished through ferocious brutality, subtle intrigues, and everything in between (L. E. Modesitt, Jr.)

Well-written and fat with promise, and we look forward to book two (SFX)

He's constructed a fantastic and compelling fantasy world and has started an interesting story that rests on the strengths of its characters. He's proven to be an excellent author, and he's set up a compelling narrative (io9.com)

Brian Staveley does true justice to the term Fantasy with his The Emperor's Blades and the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, this is what I seek in reading fantasy, authors that go the distance to deliver you a brilliant story . . . It has everything that you seek when you read an epic fantasy story, from great, relatable characters all throughout the solid storyline, interesting environments and a lot of pretty darn cool action! (The Bookplank)

An interesting and enjoyable start to the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne and if this is only Staveley's first novel I'm excited to see how he'll grow into his craft. If you love traditional epic fantasy, but would like to see a more updated version, then The Emperor's Blades is a book you'll want to read (A Fantastical Librarian)

A blistering narrative and keen sense of both action and wonder . . . Brian Stavely is one to watch and if you enjoy epic fantasy I think that The Emperor's Blades is definitely worth checking out (King of the Nerds blog)

Very readable, hard to put down, and flat-out entertaining (Nethspace blog)

A fun read . . . It was engaging, it was fun to read and the series has serious potential

(Fantasy-faction.com)

An amazing debut . . . Highly recommended

(Speculative Book Review)

Really great writing, tight world building, and complex characters. Truly, the author is on to something special with this series and I can't wait for it to continue (Ageless Pages Reviews)

This was a book that reminded me, in different ways, of my first encounters with the likes of Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss. It managed to feel fresh and original, yet familiar at the same time . . . This is epic fantasy for a new generation, gritty and grim at times, but never losing sight of the awe and the wonder (Beauty In Ruins blog)

This book made my heart happy. If you like fantasy it will probably make yours happy as well (Between the Pages blog)

A well-imagined tale rife with violence and Machiavellian scheming that hits all the right notes (Fantasy Smorgasbord blog)

I cannot wait to read the sequel . . . Fans of epic fantasy novels featuring conspiracies and fighting for the throne will enjoy reading it (BookWormDreams.com)

Book Description

Book one in an epic fantasy of intrigue and empire, for fans of George R. R. Martin and Douglas Hulick.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Nick Brett TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 Jan. 2014
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Meadows VINE VOICE on 20 Feb. 2014
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By V. Nicholl VINE VOICE on 16 Feb. 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Well, I wasn't holding out much hope given the description and the publisher's inevitable comparison with George R R Martin. And, indeed, I would not compare it to the fabulous Martin myself... but I thoroughly enjoyed 'The Emperor's Blade' and will be ordering book 2 the moment I can. A little slow at first, I soon found myself relaxing into this wonderfully reliable and inventive high fantasy debut. There are so many poorly written and crafted books out there that I found myself smiling with delight as I realised I had a good book in my hands, and inevitably I read faster and faster.

There are characters to cheer for, and characters to loathe and mistrust. The world is well built and while there are the occasional 'pause while we give you a helpful explanation of x' most of the time you gradually come to understand what is going on through picking up hints from characters thoughts and actions.

The three main characters are the children of the emperor, but there are strong supporting characters: plenty of people to care about, and to create a rich tapestry, so that what you have is a world, rather than a stage. While you may think that some of the book is quite cliched (both the sons of the emperor suffer for their training, for example) there are always good reasons, and just when you are thinking 'how can it get worse?!' Stavely cleverly makes it just that (loved Hull's Trial, simply brilliant!). I'm not going to talk about the plot, as the synopsis does probably a bit too much of that. Suffice to say that if you want a politically savvy high fantasy, with a well built world and problems from all sides... do give 'The Emperor's Blades' a try.

Looking forward to book 2...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Peter Miller VINE VOICE on 8 Jan. 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This seems to be the author's first book and what a brilliant debut it is. I have not read such an excellent fantasy novel for years.
The Emperor has been assassinated. His daughter Adare is the Minister of Finance. The heir to the throne Kaden has been under training with monks in a very remote mountain region for eight years. His other son Valyn,has spent the same length of time training as a mercenary on a remote island. Then the attempts on their lives starts. You can get all this from the blurb. I won't give any spoilers.
I will say that the action is brilliant; the intrigues will have you guessing. The story leads one on through each stage with increasing tension and excitement.
The characters are all likeable, well, those that you are meant to like, they are strong but with human frailties.
The magic is there but subtle and clever. IT is quite unusual and the "leaches" or magic users draw their power from sources that are specific to them.
The story builds with plots starting to be revealed and tension rising. In fact we do not hear too much from Adare although what we do see is vital and shows her strength, especially at the end when her toughness and strength really show.
Kaden spends most of his time under training but here his side of the story starts with a mysterious and gruesome discovery and builds steadily.
Vanyl's story is probably the most active and again builds steadily from crisis to mystery and explosive action.
I can't fault this book and my only regret is that it will be a long wait for the next one.
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