SYNOPSIS: In The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley, the emperor of Annur is dead, slain by enemies unknown. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. But each of them also has a life-path on which their father set them, destinies entangled with both ancient enemies and inscrutable gods…
Kaden, the heir to the Unhewn Throne, has spent eight years sequestered in a remote mountain monastery, learning the enigmatic discipline of monks devoted to the Blank God. Their rituals hold the key to an ancient power he must master before it’s too late.
An ocean away, Valyn endures the brutal training of the Kettral, elite soldiers who fly into battle on gigantic black hawks. But before he can set out to save Kaden, Valyn must survive one horrific final test.
At the heart of the empire, Minister Adare, elevated to her station by one of the emperor’s final acts, is determined to prove herself to her people. But Adare also believes she knows who murdered her father, and she will stop at nothing—and risk everything—to see that justice is meted out.
“In this epic fantasy debut, Staveley has created a complex and richly detailed world filled with elite soldier-assassins, mystic warrior monks, serpentine politics, and ancient secrets. Readers of Sara Douglass’s Wayfarer novels and George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series should enjoy this opener.” —Library Journal, Debut of the Month, Starred Review
“[A] Quick-paced, multi-threaded fantasy […] Staveley puts his protagonists to the test and is wise enough to allow them shortcomings even as they develop extraordinary abilities.” —Publishers Weekly
“Staveley creates a world of treachery and deceit that will hold your attention to the last page. This intense novel is impossible to put down […] and Staveley’s perfectly timed ending will leave the reader begging for the next book.” —RT Book Reviews
“This book kept me on the edge of my seat. This book gave me actual adrenaline rushes. This book was unputdownable. This book blew my fucking mind. Favorite fantasy book of the year… maybe even ever.” —Litchick’s Hit List
“Familiar ingredients come to life in the hands of a promising new master chef […] With assured skill, Staveley takes this initial stage of his tale to a climax where the amount of double-dealing and quick change dazzles, even as it prompts absolute paranoia.” —Locus
“The suspense is relentless, and the moral compromises the protagonists confront, often accompanied by violence, are wrenching.” —Shelf Awareness
“Come for the intrigue, assassination, death priests, black-ops bird riders, and giant poisonous hive-lizards. Stay for Staveley’s characters, his language, and his way-cool fantasy Zen.” —Max Gladstone, author of Three Parts Dead
“Brian Staveley has gifted readers with a vivid and visceral universe, peopled with likeable but very human characters. From the heat of the sun and the sweat on the skin . . . to the tense, knife-in-the-back feeling of the complicated and fascinating intrigue, all is real, solid, and compelling.” —Christie Golden, New York Times bestselling author of Arthas: Rise of the Lich King and Fate of the Jedi: Omen
“Brian Staveley introduces himself to the field of epic fantasy as a storyteller to watch. The Emperor’s Blades is an exciting first salvo involving 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, New York Times bestselling author of The Legend of Huma
“A vividly imagined story of conspiracy and empire.” —Col Buchanan, author of Farlandar
“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., New York Times bestselling author of The Imager Portfolio and the Recluce Saga
“Staveley brings together a richly imagined world and vibrant characters, and serves them up with monks and monsters, tension and treachery—an exhilarating adventure.” —Elspeth Cooper, author of Songs of the Earth
“Takes a story of family, loss, conspiracy and revenge and gives it new legs. It’s epic fantasy with a sharp, jagged edge to it, a modern sensibility, prose as tight as the leather wrapped about a sword’s hilt, and characters that you can relate to and give a damn about. I look forward to the next installment of Staveley’s chronicle.” —R. S. Belcher, author of The Six-Gun Tarot
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