I finished reading Daniel Abraham’s new book THE KING'S BLOOD the other day (second in his Dagger and Coin series) and my wife happened to be sitting next to me as I finished. I looked up at her and all I could say was “WOW!”
Guys, this is a great book. This is as good as it gets. There’s a quote on the cover of the book from George R. R. Martin that says “Everything I look for in a fantasy book”. The quote is talking about the first book in the series (THE DRAGON'S PATH for those of you who haven’t read it) and the second book is even better!
For those of you who haven’t read this series yet, STOP NOW! WHAT ARE YOU DOING! GO READ THESE BOOKS! You’ve been warned! For those of you who have read the first book, read on.
Once again the book follows the exploits of four main characters. Here’s the synopsis:
WAR AND MADNESS CAST SHADOWS
OVER THE LANDS DRAGONS ONCE RULED.
Geder Palliako's star is rising. He is a hero of Antea, protector to the crown prince, and darling of the court. But storms from his past are gathering, and with them, a war that will change everything.
Cithrin bel Sarcour founded a powerful bank on stolen wealth, forged papers, and ready blades. Now every move she makes is observed, recorded, and controlled. Unless Cithrin can free herself from her gilded cage, the life she made will be for naught; war may provide just the opportunity she needs.
An apostate priest sees the hidden hand behind all: a long-buried secret of the dragon empire threatens everything humanity has built. An age of madness and death is on the way, with only a few doomed heroes to stand in its way.
And guys, let me tell you, the synopsis doesn’t do the book justice.
I was talking to a friend of mine the other day about books. We talked about books that have great characters, and books that have great action, and books that have big fun great ideas. There are many examples easy available for any of the three, but we talked and wanted to know of the books that contained all three. The list was short. Very short. Books can be overcrowded with ideas and the characters in those books serve only to take us from one plot point or idea to the next. A book can focus so much on a character that the ideas are glossed over or the world isn’t explored enough. Etc…. The list of books that does all three just got one longer.
I love these characters. Which is not to say that I would want to hang out with these people. Quite the contrary. They are flawed, but remain human and are easy to relate to at the same time. These aren’t “gritty” characters in the sense I’ve seen a lot lately. “I’ll have him swear and sleep with prostitutes so that he can be 'gritty'.” These are actual people working off of their own information and biases and personalities. Horrible things happen and often they come from the protagonists of the story. Real live people who I understand. They are good and they are bad and they are struggling just to keep up. They are tough people, but I understand them.
The world is fun and amazing and only getting better. In THE DRAGON'S PATH we got a glimpse of the world, an intro into the thirteen races of humanity, a brief glimpse of the church of the spider goddess, a gleaning of the dragons who have passed a millennia ago. Here the world gets bigger and cooler and more interesting while still keeping us intimately connected with the main characters. No mean feat. I learned more and saw more and still have the sense that Abraham is keeping some stuff back from me, just waiting to blow my mind in the next book.
Then there’s the pacing itself. I read this book in a whirlwind. I would read and think, “Ah, now I see where the book is headed. We’ll be dealing with this crisis until the end of this book.” Only to be proven wrong again and again. There’s 3 or 4 books worth of stuff that happens here. There are scenes that are still buzzing around in my head. I laughed out loud in sheer enjoyment of what was happening a few times.
There’s really only one problem with THE KING'S BLOOD. And it’s that I have to wait a whole year to see what happens next.
Age Recommendation: 16+ for a variety of issues. A bit of violence a bit of language and bit of sexual stuff.
Violence: A scene or two. Not prolonged and not abundant, but it’s there.
Language: Not a lot, but again, it’s there.
Sex: One scene, not detailed, and some references.
Abraham's Dagger and Coin Series is shaping up to be one of the best out there. Here are your links so you can buy them NOW:
THE DRAGON'S PATH
THE KING'S BLOOD