The King's Blood: Book Two of The Dagger and the Coin by Daniel Abraham
|The King's Blood: Book Two of The Dagger and the Coin by Daniel Abraham|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: Abraham follows the outstanding The Dragon's Path with a strong contender for the book of the year so far. Incredible characters and an epic plot make this series an absolute must-read for anyone who likes fantasy.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 464||Date: May 2012|
|External links: Author's website|
Warning: Massive spoilers for book 1 of the Dagger and the Coin sequence, the Dragon’s Path, below!
After unexpectedly managing to expose a conspiracy to murder Prince Aster, Geder Palliako has become the prince’s Protector and the hero of Antea. Dawson Kalliam is working with him as the Anteans pursue the roots of the plot, with the possibility of war breaking out. Elsewhere, Cithrin Bel Sarcour is frustrated by a new notary stopping her from running her bank as she wants to, while Marcus Wester tries to protect her. As if that wasn’t enough to keep things going, Master Kit has a goddess to kill…
While the first book in this series was superb, this is staggeringly wonderful. Abraham switches the focus of his third-person narration across half a dozen different characters – the five mentioned above, along with Dawson’s wife Clara – and keeps things remarkably focused. Given the plot is about as epic as can be imagined, with action, romance, religion and betrayal galore this is no mean feat. A major strong point of Abraham’s work, quite apart from his wonderful writing, is that his world-building is so restrained. Rather than the hundreds of pages of detail that can bog down some books in the genre, he gives us exactly what we need to know, and spends most of the time concentrating on plot and characters rather than setting.
And with characters like this, who wouldn’t concentrate on them? Marcus and Dawson both develop really well through the course of this novel, Cithrin has a great part to play, and Geder must be one of the greatest creations ever. He’s loyal, friendly, and loves to study. Admittedly, he’s also a religious maniac who is capable of some of the most horrific acts possible. Having seen how he got to this point, I’m still finding it worryingly difficult not to sympathise with him. His overall character arc through the first two volumes of this series is spellbinding, and I have no idea where he, or any of the other characters, will go from here – but I can’t wait to find out.
I believe the Dagger and the Coin is set to be a five book sequence. While I generally prefer my series to be on the short side, I would happily read a couple of dozen volumes of this one if Abraham keeps the quality as phenomenally high as he has done so far. Absolutely massive recommendation as my favourite adult book of the year so far, my favourite fantasy book for many years, and the best adult series I’m currently reading by a long way.
For more epic fantasy, N K Jemisin's Kingdoms series, starting with The Hundred-Thousand Kingdoms is outstanding, while the teen series Wereworld by Curtis Jobling more than holds its own against adult series thanks to its strong character development and political intrigue.
You can read more book reviews or buy The King's Blood: Book Two of The Dagger and the Coin by Daniel Abraham at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The King's Blood: Book Two of The Dagger and the Coin by Daniel Abraham at Amazon.com.
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