Series: The Tarnished Crown Quintet #1
Published by: Orbit
ISBN 13: 9781841499598
Published: August 2014
Format reviewed: Paperback
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Four out of Five
‘The Falcon Throne’ by Karen Miller is the first in The Tarnished Crown Quintet. Every crown is tarnished by the blood of ambition.
The Duke of Harcia is troubled by his heir, Balfe, who constantly proves that he is not up to the task of someday being Duke. There is a younger brother, Grefin, who would be excellent… but to make him heir will certainly turn Belfe against them all, for Belfe not only expects his rightful title to come forth, but also to someday be King.
Harald, Duke of the neighbouring Clemen, is stripped of his title by his lessors for a list of wrongs he has done them. His beloved son Liam, only a baby, is thought to have been killed that night, but thankfully was smuggled to safety by his wet nurse.
In a tale of distrust, long histories of conflict and ruin, games of intellect as the upper classes will stop at nothing to gain what they think is theirs and more, we have a start to a grand series that is true epic fantasy.
One of the strengths within this book is that the characters are shown both at their best and their worst – no character appear unscathed or painted as perfect. They all do wrong, and they all do right, and it’s left to the reader to decide whether they ultimately came balanced or good (or bad!) in the end.
The setting itself isn’t described overly vividly, which leaves it to the reader to fill the gaps (which I find makes for easier transition, rather than having to stumble over someone elses’ floor plans or scenic views). Thanks to the Game of Thrones television series, it’s easy to picture the stunning castles and landscapes that fit this novel perfectly. I’m obsessed with inner design, such as exposed stone work and tapestries, and the little mentions here and there of fabrics left me happy.
Overall this is a rich book that shall only expand as the series continues. At times it’s a little hard keeping a character’s allegiance straight (which probably only makes it even more realistic!) and there’s a handy dramatis personae of notable characters at the start to assist.
Lordly politics, hatred and mistrust for the closest members of family, witches scheming, and dozens of people plotting for their own success keep the pages in this book turning, unable to be put down. This is in the style of Joe Abercrombie and Steven Erikson.
The Falcon Throne is due out on the 26th of August 2014 in Australia – due out in September for the UK and US.