THE PROVIDENCE OF FIRE – Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, #2

“Following in the footsteps of George R.R. Martin and Joe Abercrombie… Brutal, intriguing and continuing to head toward exciting events and places unknown.” —Kirkus, Starred Review

US Cover Art by Richard Anderson
US Cover Art by Richard Anderson

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The Providence of Fire is the second novel in Brian Staveley’s Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, a gripping epic fantasy series…

The conspiracy to destroy the ruling family of the Annurian Empire is far from over.

Having learned the identity of her father’s assassin, Adare flees the Dawn Palace in search of allies to challenge the coup against her family. Few trust her, but when she is believed to be touched by Intarra, patron goddess of the empire, the people rally to help her retake the capital city.

As armies prepare to clash, the threat of invasion from barbarian hordes compels the rival forces to unite against their common enemy.

Unknown to Adare, her brother Valyn, a renegade member of the empire’s most elite fighting force, has allied with the invading nomads. The terrible choices each of them has made may make war between them inevitable.

Between Valyn and Adare is their brother Kaden, rightful heir to the Unhewn Throne, who has infiltrated the Annurian capital with the help of two strange companions. The knowledge they possess of the secret history that shapes these events could save Annur or destroy it.

Prologue | Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three
Chapter Four | Chapter Five | Chapter Six

Tor Books


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Praise for The Providence of Fire


“Loved every second of it […] a full, immersive, magical, and exciting world, with characters to match.” —Fantasy Faction, 10/10 stars


“Staveley complicates the moral scheme with plausible villains and shaky political alliances.” —Publishers Weekly


“This. Book. Does. Not. Stop . . .” —


“A stunning follow-up… Most definitely recommended.” —Beauty in Ruins


“Unexpected plot twists, fascinating characters, brilliant writing… It feels like a cross between Joe Abercrombie’s First Law trilogy and Daniel Abraham’s Dagger and the Coin series.” —The SciFiFanLetter Blog

184 thoughts on “THE PROVIDENCE OF FIRE – Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, #2”

  1. Keith russell says:

    About half way through Blades, great read to say the least. Is it possible to get my copy signed? Either way, thanks for the words and world!!

    1. Keith russell says:

      Great cover Art on both books btw.

    2. bstaveley says:

      Thanks for getting in touch, Keith! So thrilled that you’re liking the book — it means a lot to hear from readers who have enjoyed it. Have you reached exact halfway point yet? Readers often do some cursing at me around there…

      1. patricia norris says:

        I’ll have to double up on the vitamins so I can live long enough to finish the series…. Thanks for this – it’s exciting and engaging and quite intricate.
        P Norris (78)

        1. bstaveley says:

          This is probably my favorite message from any reader so far. Thanks for getting in touch, Patricia! The good news is, the second book, The Providence of Fire, is pretty much done, and I’m working away on number three. You should have no need of the double vitamins, but if you feel yourself flagging, drop me a line and I’ll work faster…

      2. Kam says:

        At 49% when you dropped the first bombshell. Thanks for that…. Grrr

        1. bstaveley says:

          It’s at that point in the book that the angry/hurt/confused/furious/sobbing emails usually start coming in…

  2. Mayank Raheja says:

    so i was in the states for a conference (i am from India) where i bought your first book and can i be honest in saying that i bought it because the cover was great :P….

    now u will make me wait for an entire year before the second one is released…. hurry up the release or else i will have to send ak’hanath after you 3:)

  3. Eric says:

    I really enjoyed the audio version of your book. I couldn’t stop listening to it!

    1. bstaveley says:

      Simon Vance is pretty amazing, right? Thanks for taking a chance on a new author!

  4. Tom says:

    It was a great read. Thanks! I can’t wait for the second to come out!

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks, Tom! The Providence of Fire is in good shape. Working through the final edits now!

  5. Shannon says:

    Gimmee gimmee gimmee!!! I really enjoyed the world produced in Blades (read in one sitting) and love the opportunities for branching out it presented for the next novel. Well developed characters that still retain some mystery – if only the next book was ready tomorrow !

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks for getting in touch, Shannon! The next novel definitely branches out. Where the Emperor’s Blades has most of the siblings staying in the same place most of the time, book two involves lots and lots of travel and exploration. It’s pretty much done, but there’s still a little wait until the actual book is in actual stores…

  6. Don says:

    Blades of the Emperor was an excellent read. I’m a history buff so I usually don’t read too much fiction. I took the offer to read the first seven chapters for free. Those chapters went quickly enough and I immediately bought the full book afterwards.

    I read your comment about people cursing at you about halfway through the book. I certainly did, you bastard. Guess you did a good job with things if it produces such a strong emotion in your readers.

    Looking forward to The Providence of Fire, keep up the good work.

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks for getting in touch, Don. I’m glad to hear from a history buff! My father reads history (and other forms of non-fiction) almost exclusively, and I had him in the back of my mind a little bit as I embarked on epic fantasy. I hoped there was at least an outside chance that someone not already invested in the fantasy genre might find it engaging, and so I’m thrilled to hear that you liked it. The Providence of Fire is in good shape. I’m really very excited to get it out in the world. I’m hopeful that readers will really like it.

  7. Steve Thomas says:

    Blades was excellent all around, and strikes me as unique in its character development and pacing, at least among the fantasy novels I’ve read. I put it in my top 5, and look forward to the next installment of the Chronicles. Almost a year away is going to kill me. 😉

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks, Steve! So glad that you enjoyed it. Out of curiosity, what else is in your top five?

      1. Steve Thomas says:

        Hi, Brian –

        Thanks for the note. I’m sure I haven’t read as widely as many of your visitors, but here goes (in no particular order):

        * The Hobbit
        * The Riyria Revelations/Chronicles, by Michael Sullivan
        * Blood Song, by Anthony Ryan (Tower Lord pending!)
        * The Kingkiller Chronicle, by Patrick Rothfuss (come on, day three!)
        * The Emperor’s Blades, by Brian Stavely

        Not that you asked, but if I had to pick a sixth, I’d go with The Fallen Blade novels, by Kelly McCullough.

        I think that’s pretty good company, even if most of them are pretty recent. 😉

        You asked offline how I found Blades…I believe I was poking around on Amazon and it came up as a related recommendation; I read the reviews, downloaded the sample, and then bought it.

        1. bstaveley says:

          Seems as though there’s quite a bit of overlap between people who enjoyed Blood Song, and those who like The Emperor’s Blades. I’ve read all five authors on your list, but the bonus choice — Kelly McCullough — is new to me, so thanks for the recommendation!

          1. MK Shoener says:

            Since Steve had the good idea of giving his top-5, I’ll share some of mine as well! I was going to do a top-5, but that will be too difficult.
            Top 5 Epic Fantasy/Sci-Fi
            1) Dune (Herbert)
            2) Song of Ice and Fire (Martin)
            3) Kingkiller Chronicles (Rothfuss)
            4) Mistborn Series (Sanderson)
            5) Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne (so far at least)
            6) Stormlight Archive (Sanderson)
            7a) His Dark Materials (P Pullman)
            7b) The Demon Cycle (Brett)
            8) LotR (Tolkien)
            9) Riyria Revelations (Sullivan)
            10) Wheel of Time (Jordan/Sanderson)
            11) The Black Company (Cook)
            12) Raven’s Shadow (Ryan)

            I just realized that I am forgetting Steelheart (Sanderson), Gormenghast, and a bunch of others, but my head is starting to hurt ranking these, lol! I’ll happily take suggestions for other books of this ilk to hold me over until the next installments are released!

          2. bstaveley says:

            Number 5! I’ll take it!

  8. Some Jerk says:

    Hmmm, whish I could manage a top 5 list so easily. The problem with series books is usually evident after book 2, when substance can no longer be derived from novelty. Still, I must applaud you Brian on making certain primary characters look like F@$# ups until they find their potential… and finally get the can opener out. Between that and the effortless way you suddenly and efficiently reset the interpersonal relationships half way through, I have very high hopes for the books to come.

    I am curious however. How far do you plan to take these Chronicles? Your characters are versatile and the suspected existence of a shadowy figure of great history (avoiding spoilers) implies the potential for a lot of books, but the relatively narrow focus of the plot-line says to me “Trilogy”. ?

    1. bstaveley says:

      The current series will be a trilogy, and I’m set on providing real closure to the story at hand. I want readers who read these first three books and never pick up another one to feel as though they reached a true conclusion. That said, I’d love to keep writing in this world. There are definitely alternate avenues I’d like to explore, different time periods and places, different aspects of Annur itself. If I do end up writing more about Kaden, Valyn, or Adare (if any of the three are still alive at the end), I’d be very tempted to revisit them when they’re much older — fifty or sixty.

      I’m really excited about book two, The Providence of Fire. It’s really in the final edits now, and I think readers will enjoy it. You get to see a lot more of the world, of the Kettral, of Adare, of leaches… of pretty much everything, really. I had a great time writing it.

      Thanks for your interest in the series and for getting in touch! Definitely let me know what you think when you get your hands on the second book…

      1. Some Jerk says:

        Glad to hear that I won’t be waiting too long.

        Still, one question always plagues me every time the “unhewn throne” is referenced. The “word” unhewn implies something of an unmaking, or perhaps a submersion which would likely make it as difficult to sit on as a chair with a missing leg… and yet even unhewn it continues to flatten the @$$es of monarchs for generations beyond counting.

  9. CDHunt says:

    Just finished Blades, loved it. I’m curious of your writing process. How long did it take for you to build the world, the characters, and the plot? Loved the first book and cannot wait for the second. Finally, how many books are there going to be in the series total?

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks for getting in touch! The series will be three books in all. The second volume, The Providence of Fire, is pretty much done, but won’t be released until January.

      There are a couple of different answers to the question of how long it took to write the book. I wrote the first draft in about a year, but that draft was scrapped almost entirely for a variety of reasons. After that, I was writing only in the summers (I taught high school, and couldn’t get much writing done during the school year). It took me about four summers to write the second version — so, just another year of writing time, but four years of thinking, daydreaming, and brainstorming.

      Sounds like you might be working on something?

      1. CDHunt says:

        Yes, I have been building a story base for about 5 years now. I have some characters, the world, magic system, and major plot points but I struggle with time to write and the buildup between plot points. I get a few hours here and there to put thought to paper/computer but am always excited when I read intriguing stories like Blades. I also wonder the writing process so that it could help me refine my own and help me see what I can improve upon.

        I am excited to read what happens to the main characters in the next book. Have you done any prelim sketches of the characters aside from the cover? To see one of the wing teams in flight as you envisioned would be pretty cool.

        At any rate, I want to congratulate you on a wonderful story and many more to follow. Any advice you can give to novices as myself is taken with the greatest gratitude.

        1. bstaveley says:

          I wish I were a better artist, but I’m actually pretty dismal when it comes to any sort of drawing. As a result, there’s no notebook of cool sketches of anything. What I do if I really want to remember what something looks like (a place, a person) is to find a collection of images online (maybe the junipers look like this, and one mountain looks like this, and another mountain looks like that, and the building looks like this) and save them in a folder. Of course, that method has real limitations when you’re writing fantasy, since most of the stuff (people and places) goes well beyond what’s available on the web.

          As for advice about writing, I think the most useful thing that I did early on was deciding to write a certain number of words every day. This is by no means MY method — I think most writers do this, and for good reason. Even if your number is 250 words a day, at the end of the year, you’ll have a manuscript. And 250 is a pretty reasonable number — not so overwhelming that you can’t sneak it in here or there. The trick is to keep pressing forward and not to get caught up second-guessing or revising until you’ve got a batch of pages under your belt.

          Thanks again for getting in touch! It means a lot to hear from people who have enjoyed the story — keeps me motivated as I work my way through the third book…

  10. Rahtid says:

    Wow. Started Emperor’s Blades this morning. 95% of the way through it so I had to take a pause to go buy the second, only to find out it’s another YEAR?? I HATE getting this involved in a series then stopping and waiting. It takes weeks to come down off a high that a book this well written gives me. Can’t you self-publish to make the release date sooner?? /beg Seriously, your writing is on par with Jim Butcher, Brent Weeks, and Brandon Sanderson. The whole world came alive even with the constant changing of POV, the world was well thought-out and consistent, and your writing style smooth and elegant. Truly an author worth watching for new releases from. Just don’t make us wait so long! Now to go finish that 5% on my Kindle.

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks, Rahtid! And sorry about the wait. The one thing I can say that might ease your impatience is that it almost certainly won’t be MORE than a year until The Providence of Fire is released. The book is pretty much done now, and I’ve started working on number three. So it’s a wait, but there shouldn’t be any surprise delays. Have you finished TEB yet? Curious to hear what you thought of the ending…

  11. fantasyescapist says:

    Just finished reading the book yesterday! Character- and world- building were great..the pacing was not harried nor too slow. The only regret that I have right now is the fact that I read the first book too early. I’m a video-streaming kind of guy because I want to watch all seasons right after the other..I can’t stand waiting for the next books for the next few years. 🙁

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks! And sorry about the wait. I, too, and the sort of person who likes to wait until there are a few seasons of a show in the bank so that I can binge. My wife and I are doing that with Homeland at the moment, to the severe detriment of my sleep patterns.

  12. Glenn Jr says:

    Just finished The Emperor’s Blades. Fantastic book. It has been a while since reading a book that has sucked me in quite like that. Thanks for such great writing and I cannot wait for the second book.

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks, Glenn! I can’t wait to get the second one out there either — lots of new places, twists and turns, and a few new characters thrown into the mix. What are some of your other fantasy favorites?

      1. Glenn Jr says:

        The Farseer trilogy the first book to give me an emotional reaction. And the kingkiller chronicle ifs also great story telling. I have begun to write my own fantasy fiction book. I understand the work it takes to create a world from blank paper. Not til the end of Emperors Blade did the title ring so true, how each child had been forged to survive in the different environments that they were placed. And the constant twist, when I thought I knew the villain, it always changed. As a reader I couldn’t trust my judgement. Again wonderful book, great characters, excellent plot.

        1. bstaveley says:

          What’s the story with your book? Are you thinking of a stand-alone, or a longer series? Where did you start, with characters or the world itself? I’m always curious to hear how other people go about this sort of thing…

  13. rsm says:

    I’m pretty sure you have no control over who reads the audio version of your book, but do you know if Simon Vance is likely to read the second book as well?

    1. bstaveley says:

      I’m pretty sure that Simon is going to do all three books, but I’m wouldn’t swear to it. How’d you like his narration?

  14. newageofpower says:

    Can’t wait for The Providence of Fire.

    Coming to New York for a book signing?

    How’s Tor treating you?

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks! So glad to hear that you enjoyed The Emperor’s Blades! I was actually in New York reading and signing at the end of February, at the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe. What a great spot! Not sure when I’ll be back again, but I’m sure I’ll be down there at some point.

      Tor has been just great to work with. Talented, motivated, thoughtful folk everywhere you turn. I feel really, really lucky…

  15. David says:

    I literally just finished The Emperor’s Blades about 10 minutes ago. I immediately raced to the computer to find book 2. Saw that the Emperor’s Blades came out in January 2014…Oh crap…It’s going to be awhile…

    All jokes aside, I thoroughly enjoyed it, thank you for all your hard work creating a great story.

    1. bstaveley says:

      Hi David –

      Thanks for getting in touch! Don’t worry, it won’t be too long a wait for The Providence of Fire. It’ll be out in 9 months. Just like a baby. Except rectangular. And hopefully not as heavy as a baby. But maybe. It’s longer than The Emperor’s Blades…

  16. m says:

    Also just finished the book here – I’m glad it came up on my recommended titles, because it was definitely an enjoyable read! (By the by, you’re probably getting overlap from Blood Song by Anthony Ryan because Kindle refers one to the other… I was referred to Blades through that book. Both are great!) The thing I value most in fantasy is world building, and the nuances built into the world of Blades is engrossing. Thank you,and keep up the good work. January can’t come soon enough!

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks, m! I’m excited for the second book because so much more of the world is explored. I love Ashk’lan, Annur, and the Islands, but it was great to finally get out of those places and see something else…

  17. A&W RB says:

    I just stumbled upon your site while doing some research on the different authors and series with TOR. I’ve really enjoyed Glen Cook, Steven Erikson, and now Brandon Sanderson. Reading epic fantasy has really changed my tastes in books. I’m hearing great reviews on The Emperor’s Blades and just ordered it! Can’t wait to get it! Plus I think it’s really awesome the way you are keeping in touch with your fans on this site.

    1. bstaveley says:

      Those are some pretty heavy hitters that you’ve been reading! Hope you like The Emperor’s Blades… drop a line to let me know what you think when you’re done reading, and thanks for giving it a look!

  18. Sebastian LeFleur says:

    Is Kaden like a Shaolin Monk or something?

    1. bstaveley says:

      Well, the Shaolin monks are a good deal more martial than the Shin. Aside from Rampuri Tan (and perhaps one or two others), none of the Shin would be able to hold their own in a fight. That said, there are similarities in training and, even more, in philosophy between the two orders…

      Here are some great photos of the Shaolin monks:

      1. Sebastian LeFleur says:

        I think it would be cool if he was a Kung Fu fighter guy. 😀

  19. Olliebeanz says:

    Brian, I just finished listening to The Emperor’s Blades, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The ending was particularly good for me, since I was listening to the audio version, not reading it, the end caught me completely off gaurd. I had no idea I was nearing the end, I was too engrossed. Narration was very good, I hope they keep the same narrator for the next two books. Now I have to be careful, less I find myself using “shael take it”, or some other phrase from your book out loud. Like everyone else has noted, waiting for the next one will be tough.

    1. bstaveley says:

      That’s a really interesting feature of audiobooks (and ebooks, if turn off the indicator on the bottom that tells how far along you are). I’ve found that it really changes the experience of reading, actually, not to have any good idea when the end is coming. Odd, because that’s how we experience movies, and I watch a lot of movies, so you’d think I’d be used to it…

      At any rate, I’m glad you liked the book! I, too, find myself using the invented curses sometimes, especially after a long day of writing or revising. An occupational hazard, I guess.

      1. Olliebeanz says:

        Audiobooks allow me to experience far more books than reading would, but there are drawbacks. Books such as Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, The Dark Tower all really require some recall of details to appreciate the books. Stephen King really took it even further with recalling characters and events from so many of his otherwise non-related books . Reading the books helps with that recall much more than listening. I believe The Emperors Blade will be much like those, great the first time, but worth reading as well to pick up all the nuiances.

        1. bstaveley says:

          I find that the thing I miss the most when I listen to audiobooks (which is rare) is the map. Same thing with digital editions, where the map is available, but it’s sort of a pain in the ass to skip back and forth to it. I know there are readers who ignore maps entirely, but I’m not one of them!

    2. MK Shoener says:

      That’s too funny Ollie, I found myself saying “Shael Take It!” the other day when I got a papercut! I thought I was the only one that crazy!

  20. Tom says:

    I enjoyed the book, too. Valyn’s growing anger only seems to receive a partial release at the end of the novel. Interesting that his eyes are burnt out as if to reflect the internal landscape. I’m also interested in the back story of the world itself. The ghosts of a long dead civilization peeking again into the present seems a common theme for this genre. How those living in the present confront a past they would rather forget never gets old to me. To me it seems that in more recent works the unpleasant past is more often expressed as dimly “technological.” Your characters flee through the mountains from “demons” which are manufactured or mechanical. I imagine this reflects our apprehension with the technological world and the tension between this force and the spiritual or magical. Either way, I look forward to the deeper exploration of all of this in the next book.

    1. bstaveley says:

      Hi Tom — I do think a looming, long-dead past coming to life is at the heart of much fantasy. We have the Others in A Song of Ice and Fire, the Forsaken in Wheel of Time, etc. I taught history for a long time, and one of my favorite things about the subject is way our collective human experience takes place in layers, each one laid on top of those beneath, the most recent layer twisted with the topography of those beneath. Of course, this can sometimes be demoralizing, especially when conflicts that seem as though they were settled hundreds of years ago flare to life once more; that seems to be the basic model for fantasy, and one that’s solidly based in real-world precedents. It’s really staggering to look at a world map and realize that many of the geographical areas contested today were contested a hundred years ago, or a thousand, or two thousand…

  21. Veeram S says:

    Hello Brian Staveley! Just finished the book and I can’t wait till Jan for the next one!!!!!! I am an architect and a thorough fantasy fan, I loved the book. I think you have put all the characters and plots so well that the future is indeed very exciting. I am glad that with the violence there is enough stress and patience, calmness and peace which is indeed as a strong force as anger and strength. I am from India and a big Gandhi follower and somehow the “vaniate” state reminded me of Mr.Gandhi’s teachings, which have so easily been forgotten. Also so many Indian references, “Rampuri”- We have a knife here thats called that and “Atma”. Anyway, loved the book. Can’t just can’t wait for the next one. Good luck!

    1. bstaveley says:

      Hi Veeram. Thanks for getting in touch! Indian literature definitely had an influence on the book. I love the Mahabharata (though I’ve only read it in a condensed translation — maybe a few hundred pages), and I’m really intrigued by some of the earliest hymns in the Rg Veda. Good eye, picking out “atma”! The vaniate plays an even more important role in the second book, The Providence of Fire — I’ll be curious to hear what you think…

  22. Veeram S says:

    You should really read the Mahabharata and even Ramayana for that matter. A brilliant author “Ashok Banker” has come up with contemporary versions of the both. It’s more of a “lord of the rings” version of both the books but he has still been able to maintain the myth and magic plus the morals. It really changes the way we see things, from the microscopic to the parallel universe scale. It might even help you further develop various angles in your stories. Again, just cant wait for the next book!!! But do try and go through the epics…Regards

    1. bstaveley says:

      I was under the impression that the true Mahabharata was something like two millions words, and that no complete translation exists in English. Is that right? The version I read was translated by Narasimhan — are you familiar with it? I loved it, but have no idea how faithful it was. I’ll definitely check out the Banker versions! Thanks for the suggestion…

  23. Anthony says:

    A wonderful and thoroughly engaging world! I am a fan of fantasy and science fiction and I would place you in the company of Robert Jordan, Terry Goodkind, Terry Brooks, and Dennis Mckiernan. All of whom I consider to be at the pinnacle of fantasy writers…and now that list includes you! Thank you for making an enjoyably immersive world and original characters. Eagerly awaiting your next sojourn into this world.

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks, Anthony — That’s pretty heady company! I haven’t read Dennis Mckiernan, but now I’m excited to check him out. Love discovering great work I haven’t read yet, although one of the tough things about writing full time is that I read less than I used to. Pretty tragic, actually. And ironic! Nonetheless, I keep piling things on the TBR pile, and Mckiernan is next on the stack. Thanks for the suggestion!

  24. JRiendeau says:

    OMG just finished The Emperor’s Blades…as Patricia said will have to double my vitamins and blood pressure meds in hopes to finish this amazing trilogy…do we really have to wait ’till Jan 2015 for The Providence of Fire…please, please say NO 🙂

    1. bstaveley says:

      So glad you enjoyed it! Unfortunately, the Providence of Fire isn’t out until January, but, given that the manuscript is with the copyeditor now, there shouldn’t be any delays. And I’m hard at work on number three, shooting to have a finished draft toward the fall of this year. Which means the whole thing’ll be wrapped up in less than two years…

    2. JRiendeau says:

      Thank you for keeping your fans updated. Have scheduled a re-read of Blades for the end of Dec 🙂 Am so looking forward to the release of Providence
      . Bye the way putting the first 7 chapters on B&N Nook and posted reviews was why I decided to buy the book.

      1. bstaveley says:

        Glad to hear those first seven chapters are doing their job! Thanks for letting me know.

        And as for Providence, it’s with the copyeditor now. Can’t wait for it to hit the shelves, but I’m trying to channel some of the legendary Shin patience….

  25. Juan says:

    I read a blog post by Will Wight, who recommended your book. I really enjoyed Emperor’s Blades; and I mean, really enjoyed it. I’m on my third time through it, and I find myself appreciating the story and your writing style each time I read it. Thank you for the great read. I can’t wait for Providence.

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks, Juan! So glad to hear that you got a kick out of the book. I’ve been doing my final edits on PoF, and I’m getting really excited about it. There’s a lot more exploration of the world and much more opportunity to get to know some of the secondary characters. Also, the plot kicks into high gear. Can’t wait to get it out there into the world. I’ll be curious to hear what you think!

  26. Jeffrey says:


    I’ve got a single major complaint … I don’t want to wait for the next book!

    Really. I’ve never been much for making posts or comments on works. I think that last one I did was a short story by Michael Sullivan (which got me roped into a productive relationship with him).

    I don’t recall how I came upon this book other than I recall searching for Fantasy and something about it caught my attention. I marked it for my wish list. Honestly, I don’t recall why otherwise.

    Recently, I’ve become addicted to audiobooks. I was nearing the end of Jeff Vandermeer’s “Annihilation” and I knew I’d need something to follow. I bought two books: Neil Gaiman’s “Fragile Things” and your book. I’ll say this. I’m careful about what books I buy as audiobooks for the simple fact of their expense. It was a strange whim that picked your book out of my book list. Normally, an unknown author would be a ‘read’ rather than an audiobook listen.

    Besides writing great stories, Mr Gaiman is an amazing narrator. I was, however, completely captivated by both Simon Vance’s narration and your story. I really hope the rest of the series is narrated by Mr Vance. I’d recommend the audio narrative of this book to anyone.

    I’ll leave out the details. Overall I thought it was excellent. As a rating I’d give 4.5 stars. The little issues I had were swallowed but the whole of an excellent story and nothing keeping me from purchasing the follow up … other than I can’t yet!

    Thank you. I eagerly anticipate the next volume.

    1. bstaveley says:

      Hi Jeffrey — thanks for getting in touch! I had the chance to meet Michael Sullivan at New York Comic Con last year (we were on a panel together) and he seemed like a really great guy. I’ve only read one of his Riyria books, but I’m eager to get back into them. Have you checked out his Hollow World?

      I’m glad you enjoyed Simon’s narration of The Emperor’s Blades. He’s an utter pro. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Hilary Mantel’s wonderful novels about Cromwell (Wolf Hall, Bring up the Bodies) — they’re great books (both won the Booker Prize) and Vance narrates them, as well. I haven’t listened yet. Saving them for some long winter night when I’ve got a fire crackling and a good whisky to hand.

      1. Jeffrey says:

        Always up for a good whiskey or bourbon!

        I’ve not yet met Mr Sullivan in person. After reading Riyria Revelations I looked up his web site. Then I got hold of his short story, “Greener Grass”. Somewhere in all of this I took a survey off his web site, made some observations about the short story, and next thing I knew I got a few emails from him and his wife.

        Long story made short, I got myself involved in being a beta reader for both “Riyria Chronicles” books and “Hollow World”. So, yes, definitely read “Hollow World”. I think I’ve read all of Michael’s works and would highly recommend them all.

        As for Vance … I follow authors. He might be an exceptions though. I’ve seriously considered checking out anything else he’s narrated. I’m that impressed.

        1. bstaveley says:

          That’s a great story! I haven’t had a chance to read the Hollow World yet, but it’s definitely on my list. So many books!

  27. Andy Huang says:

    It took me a while to find a good series/novel while waiting for “Winds of Winter” by George R. R. Martin. I spent some time online and stumbled upon “The Emperor’s Blade”. I ended up deciding to check it out because it seemed interesting, and once I started, it was hard to put down, even though the school year is drawing to a conclusion and AP tests and finals are coming up. Finally finished reading it though, and I have to say, some parts of the plot took me by surprise. Hopefully, you won’t pull a Martin and start killing off everyone, haha. Anyway, a really great job on your first novel, and I look forward to reading your next book. Such a long wait!

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks, Andy! Hope the book didn’t interfere too badly with finals and APs. As for the killing of characters — it’s a tricky balance. As a reader, I’m always much more invested in books where it seems very possible that anyone could die at any time. On the other hand, if too many of my favorites get knocked off, I start to wonder why the hell I’m subjecting myself to such abuse!

  28. Shawn Haymond says:

    Man,I was hyped for this book. All the 5 star reviews it had before releasing. Not to mention the awesome cover. (I know. You shouldn’t pick a book to read by its cover. But, sometimes, I just do).

    The book felt like a roller coaster. Some parts really good and others I found myself skimming through.

    The overall plot didn’t really get me exited. At times the characters would play Sherlock Holmes and ask each other way to many questions about what and why something just happened. The plot was transparent, yet it felt as though the author was trying to create surprise.

    The author excels at describing action scenes. Twice during the book I found my self sitting upright and totally absorbed with the plight of the main character. And the main characters trial to become a Kettral was awesome!

    I should also mention the cussing. There is more than average in this book. Most was used during the training of main character and it fit the scene. Some was narrator driven, which I personally thought was a little to much. And at times I felt as though I was watching scenes from the TV series Spartacus. Might be to much for some, but it was ok for me. I

    I feel there is a lot of potential for this writer, and I look forward to his future work.

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks for taking the time to read and review the book, Shawn. I’ll be curious to hear what you make of The Providence of Fire!

  29. Julian Belle says:

    Will your series be fantasy heavy? It seems that Blades was like that.

    1. bstaveley says:

      Hi Julian — I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “fantasy heavy”. The second book has some political maneuvering and at least one pitched battle alongside the magical and mythological elements. Does that help to answer you question?

  30. William Conner says:

    Hi Brian, I just finished The Emperor’s Blades earlier today and I’ve got to say, I love it. I’ve read Goodkind, Sanderson and Jordan before and I absolutely love the variety with the cussing in this book. I know you’ve expressed some strong opinions regarding cussing before and I just gotta say I appreciate it. The plot was fantastic and I am looking forward to all future books you write. Take care!

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks, William. It’s so funny to get feedback about an issue like cursing in the novel. Some readers are vehemently opposed; others love it. A great illustration of the fact that you can’t please all the people all the time. I’m very happy to hear, however, that it worked for you!

  31. Bill W. Hatcher says:

    Hi Brian,
    I just finished reading The Emperor’s Blades and love the storyline that is unfolding. I see the second book will be out in 2015 and just wanted to tell you that I hope you can stretch this series out to at least (3) books or more. Keep up the good work!!

    William Hatcher

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks, William — I’m delighted to hear that you enjoyed The Emperor’s Blades. And don’t worry! I have a three-book deal with Tor, so The Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne will definitely be a trilogy. I’m well into the third volume now. I picture a hard stop to this particular story at the end of these three, but I’m very open to following other, secondary characters in future books, or exploring other aspects of this world. I always wanted, for instance, to go check out Rassambur…

  32. Michael says:

    As much as I got terribly bored with Raymond E Feist for dragging out the Riftwar Saga and going back to the world without being innovative, I hope you don’t lock yourself into a trilogy unnecessarily.

    However, if you decide to do a hard stop, then please do a fresh start with the history remaining as history. I remember there was a sequel to Riftwar which started great then Pug just had to come back and the whole world felt stale.

    Even a prequel would be good as I loved the beginning scene of your book and to see that struggle would be amazing. So maybe not reveal too much about the history yet!

    1. bstaveley says:

      Deciding when to stop one story and start another can be a tricky decision. As you pointed out, you don’t want to overstay your welcome. On the other hand, when you’ve invented an entire world, it’s nice to take the time to explore it. And on the third hand, it can be frustrating to the reader when she’s not sure when the damn story is over (versus merely suspended).

      All of that said, I’m certainly planning to explore this world more fully. Secondary characters in this particular story have their own stories in which they are central, and I’d like to tell a number of those. In fact, I’ve started on this project already. Check out the page on this site for The Last Abbot…

      1. Vascariz says:

        Thank you for your reply. Forgot to mention of course that I love your book!

  33. bking says:

    Just picked up The Emperor’s Blades and could not stop reading. This book should have a warning label. So excited to find another author who can entrance me. Now I have to wait for the next one. Can anyone say re-read!

    1. bstaveley says:

      So glad to hear you enjoyed it! Curious to hear what other authors you like to read, especially of fantasy…

  34. Beatrice Christine Lawson says:

    Finished it in one day and came to check the release date for Providence. Glad to hear is Jan 2015! I am used to agonizing waits (Scott Lynch, GRRM, Rothfuss) so half a year feels like a treat. Hopefully book 3 is also progressing well… Loved the character development and hope to see that continue in book 2 for both Valyn and Kaden. The name similarity with Vaelyn in Blood Song was funny, particularly in light of their martial training path. The tone also reminded me of Joe Abercrombie, all shades of grey and fairly bleak. I almost put the book down when Lin died, but I understand why it had to happen. As you mentioned above, it is a tricky balance between placing your characters in actual real danger to maintain tension and killing enough of them to make a reader stop caring. What got to me was the relentless agony: never a nice meal, fun night out or soft bed for anyone (the only one with access to any pleasant experience is never shown to enjoy it at all, quite understandable in light of her mourning and political struggle). But I digress… hope to see more of Adare in the next book and hopefully also gain an understanding of why exactly the traitors would ally themselves with an immortal foe bent on destruction. A lot of “traditional” fantasy fails the reality test when it comes to evil motivation. Just because it’s fantasy does not mean the characters should not behave logically..

    I found the swearing disruptive, not because of cursing in general (in fact a good, colourful one can add to a character) but it seemed thrown in too often and it felt unimaginative: just the gods names repeated over and over seemed to break the story. However, it sounds like other readers liked it, so I ended up ignoring it for the sake of the plot and the characters.

    Wish I had the secret note to help decode The Last Abbot but no such luck:-) just need to sit tight and wait for book 2!

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks for the thoughtful note, Beatrice. Book Three (still untitled) is coming along nicely. Currently it’s due to come out a year after Providence, and there doesn’t seem to be any reason that we’d miss that date. There is much more Adare in Providence, as well as a new POV character, someone you’ve already met, but who didn’t get her own POV in The Emperor’s Blades.

      Like you, I think a lot about the motivations of the bad guys (I have a post about that here somewhere), and I think you’ll be pleased with some of the answers you get in book two. I’ll be curious to hear your thoughts after you’ve read it, either way.

      I also appreciate your perspective on the cursing. That has been a polarizing issue for readers — just got a note on twitter today from a guy who loved it, but you’re not the only one who finds it obtrusive. I think I may have dialed it back fifteen-twenty percent in book two. Hard to be sure.

      Another chunk of The Last Abbot was just unlocked. Enjoy!

      1. Steve Thomas says:

        Hi, Brian. Just to weigh in on the issue of cursing, whenever I read a novel, I’m reading it for two audiences: for myself, and for my four kids, who range from 17 to 7. Obviously they can handle different types of content, depending on their age, and the older three are avid readers of fantasy who love a good book, but I’m careful about what I hand off to them. I probably will wait until they’re older to send this series their way–that kind of pains me since I enjoyed the first book so much. But I understand that people sometimes just want to write for adult audiences; even then, I think cursing can become a distraction. Anyway, my two cents, which should be couched in my earlier comments on how much I appreciated your writing and your storyline.

        Take care,


        1. bstaveley says:

          Thanks for the thoughts, Steve. I have a 2-year-old, so I’m very much in the habit of listening over my own shoulder to make sure I don’t say anything too horrible. Amazing the way every foul utterance boomerangs right back. I’ll be very curious to see how old he is before he wants to tackle these books (if at all).

          The cursing question is always tough. I usually write in even MORE for the first draft, then edit out everything that doesn’t seem important, if you can believe it…

  35. Don says:

    Still hoping The Providence of Fire is released earlier than January. Will the next book have any more history of the Annurian Empire? Such as its rise?

    1. bstaveley says:

      Unfortunately, it won’t be released earlier. The good news is, it definitely won’t be late.

      The Providence of Fire definitely includes more Annurian history, as well as a good solid slug of pre-Annurian material. I’m not sure exactly how much, but a good chunk of the book takes place within the borders of Annur (rather than the Islands or the Bone Mountains).

  36. Jimmy says:

    Hey Brian,
    Thank you for a great read!!
    I just finished reading Blades. I really enjoyed the world and the hints of more back story about the Nevariim/Csestriim. Those poor brothers sure took a beating. Can’t wait for the next installment.

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks, Jimmy. Sorry I missed this when you first posted it! Sometimes these WordPress comments slip past me. At any rate, I think you’ll be pleased with the growing revelations in The Providence of Fire. We certainly learn more history of the world, both ancient and less so… I look forward to hearing what you think!

  37. Mn says:

    hi, It’s the french guy from february 2014
    I’am waiting for buy the second book “the providence of fire” and I hope but I’m sure it will be as good that the first.
    I hope that you will write others books of fantasy.

    1. bstaveley says:

      I’m probably looking forward to the release of The Providence of Fire at least as much as you are! It’s a bigger book, both in terms of word-count and scope, than The Emperor’s Blades…

  38. lima says:

    Don’t just go saying that about the scope, you set the bar pretty damn high. I can’t remember the last time I almost went through an entire book without rolling my eyes! The fact it’s fantasy was even more impressive.

    Side-note: Do you know if it’s the same narrator as before? (Simon Vance. Yes, I bothered to learn his name)
    Another Side-note: Can you tell the exact or a closer approximate date of release? I haven’t seen the cover on audible or in B&N
    Yet Another Side-note: You have no idea about the amount of editing/censoring I had to undergo in writing this fucking thing. It was like working for the CIA’s black marker department!

    1. bstaveley says:

      Yep! It’s Simon Vance again for the second book. I was just chatting with him last night about a few of the more obscure pronunciations. The book comes out on January 13th, and you can preorder it now, from B&N ( or Amazon or Audible or wherever.

      I’m thrilled that you enjoyed the first one — can’t wait to hear what you make of Providence!

  39. William Conner says:

    Wow, I can’t believe it is almost time for Providence to come out! This month is such an absolutely epic month in books for me.

    I finally started reading The Lord of the Rings, I just received The Wise Man’s Fear by Rothfuss in the mail yesterday, Firefight by Sanderson came out today and then Providence on the 13th.

    Can’t wait!!

    1. bstaveley says:

      That’s a huge month! Rothfuss, Sanderson, Tolkien… and Staveley??? I’m just glad to be on the list!

      Hope you like it…

  40. Jean says:

    Oh I am so excited, been waiting …FOREVER.,,now need to go back and reread the first book so I’m current on all the happenings in this world!!!!

    1. bstaveley says:

      Perfect timing! One week to read the first one, then segue right into the action…

  41. Ruan says:

    Well done and thank you for writing the first book I’ve been excited about in quite some time. I can’t wait for Providence of Fire! 🙂

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks, Ruan! Glad you hear you enjoyed it. Looking forward to hearing what you make of Providence!

      1. Brian says:

        Brian, Thank you for these two totally awesome books. I read your first one when I was still in my bachelor pad, and in between jobs (read it in less than a week). Now I am living with my lady and working like a machine, which is why I am only half way through your second book (love it by the way). Have you posted or thought about posting an expanded glossary somewhere? Your books contain a rich history and has many cultures, and I didn’t have the time to do a re-read of the first book.


        1. bstaveley says:

          Hi Brian — Thanks for getting in touch! Amazing how a good relationship can get in the way of marathon reading sessions, isn’t it? Probably a good trade, tho. Putting together a glossary is a great idea — quite a few people have asked me if there’s a wiki of book one. I’ll try to get on it, but revisions to Book 3 are bearing down on me. Hopefully I can get something up on the website in the next couple of weeks, but it might take a little longer. All the best, Brian

  42. JPuget says:

    Just finished Providence of Fire, the only negative thing about it is I have to wait at least a year before the next one! What a great read, I love epic fantasy and this is everything I want in the genre. Thanks for providing me with the opportunity to get immersed in this world.

    1. bstaveley says:

      So glad you enjoyed it! I’m having a lot of fun as I work through the edits to #3. Can’t wait to get this one out there…

  43. Janice says:

    THIS BOOK IS AMAZING. All those plot twists, the strong new characters and above all, the decisions of each sibling makes this such an epic read. Although I love most of your characters (Nira is my idol) I was wondering if there is any chance you could more backstories on Valyn’s wing. I’m curious about the silent but deadly Annick. Also, is there a chance that there might be a sliver of romance in the next book? I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE NEXT BOOK!

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks for getting in touch, Janice! I’m thrilled that you enjoyed Providence. As for the next book, there is definitely more material about Valyn’s Wing, and the Kettral in general. I’m also toying with the idea of a stand-alone Kettral book after this whole series is over. As for romance, I’ve already written book three, and there is definitely romance. Hope you like it!

  44. Steven says:

    One day after finishing Providence of Fire. All I can Say Is Shocking! That was truly Shocking!
    Great Book! What about Valyn though! Horrible!

  45. Nikki says:

    I just finished listening to the audiobook of Providence of Fire. Holy shit, that was awesome! Do you have any idea yet when the next book will be released? I can’t wait!

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Nikki! The third volume is slated for release in January. I’ve finished the first draft and am hard at work on the edits as we speak. It’s shaping up to be a little longer than PROVIDENCE, so… a pretty big book!

  46. Steven says:

    Is the Third Book going to be the last book or does this continue? Second book really started opening up the world.
    Great Saga you are writing! It shocked me to my core!

  47. jesse says:

    Eexcellent!!!!!! They need a movie deal to go with it. Cant wait for the 3rd book!

  48. Jacob S. says:

    Wow…just, wow. Providence exceeded every expectation I had. Adare’s role in the plot expanded greatly from the first, and the heart-rending dynamics at play between the three siblings worked wonders. And that end… oh, that owl. Fantastic job, Mr. Staveley. Next January can’t come soon enough.

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks, Jacob! I’m so thrilled that you enjoyed it. And that you noticed the owl…

      Hard at work revising number 3 now! I’m think you folks are going to like this one…

  49. John says:

    3/4 of the way done with the Providence of Fire, which I bought last weekend, and I’m already finding myself intentionally slowing down just so I don’t finish it. Haven’t done that in a long, long time for a Fantasy series. I have no idea when the next book is coming, but man do I hope you don’t have a lot of sci-fi convention visits and miniature release parties set over the next several months, because I really need something else to read 🙂 Bravo.

    1. bstaveley says:

      So glad you’re enjoying it, John! I’m revising #3 now, and having some fun discussions about cover art for both the US and Uk editions. It’ll be out early next year — sorry for the wait! What other writers have you enjoyed — maybe I can make some recommendations to tide you over…

      1. Gene Tankersley says:

        I have not had a world pull me in so thoroughly in years, (impatiently waiting for the continuance ). Where GoT utterly fails in the arcane and divine you have penned a masterpiece.

        THANK YOU!

        Hopefully the the omnipotent producers at HBO have been in contact.

        1. bstaveley says:

          Thanks, Gene! I love GoT — I think’s it’s one of the masterpieces of the genre — but I’ve always been a little puzzled by the ins and outs of magic and divine favor in those books. How’d you come across the Unhewn Throne series?

  50. Adam Long says:

    I just finished The Providence of Fire. In the next book does Valyn become a lawyer and don a red suit? 😛 Can’t wait to read the third book.

    1. bstaveley says:

      I actually haven’t read Daredevil, but more and more I’m feeling like I really need to…

      1. Rowan says:

        Daredevil is a fun read, and I encourage you to read it, but I wouldn’t compare Matt Murdock to Valyn in any way. They are both blind; that is about the extent of the similarity between them. Well, that and the rage.

        1. bstaveley says:

          I’m intentionally avoiding all Daredevil stuff until I’m finished this trilogy. Then then I’ll be very curious to see what it’s all about!

  51. Christian says:

    G’day Brian,

    Mate what a cracker! I enjoyed The Emperor’s Blades, I thought it was a very solid and engaging read with some interesting characters. However, I’ve got to say that I think you have taken it to another level in The Providence Of Fire. The twists and turns in the political landscape, your unflinching commitment to realism and the fact that people die in battle (even people we grow to care about) and the way the story builds to a crescendo is just top notch. I would like to thank you, sincerely thank you, for the hours of reading pleasure you have provided and your magical ability to make my 50 minute train trip to work vanish in the blink of an eye.

    Now I want more dammit!

    All the best mate.


    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks for getting in touch, Christian! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the series, and that you think Providence is a step up from Blades. To me, that second book feels bigger (in a good way) — it’s longer, of course, but there’s also more of the world, more of the main characters, more secondary characters, etc. It was good fun (and sometimes a nightmarish challenge) to paint on such a broad canvas. I’m hard at work revising #3 as we speak. I’ve finished a full draft that I’m excited about, but there are lots of details to nail down. Looking toward release early next year…

  52. Christian says:

    I massively appreciate the reply mate, particularly given how busy you must be. Thanks also for the great news on book 3. If you ever need an honest and completely unqualified opinion you know where to find me….

  53. Josh Towne says:

    I have really enjoyed the Unhewn throne thus far, it is hard in the fantasy genre to find stories with great character development and so far yours has been terrific! Believe me when I say I’ve slogged through a lot! Looking forward to the 3rd (and final?) installment, kinda hope it has to go 4! Keep up the good work

    1. bstaveley says:

      Hi Josh — Thanks for taking the time to get in touch. I’m working on the third book now, and I can say pretty conclusively that it will be the end of this particular story. Given that, I’m eager to write more in this world, and even to further explore the lives of some of these characters. Right now, I’m pondering the possibility of a stand-alone or two involving some of the secondary characters in this series. Any requests?

      1. Joshua Green says:

        Hi Brian. I absolutely loved your first two books. Especially the constant theme of moral injury: adjusting to a world in which there is no morally pure action and how to be human in such a world. The Hendran quotes are priceless. And the cool use of what I suspect is modelled on Rinzai Zen. As an aside, I wonder about the Shin take on no-self/vaniate; other buddhist philosophies would say it’s not that emotion doesn’t arise, just that it is not the reference point, not owned by a self. That blankness is deadness, not enlightenment.

        Some unforgetable characters I’d like to see you write about would be Rishinira (love her well-earned bitter, smart-ass practicality with some good heart underneath), Akiil (giving you credit though for the short piece on him on the site), Rampuri-Tan of course (how did he “convert” to Shin and even then how did him become such as astute thinker about the limitations in all ways, even the Shin). and perhaps Adiv (what is his “dark side” philosophy and how did he come to be so willing to sacrifice his own daughter?)

        1. bstaveley says:

          Thanks for the kind words, Joshua! You’re absolutely right when it comes to both the inspiration for the Shin — Buddhism played a large role. But you’re also right that they Shin are emphatically NOT Buddhist. Shin (and Ishien) teaching, derived, as it was, from the Csestriim, departs in some crucial way from Buddhist (or Taoist) thought. In certain contexts, it’s almost like a dark mirror to Buddhism.

          I’d love to write a long piece (either a story or even a novel) about Rishinira and Roshin. That whole time period really interests me, and might warrant some further delving. It’s getting exciting thinking about what I’m going to work on after I finish this series. Thanks for the suggestions!

  54. Steven says:

    Hi Brian I wish I could read your two books over again!!! Will have to before the third.
    How about starting a New Chronicle that is in the Time of Emperor’s life? I would like there to be a book on Valyn’s Wing but that would probably be before Emperor’s blade while there still training.
    It’s a great world you created with amazing characters I think you could use any of it and come up with a new saga.
    What about Flea and his wing when they were young.

    1. bstaveley says:

      I love the idea of revisiting the Flea — a little prequel about the formation of his Wing. There’s a lot of good material there that I’ve had to come up with in creating the characters, and I’d love to share some of it with readers. Hmmm. Might have to get on that…

      1. Steven says:

        Akiil thank God he Survives I look forward to his story in a book too! Yea your world is so Dense there is so much you could write about. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

        1. bstaveley says:

          I’m looking forward to doing more Akiil stories — I’m imagining something like a serialized novel released over the next few years…

  55. janschubert says:

    Hi Brian. I was tweeting with you and got frustrated by shortness of tweets!
    I know what you mean about the three siblings not knowing each other. I can’t imagine if I was separated from my brother at 8 or 9 and then didn’t see him for nearly 10 years. And it seems that Valyn and Kaden did not see any of their family for long periods, if at all. Not a life I could imagine sending my sons to.
    But it is a different world. It reminds me of watching Master and Commander and finally feeling the reality of what it was like for young boys to be sent off as midshipmen on sailing ships. They had to grow up young, as did Valyn and Kaden. And though Adare didn’t have the harsh training that they endured, she also grew up fast, and has really been thrown into the fire now. Sad that they lost their mother so young. I like the glimpse we get of who she was in this book. I sometimes feel I might have missed details in my hurry to find out what happens! Lately I’ve been going back and rereading books when they are as full of detail and complexity as yours.
    Reading the end of Providence of Fire, I felt that there in that tower, it was like a microcosm of the fog of war. Fulton doesn’t know who Valyn is or that he has no intention of hurting Adare. Valyn doesn’t know Fulton is true to Adare and his duty and that Adare is not taking the throne in a power play. Valyn doesn’t know what his father’s killer is. And I don’t think ANY of them realize just how powerful Ran il Tornja is. They are playing out their drama in the tower while Long Fist and Balendin continue to wreak havoc.
    You did leave us in suspense as to how Pyrre fared, but I feel confident she will show up soon in book III! At least I hope so! I really enjoy that your books have some really strong female characters. Some are warriors and fighters, holding their own, and even surpassing the men. But others fit into more feminine roles, like Adare and Triste, yet still have such strength.
    Thank you for writing two such wonderful, entrancing books and creating the fascinating world they are set in. I’m eagerly awaiting book III.
    While I wait do you have any suggestions for a good, long read? I haven’t had much reading time (did get a Ph.D. though!) for a number of years so am woefully out of step with anything that has come out in the past 10 years. Any recommendations are appreciated!

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks for the thoughtful response, Janis. I’m glad you felt the fog of war up there on that tower — that’s definitely what I was trying to evoke. Of course, that involves every single character making a crucial mistake, which can be frustrating for some readers — I just didn’t see any other way that it could really play out!

      As for recommendations, I’d steer you toward Elizabeth Bear’s Eternal Sky trilogy, Scott Lynch’s Lies of Locke Lamora, and Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, for starters. There’s been so much good stuff written recently, that you’re in for a lot of treats! I’m in the middle of V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic right now and it’s really wonderful…

      1. janschubert says:

        Thanks for the recommendations! I’m looking forward to checking them out!

  56. Katherine says:

    Wow! I just finished Fire and am thinking I need to read it again, to make sure I didn’t miss anything! It would be easy to do, it is DENSE with action, characters, and history. How ever did you keep up with it all?! I’m wondering what on earth the emperor was intending for his empire, based on the specific training he chose for his children. I’m eagerly awaiting book three to see what happens. With the kids at cross purposes, whatever is happening to Valyn, and the meddling of immortals and gods, it should be a bang-up read!

    Thanks for The Last Abbott of Ashk’lan. I liked Akiil and was glad to know he survived the massacre. Maybe you could do more of these short takes on other secondary characters! I hate to think book three will be the last act in this universe.

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks for getting in touch, Katherine! I’d like to write more shorts about Akiil — I have a sort of serialized novel imagined for him. Maybe fifteen stories over the next few years that follow his path. As for other secondary characters — you’re almost certainly in luck! The current plan, when this series is finished, will be to write a couple of stand-alone novels following some of these secondary characters. Any specific requests?

      1. shaymond06 says:

        Hmmmm. Interesting. I think I would enjoy a serialized book. As a consumer, I would be worried about the cost though. ebook form during the run then a hardcover at the end maybe. I like the idea. Not many authors going this route.

        1. bstaveley says:

          I think I’d release the individual stories for free, then see if Tor was interested in putting together a physical book when it was all finished…

  57. janschubert says:

    It’s me again! I was wondering if you have a pdf or jpeg of the map of your world? I have the ebooks and even though I can zoom in and see some things, the resolution is not that good. I would love to be able to see it on a large monitor or print it out to refer to since I find I sometimes get confused as to the relative locations of the places in the book. I’m in the process of re-reading Providence of Fire and paying more attention to details. Since the three Malkeenian kids are scattered to the winds and on the move, there are a lot of places to keep track of! If you had a poster size map for sale, I would buy it for sure!

  58. Paula says:

    Hi Brian,
    Rarely have I read such a compelling and wonderful book. I was immersed immediately in its captivating world and characters. You have a great deal of potential as a writer and I feel we as the readers are about to see your full brilliance in your upcoming books. All of your hard work is tremendously appreciated.Thank you and please do keep the job well done.
    Kudos mate,

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks so much for getting in touch, Paula, and for the very kind words. I’m curious — how’d you come across my books in the first place?

  59. scott says:

    hi Brian,
    i have never made a comment to an author before, though i have read many books.I am always looking for new and good fantasy writers.Having said that, i want to commend you on the first two books in this series.When i read a book and find myself wondering what the characters might do next, i know that im reading an excellent book.I didnt want to put them down.But when i had to, I found myself thinking about the it.Thank you so much for persevering until your work was published.

    1. bstaveley says:

      Hi Scott — Thanks for taking the time to reach out! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the books. Really can’t wait to finish this third one and see it out in the world. To your point about characters, a couple of the plot lines have gone in ways I didn’t quite anticipate when I started this final volume. I’ll be very curious to hear what you make of it when it’s finally finished.

  60. M. Siddiqui says:

    Hey Brian,

    Firstly, I would like to thank you for an excellent series of books. I would also like to commend you on the decision to put up the first 7 chapters on Amazon/TOR for free. After reading about your book on Reddit Fantasy, I decided to check them out, and I got hooked extremely quickly.

    Secondly, I really like the fact that there aren’t pages upon pages of worldbuilding and scene setting, everything happens in a quick and gritty manner while giving the reader ample information to understand what is going on. Kudos for that, it was masterfully done.

    Thirdly, I really like how these books are suitable for people who are just starting off in the fantasy genre and experienced veterans. I have read many fantasy series from multiple authors and I found this book to be very interesting. My Brother on the other hand has always put down fantasy books before, the only series he read was the Gentleman Bastards by Scott Lynch. However, when he picked up the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, he was absolutely hooked. He is in the middle of Providence of Fire and cannot stop asking me questions about this and that and theorycrafting with me about the limits of the abilities of Leaches etc. It is very hard not to spoil the absolutely magnificent ending you engineered, Thank you for providing another way for me to connect with my brother.

    In conclusion, thank you very much for writing amazing books, and making a gateway drug for my brother to get into fantasy.

    Thank you.


    PS: This is the first time I have written anything to an author, I am extremely excited at this time, hopefully everything makes sense!

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks for getting in touch! I’m so glad that the free chapters were a good hook for you; it seems from the emails I get that they’ve lured in quite a few readers. I’m surprised, actually, that publishers don’t release same chapters like that for more books — seems easy to do, and there’s really no down side. As for the question of world-building versus action — it’s a tricky one for anyone writing second-world fantasy. I usually try to sneak as much world-building into the dialogue as I think it’ll bear; seems like that’s the most exciting and palatable way to get across some of the crucial exposition. I, too, love the Scott Lynch books — I was floored when I first encountered Locke Lamora years back. The middle of that book still just guts me.

      Thanks again for taking the time to write such a kind and thoughtful note!

  61. Dr.Paul says:

    Brian – firstly like some of the entries listed above – this is the first time that l have ever written to an Author about a book l have read. Such was the enjoyment and the pleasure l garnered from your books – l felt it was only fair to write and both congratulate you, and thank you for your work.
    l will preface this by saying l ‘listened’ to your book on Audiobooks – as l most often do, as there is few things more pleasurable than being out in the fresh air, walking and being totally engrossed in a storyline.
    May l be bold enough to start with a criticism?? Your use of expletives, e/g ‘Kent kissing’ – which on several occasions in the books was repetitive and annoying. Indeed the use of the noun/verb ‘fuck’ or ‘fuckers’ was unnecessary. Insofar as in such a brilliantly crafted world, presumably set in a time long before the 21st Century, I’m sure the word was never used!!
    Now that is rich coming from an Irishman – where expletives are part of our culture – almost !!!
    Excluding that little criticism – l have to admit that your books are absolutely brilliant. Like your earlier bloggers l was totally enthralled with your plots, planning and execution to date.
    I’m not going to go into detail about this and that – but suffice to say that you have a brilliant storytelling mind and you ability to put it to paper (or indeed audio) is magnificent.
    l thought Tad Williams was good – but you rock!!
    Really really looking forward to the next book or indeed books. Because you have hit on something special.
    l wish you huge success and may your mind continue to produce such gems, as The Emperors Blades and The Providence of Fire.
    Well done Sir and once again – thank you so much for the hours of pleasure you have given me on my many walks around my beloved town of Dundalk.
    as ever

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks so much for getting in touch, Paul! The kind words are much appreciated as I work my way through the twists and turns of the third volume. You’ll be happy to know that I’ve had many a long discussion with my father about the expletives in the book (which he can’t stand). I’ve thought a lot about this question, and even written a little bit about it on this blog. The etymology of the word “fuck” is actually pretty interesting. There’s much mystery and debate, in part because the writers of dictionaries omitted it for many years, but it seems pretty clear that it dates back at least to the early 16th century. This link has some great citations. It’s also my general go-to for questions of etymology, which come up way more than you’d expect!

      At any rate, I really appreciate your kind note! I’ll look forward to hearing what you make of the third book when it’s finally released!

      All the Best,

  62. Rowan says:

    I just finished reading The Providence of Fire this morning. It was immensely enjoyable! I particularly enjoy the world you’ve created; it reminds me a little of the Malazan world, in a good way. Congratulations on a fantastic novel. I’m looking forward to the next installment.

    1. Josh Towne says:


      Thanks, Josh Towne


  63. bstaveley says:

    So glad you enjoyed it! I’ve read the first few Malazan books — loved them — but feel as though I need a year with no distractions to hammer through the whole series and keep everything straight. Retirement, maybe. Although I’m not sure that writers actually retire. Huh…

    1. Rowan says:

      It is no small feat to make it through that series, but it is an incredibly rewarding experience. I get the feeling that the conclusion of this series will be rewarding as well. Loved the way you used the owl in the ending of The Providence of Fire. It made me smile at the possibilities.

  64. Josh Towne says:

    Kudos on a great couple of books I’m sad to hear that it’s a trilogy , wish it was longer! I enjoy the way you’ve crafted the characters and delved into how they became who they are. I like valyn and he’s tough but I kinda get the feeling we havnt seen a fraction of what kaydn is going to be capable of!
    Anyway looking forward to the next installment

  65. Josh Towne says:

    I’ve been listening to the malzan books on audible during my commute , crazy how fast you can get through them that way

    1. bstaveley says:

      I need a longer commute. Never thought I’d say that, actually.

  66. Eric F says:

    Hi Brian,
    Just finished TPoF 2 nights ago and what a fantastic read. Glad to say I was imagining what happened to Triste since about halfway through when it was mentioned who Long-Fist really was, and glad to see I was correct! I’m already excited to reread it next year just before TLMB! Keep up the amazing work and may all your future series be as great as this one.

  67. Glenn Brown says:

    One character I’d like to see more of after the trilogy is finished in Annick Frencha. Of course, my interest in this character may in part simply be due to my misunderstanding her fundamental nature. Her almost superhuman skill with archery, and her nearly emotionless personality suggests to me that she just might be Csestriim. Of course, since she grew up alongside the other Kestril, she can’t be an old Csestriim. Could she be one of the first members of her species to be born in millennia, possibly because some of the Gods didn’t influence her emotional development in the ‘normal’ way?

    1. bstaveley says:

      An interesting theory. I’d definitely like to write more about Annick. Provided, of course, that she’s not dead by the end of this third book…

  68. Alan says:

    Excellent series, Brian! As exciting and entertaining as Kingkiller, Stormlight, and Riyria for me. Keep up the great work.

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Alan. Can’t wait to hear what you make of the third one…

    2. MadProfessah says:

      Agreed! I think The Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne ranks up there with the best fantasy I have read in recent years, which I would say includes Brent Weeks Lightbringer series, Peter Brett‘s Demon Cycle, and Daniel Abraham‘s The Dagger and The Coin series.

      I’d love to hear how you (or your publisher?) pick who does the blurb for your books because the names I have seen so far include people I have never heard of. (Though to be fair, space opera is really more of my wheelhouse, but I do appreciate gripping epic fantasy like you have produced in this series!)

      Anyway, congrats on the success and I am very much looking forward to reading The Last Mortal Bond!

      1. bstaveley says:

        I’m thrilled you’re enjoying the story! As for blurbs, there’s no real system (at least as far as I’ve been able to determine). Some come in unsolicited, from other writers who have just stumbled across the book and enjoyed it. In other cases, my publisher or agent passes a copy on to someone they thing might 1. enjoy the book and 2. be willing to write something; sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. Then, some of the blurbs come from reviewers. It’s a bit of a mish-mash!

  69. Joseph says:

    Dude you had me when you first introduced me to the world of the Annurians with ‘The Emperors Blades’ … But damn! This second edition in the Trilogy is like book#1 on ‘SPEED!’. The plot twists, political conspiracies, targetted eugenics, and of course those awesome gritty battles. Your tale of a dying breed of immortals, of usurpers that would see themselves as Kings, of Gods playing at being human, of mad monks preaching Armageddon, and misunderstood monsters is freaking mind blowing. Zealots one and all, blinded by the righteousness of their cause. I’m sold, hook line and sinker. These saviours, monsters, warriors, monks do make for addictive reading.

    One of the truly genius parts of your writing was when Adare was asking Tanís if he was spending the whole afternoon counting trees. Then he did the 2 finger thing … how many fingers am I holding up…
    That short illustration, those few sentences were sheer genius. You in one swoop managed to demonstrate (to me at list … maybe I’m a bit slow) the magnitude of the rift between man and immortal. That was a dropjaw moment!
    If there is one negative thing I can say about this book, it’s that I read it too early.
    Should have waited a while as now I’ll have a long wait for book# 3 .. grrrrr

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks, Joseph! So glad that you’re enjoying the story. I enjoy trying to write characters that are sympathetic but deeply flawed, so I’m glad that that’s the way a lot of these folks are coming across to you. It’s always interesting to hear which characters resonate with which readers. There are people, for instance, who can’t stand Valyn, and, on the other side, people who are reading the story mainly for him.

      As far as book 3 goes, it’s less than a year out now. I’m working through the final large-scale edits this month, then it’s off to the copyeditor. Stay tuned today, by the way — is going to be doing a cover reveal of the US cover.

      Thanks again for getting in touch!

  70. Parker says:

    The lifestyle demands of my career had brought me to a point in my life, that up until 3 months ago I had not read a fiction book in almost 8 years. While I read almost on a daily basis these are non fiction industry related books which have unequivocally contributed to where I am today. Having forgotten the book I was currently reading, (The Quest, by Daniel Yergin) I began browsing frantically for anything remotely industry related in the airport bookstore. My efforts were cut short with the sound of the last boarding call so I grabbed the first book I could (in the nonfiction section ?!?) expecting it to be about the history of Asian politics. After finishing both of your books in very short order I wanted to thank you personally for a change in thought process that a fictional book could not be beneficial to the advancement of my goals in life. Your creation and personification of various religions was executed flawlessly. The subtle mirroring of reputational traits in each character to their corelated religion was a fascinating take on human characteristics and the duality of the adverse and beneficial roles religion takes in shaping not only a society, but the traits and actions of the individuals that collectively make up the world you created. You’ve reignited a childhood passion of mine reading for pleasure, while in stilling thought provoking themes and messages peppered through out an engrossing tale thank you.

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks for getting in touch, Parker! How bizarre that someone shelved The Emperor’s Blades in the nonfiction section — first time I’ve heard that one. Of course, the germs for a lot of the ideas in the book came from my years teaching world history and comparative religion, and it sounds like this is some of the stuff that you cued in on in the book after all. I’m thrilled that you enjoyed it; the third book, THE LAST MORTAL BOND, is with my editor now. Can’t wait to get it out there. What other fiction are you reading in the mean time?

  71. Tanner says:

    Hi Brian.

    I just finished Providence of Fire and I’m happy to see that book 3 is coming soon.

    In reading the comments here and noticing that you are interested in writing more about this world and its characters I just wanted to echo the comment about the Flea having a stand alone story, or really anything involving the wing’s and the Kettral. Reading about the training in The Emperors Blades, and then reading about Valyn’s wing and all its characters following the training has been really fascinating. The bond they have created is so unusual since they all seem to hate each other, but trust each other at the same time. Anyways, thanks for the books, I have already pre-ordered book 3.


  72. Simon Stratmann says:

    Thank you so much for the recap, will help me a lot with TLMB. I wish all authors would do that.

    1. bstaveley says:

      I know what you mean. I’m constantly forgetting details from books I read a while back. Glad it was useful to you!

  73. morgynstarz says:

    Brian, crazy loving Providence. Can’t find an email for you. I have a point of clarification re horses/saddling would like to share, but won’t in public.

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