Chronological Book List

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SKULLSWORN – Stand-Alone Novel / April 2017

“A stunning prequel that actually lives up to the original trilogy’s legacy […] Staveley has proven himself to be a master of world-building, character development, and sheer storytelling.” —Beauty in Ruins

Skullsworn by Brian Staveley
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Brian Staveley’s new standalone returns to the critically acclaimed Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne universe, following a priestess-assassin for the God of Death.

“Brilliant.” ―V. E. Schwab, New York Times bestselling author

From the award-winning epic fantasy world of The Emperor’s Blades

Pyrre Lakatur is not, to her mind, an assassin, not a murderer―she is a priestess. At least, she will be once she passes her final trial.

The problem isn’t the killing. The problem, rather, is love. For to complete her trial, Pyrre has ten days to kill the seven people enumerated in an ancient song, including “the one who made your mind and body sing with love / who will not come again.”

Pyrre isn’t sure she’s ever been in love. And if she fails to find someone who can draw such passion from her, or fails to kill that someone, her order will give her to their god, the God of Death. Pyrre’s not afraid to die, but she hates to fail, and so, as her trial is set to begin, she returns to the city of her birth in the hope of finding love . . . and ending it on the edge of her sword.

“A complex and richly detailed world filled with elite soldier-assassins, mystic warrior monks, serpentine politics, and ancient secrets.” ―Library Journal, starred review, on The Emperor’s Blades

Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne
The Emperor’s Blades
The Providence of Fire
The Last Mortal Bond

Other books in the world of the Unhewn Throne


THE EMPEROR’S BLADES: Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne #1

“A fantastic and compelling fantasy world […] an excellent author […] a compelling narrative.” —io9

The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley
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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.

100 thoughts on “Chronological Book List”

  1. Anthony Moore says:

    Good afternoon Brian,

    I have to say your 7 chapters were the biggest tease. You’ve managed to do in these few chapters what some are unable to do in an entire book. You breathed life in your characters from the first page. These are three distinct voices, fully formed, and dealing with the challenges you set before them. The plot is great as well. It’s not so grandiose that you put the reader off, but it’s engaging enough that you want to keep turning the page. Your writing is fresh and places the reader smack dab in the middle of this world! I will say I was a little disappointed that I did not get one of your ARC’s in the sweepstakes by Tor as I was going to make your book the first book I review for my blog but I guess I can wait till January 🙂

    Good luck on your endeavors as a writer! These 7 chapters have made me a fan of your work and I’m looking forward to this release!

    1. bstaveley says:

      Hi Anthony,

      I’m thrilled to hear that you enjoyed the opening chapters! As it turns out, Tor is running that sweepstakes until the 24th, so you’re not out of the running yet. Also, Goodreads is doing a giveaway with a few more copies.

      Either way, the book will be out soon! Thanks again for the kind words. Please let me know what you think when you’ve had a chance to read the whole thing!


  2. Anthony Moore says:

    Hey Brian,

    I will be sure to send you a copy of my review! Thanks for the updates on the opportunity to get an ARC.

    Thanks again,
    Anthony M.

      1. TV says:

        I looked into these signed editions. Those sold by Goldsboro were $30 (give or take a buck, once you convert the pounds to dollars) and are sold out. The ones being sold by option #2 are listed on eBay for $150. That’s a hefty price for a signed debut novel. I’m assuming this is a friend of yours out to make a buck (or over $5,000 on 50 copies), but I still thought I might bring it to your attention that the signed copies are being sold by your man williamsjason288 for $150 each. Really nice of you to hook him up with all those. He must be your number one fan, for sure, to charge so many potential fans a fortune for a signed debut novel.
        I’ve been collecting signed editions for several years, have purchased a signed first edition of every single fantasy/science fiction novel published in the last several years, right when they come out, and I do not think I have ever seen someone sanctioned by the author, store or individual, try to get such a high price for a signed debut novel, a week after the book was published, extra map or not.

        1. bstaveley says:

          Thanks for getting in touch. Actually, I don’t know Jason at all, except through the internet. I’m not involved with his pricing, and I don’t make any money off the books. I don’t follow the signed book market at all, and have no idea if he’ll manage to sell them at this price.

          Here’s a new lead for you though: I just signed another batch for a seller in England — Again, no idea what his price structure is, and the books are still sitting in a box on my table, so he won’t have them for at least a week, but that’s another option. I really appreciate your interest in the book and hope you manage to track down a copy at the right price!

          All the best,

          1. bstaveley says:

            I think he’s got three left now…

  3. kingofthe7seas says:

    Goldsboro books is sold out. I’ve emailed the other resource you mentioned, and ZI am awaiting a reply. Thank you for answering my query so promptly. I’m looking forward to reading your book.


  4. kingofthe7seas says:

    I bought my copy of The Emperor’s Blades directly from Jason Williams for $129.99

  5. Keith russell says:

    So good I’ll post it twice! Seriously a great read so far, half way through and decided to slow down to savor the world’s favor.( or something) Great prose, word building and a very imaginative world. Great way to get lost.

  6. Mark says:

    Just finished The Emperor’s Blades. Loved the book! I look forward to the next book in the series.

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks! The Providence of Fire is coming along well! Can’t wait to get it out there…

      1. Sam says:

        Hello! Fabulous books – when can we expect book 3? Can’t wait!!!

        1. bstaveley says:

          Hi Sam — I’m working on editing the third book now. Should be less than a year until it comes out. Thanks for getting in touch and for the kind words about the series!

  7. Andrew says:

    Hi, First of all great book. I am about 60% through the book and I am loving every single page of it. The characters are amazing, how well thought of is the world is amazing. Where did you get all these ideas? I am just a bit sad that i will have to wait a whole year before reading the next book, I dont know what i will do for the rest of the year. Anyway I wanted to congratulate you on an amazing book.

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks for getting in touch, Andrew! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the book. A lot of the ideas came from my years teaching ancient world history and world religion. I doubt anyone else would notice the lineage of most of the ideas; they’re transmuted, of course, in the process of writing and world-building. Often the original inspiration gets completely scrubbed away in the process of exploring the characters and plot. Still, the jumping-off place for many of the elements of Annur (and beyond) is our own world. Hope you like the rest of the book!

  8. Daniel says:

    I finished the book and loved it beyond belief. It was my favorite type of fantasy. Thank you so much for writing this masterpiece. Keep it up, can’t wait for the second book.

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks, Daniel! I’m curious what other authors you like — always looking for new books to add to the pile and I’ve been finding that my readers have some great suggestions!

  9. Vilius says:

    It was amazing. Great story. I can’t wait to see where this story will go.

    Thank you for writing this 🙂

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks for getting in touch! The second book takes some new twists and turns, introduces two or three more important characters, and shows a lot more of the world. Here’s hoping you enjoy it!

  10. yostman1759 says:

    Brian – just finished the book today. Fantastic! Loved the history, the story, the action and especially the characters. Congratulations on such an excellent story! As far as the prior comments on some other good books, you might enjoy Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. Like yours, another fun weaving of ancient history and fantasy. Thanks for sharing your story – can’t wait for the next book!

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks! I devoured the Codex Alera series a few years back (or maybe more than a few years, come to think of it). Loved that entire system of magic, and all the implications it had for both plot and character. I still think about it from time to time when I’m working on my own books…

  11. justinnnnnn says:

    Mr Brian, thank you for this -great- book. I’m an art student who has been devouring fantasy books while painting (34 audiobooks in a year and counting), and your book definitely stood out from the rest. Even though I’ve started getting more skeptic when it comes to really digging a fantasy book because of all the cheesy clichés I’ve encountered, you certainly captured me with the raw emotion and hardships your characters had to face. Personally, that’s exactly what I look for in fantasies: have a cool world/magic/monsters if you want, but most importantly, have compelling characters to move the story forward. And you certainly had all of these in your story!

    I won’t write much more since I must be the 9234th guy who’s repeating you the same things over and over again. As for the Unhewn Throne saga, I hope to see the world and lore slowly expand, like find out more about the leach magic system and its variables and limitations…And, of course, to see where these characters’ journey will take them. Rock on Mr Brian, I’ll be eagerly waiting for your next work!

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks for getting in touch, Justin! Why kind of art do you do? Do you have a website?

      I’m thrilled to hear that you enjoyed the book. I think you’ll be pleased with the direction of the next one — we get to see a lot more of the world (five or six new locations, depending on how you count), and there’s a new POV character in the mix, someone you’ve already met, but wasn’t a POV character in the first volume. I really can’t wait to get it out there, and I’ll be curious to hear what you think of it when the time comes!

  12. Denis Adams says:

    Brian, Thanks for a great read! While I am an avid reader, it is rare that I devour a book as quickly as I did The Emperor’s Blades! One huge issue I have with many Fantasy novels is that the protagonist is “given” powers. As a teacher, I appreciate how your characters work hard to achieve success. In the short time since I finished the book, I have recommended it over a dozen times. Eagerly awaiting the next installment! ~Denis

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks, Denis! What do you teach, and what grade level? I taught high school English and history for a little over a decade, and I’m certain that some of that experience has percolated into the book. One of the questions we (my colleagues and I) were grappling with all the time was how to balance teaching content with teaching skills, and, under the heading of skills, academic skills (e.g. research techniques) versus more nebulous life skills (resilience, etc). The irony seemed to me that these nebulous life skills were at the same time the most important and the hardest to teach. I think with Kaden, Valyn, and Adare, you find three people with some solid content knowledge (Adare) and some “academic skills” (Valyn), but very little in the way of any perspective that allows them to use their knowledge or abilities effectively. I’ve never thought of it in quite these terms until I started writing this post, but it occurs to me that I saw that sort of thing all the time in the high-pressure high school where I taught: young adults with amazing abilities and little or no sense of what to do with them.

      Anyway, sorry for the rambling response. Just got a little nostalgic for the classroom!

      1. joshfreedman says:

        Hi Brian – came by your site to say: Yummmm! Eager for next book. And, tagging onto this topic…Kaden & Valyn have powerful “lessons” but their teachers are focused on pushing… not much “empty space.” The process of reflection, internalizing, and then taking that learning into a new application is key to meaning-making. It’s interesting that the word “learning” can be used equally for drill & repeat as for synthesize & apply.

        1. bstaveley says:

          Hi Josh —

          Thanks for getting in touch! Interesting reflection on the educations methods of the Kettral and the Shin. I think Kaden does have more space for that empty reflection than Valyn. Much of his training is solitary and still. That stuff, though, doesn’t make for great fiction (“…then Kaden sat on a rock for ten days…”) Valyn’s training and Adare’s, however, are all about imparting information and skills. It occurs to me that the lack of time for reflection may help to explain why both of them are not so great at actually applying those skills when the time comes!


      2. Denis Adams says:

        Brian, I am currently a special education teacher at a therapeutic day school for student with severe behavioral and emotional disabilities. I have also taught special education in general education high schools in Chicago, Denver and Boise. Plus in Denver, I was a general education Social Studies teacher. With the requirements of No Child Left Behind (and even more with Common Core), schools are in a bind… especially in regards to special education as the focus on life skills/critical thinking skills are pushed to the back burners. Vocational opportunities for students with disabilities are declining in the workforce, and it is exacerbated to the lack of true vocational training that schools aren’t able to offer anymore (not that it was stellar earlier). I carry my soapbox with me… it comes in handy. Again, thank you for a great story, and I look forward to the next installment. And… if you ever make it to Chicago… Wine/Beer and a Reading sound good! ~Denis

        1. bstaveley says:

          Always happy to chat with a fellow teacher! Sounds like interesting and challenging that work that you’re engaged in. My wife taught in public schools (while I’ve always been in the private world), and I remember well her frustration when it came to some of the conflicting requirements and mandates that seemed to govern every decision. I wonder if it’s any better in Chicago than it was in Denver?

  13. Brandy Haughn (@the_hhouse) says:

    Just finished this last night, and I just wanted to tell you that I LOVED it, and cannot wait for the next one. I came across it in a Barnes and Noble email and decided to take a chance, and I’m so glad that I did, as you’re definitely on my favorites list now!

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks so much, Brandy! I’m thrilled that you enjoyed it. I’ll be curious to hear what you think of The Providence of Fire… more new places, more movement (psychological and physical)…

  14. Zach says:

    I just ripped through the audiobook form of TEB and absolutely loved it. A few questions if you’re willing to answer them… Your narrator, Simon Vance, is fantastic. I’ve listened to him before and he’s one of my favorites. How did you come to choose him? Did you try out others? Finally, in what year should we expect book 2? Thanks so much!

    1. bstaveley says:

      Hi Zach — So glad you liked it! Simon really is amazing. I wish I could claim credit for choosing him, but the fact of the matter is that, while I did have final approval over the reader, I don’t listen to audiobooks, so I had no idea about various narrators. Brilliance Audio (the audiobook producer) suggested Simon, my agent said we should jump on it, so I jumped. Only when I started doing a little research into his career and his endless list of prior performances (Dune! Girl with the Dragon Tattoo! Wolf Hall!) did I realize how lucky I was. And, of course, I’m thrilled with the final version.

      As for book two, The Providence of Fire, it’s pretty much done now, and will be out in January. Not sure if you found the page on this site, but Tor US has already released the cover — more Richard Anderson artwork. Again, I really lucked out!

      1. Zach says:

        Can I just say that it is so very cool that you reply to all of your fans. Additionally, you may not listen to audiobooks, but you write them, good sir. I’m a poor reader and have listened to hundreds of audiobooks over the years as reading really becomes a chore for me. It’s a burgeoning market, I think, and a bad narrator KILLS the experience for fans that are just as die-hard as your “readers”. Changing narrators mid series is just as awful. If you have a true pro like Vance do all of your audiobooks, you’ll never have a problem! I’ve recommended your book to many friends already and will continue to do so. I truly appreciate your response and your work. All the best to you.

        1. bstaveley says:

          I think you’re absolutely right about the audiobook market. SO many people have gotten in touch with me saying things like, “Thank god it’s an audiobook.” Even close friends, who said they’d never read a 500 page book but loved the audiobook. So I feel really, really lucky to have ended up with Simon as a narrator. And yes, he’s slated to do all three of them…

          1. MK Shoener says:

            That is great news! I like traditional book-in-hand reading, but also enjoy audio books, especially in the car, on planes, and when exercising. Simon is fantastic and I am glad he is slated to perform all of the books. Nothing irks me more than when a new narrator pronounces the names of characters differently than the original narrator. A good (or bad) example of this is the Song of Ice and Fire narrator. The first few books were narrated by Roy Dotrice (who is on par with Vance). When the 4th book came out there was a new narrator who obviously didn’t bother to find out how the established speaker had pronounced important character names. One example of this was Littlefinger, Petyr Baelish. Roy pronounced this as Pah-Tyer while the new guy used the more common Peter. Inconsistencies like this in audio books are just the worst! Am I just crazy, or does everyone else feel this way?

          2. bstaveley says:

            I don’t listen to many audiobooks, but I’ve heard many people voice the same irritation. My father loved the audio version of some obscure British series, and when they change the narrator, he refused to listen to it any more…

  15. Russ W. says:

    Thanks for a great book. Really enjoyed how you encompassed some of the Śūnyatā in your story telling. Great character and environmental development. Looking forward to the next book, hopefully it contains some competitive beer shooting/drinking.

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks, Russ! I definitely drew heavily on various Buddhist traditions in conceiving the Shin. There’s also a pretty deep current of philosophical Taoism running through some of their aphorisms and beliefs. I had great fun developing and populating Ashk’lan. Would love to return to it some day — maybe in a stand-alone novel or a series of short stories. Lots of possibilities…

  16. Tom Ferry says:

    Hi Brian

    I’ve almost finished your awesome book! I love the way you’ve built your world but still maintained high quality characters. The best book I’ve read since The Name of the Wind.

    Many thanks


    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks, Fezza! The Name of the Wind sets the bar pretty damned high. I’ll look forward to hearing what you think of the ending of The Emperor’s Blades…

  17. Michael Anton says:

    Hello Brian,
    I finally finished my copy of The Emperor’s Blades. It was absolutely fantastic! I’m already hooked for The Providence of Fire. I can’t wait to see where the story goes from here!

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks, Michael! I, too, am very excited to loose The Providence of Fire on the world. I think you’ll find some… unexpected twists. Looking forward to hearing what you think of it!

  18. Lex says:

    Just finished the book 5 minutes ago. Loved it! I can’t believe I have to wait for the next book

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks, Lex! Shouldn’t be too much of a wait not. The second book, The Providence of Fire, is through copyedits and has cover art. Just a few (ok — six) months to go…

  19. MK Shoener says:

    I just finished Book One of the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne and have to say that I am thoroughly impressed and excited! I am currently following a number of epic fantasy series, including The Demon Cycle, Stormlight, Kingkiller Chronicles, and A Song of Ice and Fire, amongst others. While waiting for the next installments of these series I stumbled across your book. I honestly wasn’t expecting too much and just thought I’d take a shot at something new that I hadn’t heard much about. Luckily I was blown away! I think your work has the potential to be good as or better than any of the other series I have listed above. What a fantastic job you did by gradually building momentum and revealing the plot at just the right pace! I am eager for more and will be sure to share information about your new series with all of my bookish friends. If there is ever an opportunity to get a picture and a book signed I’ll be there!

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks, Matt! We have very similar taste in books, as it turns out. I’m following all of those series (although I haven’t started the Stormlight Archive yet — waiting for it to be a few books longer so that I can binge-read). I usually mention upcoming readings and whatnot on twitter or fb, rather than here on the site, although I should probably start updating this space, too. At any rate, I’m doing one or two a month these days, but will almost certainly ramp that up when The Providence of Fire is released. Where do you live?

  20. MK Shoener says:

    Oh, I think you’ll really enjoy the Stormlight Archive. Sanderson is really evolving into a master, with each work better than the last. I live near Scranton, PA (northeast Pennsylvania). This is a couple hours north of Philadelphia, so that would probably be my best shot. I will definitely look you up on Facebook so that I can follow your reading schedule. The Providence of Fire is right at the top of my list, can’t wait to find out what happens next!

    1. bstaveley says:

      That’s not too far away. I’ll definitely be down there at some point in the next year or so…

  21. Marietha Quixley says:

    Dear Brian,
    I am almost finished with Blades…. I am trying to read slower to let this wonderful experience last longer… and yet I am racing to see what happens next. I have been enjoying Anthony Ryan, Mark Lawrence and Michael Manning recently, but I have to say you top them all. If you are ever down in Cape Town – you have loads of fans down here who would love to get a signed copy!

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks so much for your kind note, Marietha. I’m thrilled that you’re enjoying the book — the good news is that you don’t need to read TOO slowly. The Providence of Fire will be out in just a few months, and it’s longer than TEB, so should take you some time.

      I’d love to get down to Cape Town some day. It’s exciting to hear that there’s a group of folks down there who are reading and enjoying the book!

      On an entirely different note, do you mind if I use your name in a book at some point? I’d break up the first and last (there might be a character named, simply, Quixley), but I think that both have serious fantasy-novel potential…

      1. Marietha Quixley says:

        Dear Brian,

        Jikes, of course you can use my name!! That would be fabulously exciting!

        Finished Blades last night – now I can give my poor family some attention, I’ve seriously neglected them of late.. Till the next one.

        I’ll be sure to leave a review asap.



        1. bstaveley says:

          Quixley. It’s just awesome. Can’t wait to find the right character…

  22. Ted Wilson says:

    Brian – I have about 50 pages left to read in ‘Emperor’s Blades’, and I’m enjoying it so much I have to tell someone – so why not the author himself? I’ve read some very good fantasy this year (Abercrombie, Rothfuss), but so far what sets you apart in my mind is the sense of pace you’ve established in ‘Blades.’ The book has certainly made itself feel ‘epic’ to me, but at the same time each chapter pulls me along quickly and effortlessly. Somehow, I still don’t know if I like Kaden or Valyn more – it’s a toss up. And bravo on the Valyn chapter during Hull’s Trial – that had to have been one of the coolest things I’ve read. I’m waiting for some sort of awesome fan art to appear showing Valyn drinking the Slarn egg deep underground.

    Can’t wait for book #2. Well F_n done.

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks for getting in touch, Ted! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the book, and I hope you like the last 50 pages. Things get pretty ugly for the Malkeenians…

      We’re just about two months from the release of The Providence of Fire, so your timing is great. You can read a little bit more about it on this site, see the cover, etc. Drop a line when you’re finished TEB to let me know how the ending worked for you. Ending the first volume of a trilogy is a tricky balance, and I’m always curious to hear how it works for readers.

      1. Ted Wilson says:

        Loved the ending. I guess as the author you want to end Book 1 with some semblance of conclusion, while keeping some vital cliffhangers. I’ll be curious to read how you include new settings and locations in Book 2, because one of my favorite things in TEB was The Bone Mountains and the setting of Ashk’Lan.

        1. bstaveley says:

          The Providence of Fire has quite a few new settings: 7-8, depending on how you count. I really enjoyed having the chance to explore the world more fully, although I have soft spot in my heart for the Bones…

  23. Bri says:

    Dear Mr. Staveley,
    Like most people with a brain I find house chores unbearably boring, as a stay-at-home mom I find myself spending a significant portion of my waking life doing them. To stay sane I listen to audiobooks. So when I tell you that while listening to your book I scrubbed my whole house top to bottom and then, not wanting to stop listening, I cleaned out all my kitchen cupboards and then moved on to the closets, that is high praise indeed. I am looking forward to book 2, and have already made a little list of exceedingly dull, mind-numbing tasks about the house to facilitate my binge-listening.
    Do keep writing!

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks for getting in touch, Bri. I’m so glad to hear that the book not only entertained but helped get the closets clean. If only it worked the same way on this end! Unfortunately, it’s the opposite: I can barely unload the dishwasher when I’m trying to hit a deadline (as I am now)… As far as The Providence of Fire goes, you’re in luck; it’s out in less than two months, and Simon Vance will be doing the narration again. I’ll look forward to hearing what you make of it!

  24. Pat says:

    So I read through the seven chapter and now am debating do I spend the $8.89 that in all honesty I may not have, due to too many bills an student loans on your book or on food? So it becomes a gamble of buying your book, and maybe not eating for a meal or two. Having a limited income an less income than bills and necessities can be…difficult at times. I find myself in quite the dilemma. What do you think I should do? Thanks for writing such an interesting story by the way.

    1. bstaveley says:

      That’s easy! Email me your mailing address. I’ll send you the book. I’m at brian dot staveley at gmail dot com

  25. Steven says:

    Your book, The Emperor’s Blades Blew My Fucking Mind! I read it in one day, I couldn’t put down. The only time I did put down because I got so emotionally worked up I had to put it down! I looked at like it was some sort of creature I had to wrestle to get to the end, I was determined to get to the end! And What and End it was!
    An amazing Experience I can’t wait for the Second! It was just such an emotional experience.

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks, Steven! I’m thrilled that you enjoyed it — always happy to create a literary monster wrestling match. Your timing is excellent — just one month until The Providence of Fire comes out, and you can read the first six chapters now over on Looking forward to hearing what you think of it!

  26. Ben Mout says:

    Hi there Brian – and thank you for taking us for such a wild ride. I was hooked from the start and loved the way in which you’ve weaved so many modern day concepts into a medieval fantasy world. All characters and the world in which they live are rich and multi-dimensional and make for a very enthralling experience. This is the first book I have EVER read where I’ve been tempted to contact the author just to say; wow! (and I’m only two-thirds of the way through it) The only thing I DON’T like about it is the fact that it has caused me to revisit everything I’ve written thus far (all 3 chapters of it) in my own sad little attempt at a fantasy novel! Ouch. In the first few chapters alone you helped me see where I’ve gone wrong in voice, narrative and so much more. Thanks again and I look forward to the rest of this Kent-kissing tale (as do quite a few of us here Down Under). Also – happy new year to you and yours.

    Cheers, Ben

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks for your kind note, Ben. I’m thrilled that you’re enjoying the book so much, and I’ll be curious to hear what you make of the ending. As for second-guessing your own work — DON’T DO IT! At least not at this point. The most important thing yo have to do at the three chapter mark is to keep writing. You might throw away all three of these chapters, but do it later, once you have the whole draft of the novel completed. There will be plenty of time then for second-guessing and revision, and you’ll have a much better idea of what belongs and what doesn’t. I have literally dozens of chapters from each of my books that will never see the light of day, either because they didn’t fit the plot, they were poorly written, they were inconsistent with the character, etc. There’s nothing wrong with throwing away chapters, but if you start doing it when you’ve only just began, it can be too demoralizing to keep on. Good luck with the project!
      All the Best,

  27. Tom Rhyne says:

    It’s odd. I usually buy fantasy books as a sort of cascading “hey, this looks interesting and people seemed to like it” swarm. Then I delve through them in order of what looks interesting, starting along and either continuing with the same one until finished or until I find it unfulfilling and postpone it. The Emperor’s Blades was the last I finished, simply because the prologue, of a sociopathic, fake-utilitarian-but-actually-myopic race of drones disgusted me so much I couldn’t pick it back up until I was done with everything else (and it took some actual effort to overcome the mental inertia). The odd? Finding that the book itself had little to do with those people, was not actually a psychologically-dystopian experiment but a full-fledged book meant to both provoke and entertain, and was among my favorites of the batch.

    I realize frame stories and teasers are an opportunity for self-expression, but they’re also the reason many people pick up or don’t pick up a book. I humbly recommend you consider the Chuck Lorre-style “isn’t it interesting?” expositions for when you’ve already built up the reader’s emotional cachet. For me, the answer was “no. it isn’t”, and it almost made me miss a good book.

    1. bstaveley says:

      Hi Tom — Thanks for getting in touch and sharing your experience of the prologue. I always enjoy learning how different aspects of the story hit different readers. I’ll be curious to hear what you make of the prologue to the second book. It’s very different, content-wise, but I wonder what you’ll make of the tone. I’ve written the whole third book, but don’t yet have a prologue for it, so this is a topic that’s very much on my mind at the moment! All the Best, Brian

      1. sal says:


        Just finished Providence of Fire. Phenomenal!
        The twists and turns of the plot had me laughing, anxious feeling vindicated and angry.
        Kaden learned the prologue lesson in earnest. Triste remains an eager enigma. And the ending has me baited foe the release of the third installment. Please hurry.
        I don’t think I can hold this feeling of contempt for Adare for a year!

        1. bstaveley says:

          Hi Sal — Thanks so much for taking the time to get in touch. I’m so glad that the book got you laughing at points. In my mind, that’s one of the big differences between Blades and Providence: Providence, while darker, has more humor. At least, that’s what I was going for! And maybe save a little forgiveness in your heart for Adare?

  28. Xi says:

    Hi Brian,

    I don’t normally do this, but having finished Providence three weeks ago it’s still very much on my mind so I wanted to find a way to tell you just how much I loved the books, and to thank you for writing them! I have a long commute to and from work and I read copiously — I never DON’T have my Kindle to hand. I picked up the ebook version of Blades after mentioned it and absolutely fell into the world and the characters (you probably don’t get people telling you this often, but for some reason I just adore poor Talal in particular, he’s almost always in the background but he just shines for me somehow) I think that’s the only time I’ve ever wished for my commute to be longer, when I had to put the story away and head back to the real world at the end of it. I parceled the story out for as long as I could, but still found myself mourning the fact that I was coming to the end of it… then checked Amazon on a whim, and there was the second book in the series! Needless to say I bought it straight away, but the turnaround from being sad that a wonderful story was coming to an end to the sheer joy and excitement of finding that the sequel was already out meant that I was almost literally walking on air for an entire weekend until that Monday morning commute when I could start Providence! I’m a procrastinating (I can’t even say ‘aspiring’) writer myself, and once I got past the rush of glee my first thought on seeing the sequel sitting there on the Amazon page was that if anything I ever wrote could make one person as happy as the way I felt when I realised I had a whole other book before me, right there with no waiting… that would be all I’d ever want. I think that’s probably why I felt the need to get in touch: just to let you know how much you brightened my whole day.

    Anyway, now I’ve finished Providence… and the long wait begins! Remember how I said that I’m never without my Kindle on my commute? It’s been three weeks since I finished the second book, and while I have other unread things waiting for me, I actually haven’t felt the need to break into any of them just yet. It feels like my mindset is still firmly on that ending, still with Valyn (I KNEW it!), with Kaden (he’s turning into a clever little thing, isn’t he? Or perhaps he was all along) and with Adare (yikes, is all I can say…) and I’m not ready to visit another author’s world just yet… and I think I’m fine with that. I’ll stay with the siblings a little longer, and start counting down until the third book comes out. Thank you once again for writing and for sharing your world with us, and good luck in everything you do!

    1. bstaveley says:

      Thanks so much for the kind, thoughtful letter! I’m just thrilled that you’re enjoying the story. That that there are people like you out there that are connecting with these characters — rooting for them, screaming at them, whatever — is the greatest thing I could hope to hear. I used to have a long commute, during which I listened to books on tape, so I know that feeling well, and I’m glad to have brightened the mornings and evenings a little bit. As for Talal, I share your fondness for the guy — one of the nicer, more honest characters in the whole story.

      Thanks again for getting in touch — I’ve just finished a major rewrite of the third book — THE LAST MORTAL BOND — and notes like this keep me motived as I work through the final convolutions.

      All the Best,

  29. Michael says:

    Will you make Worldcon 2015 in Spokane,WA? Sanderson will be here, like to meet you too.

    1. bstaveley says:

      Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it this year — budget constraints and family obligations. Maybe next year, though!

  30. Michael says:

    Have a good summer. Enjoying “The Emperor’s Blades” looking forward to reading “The Providence of Fire”.

  31. Andrej says:

    Hi Brian,

    At first i would like to apologize for my bad english.

    I saw the book in a store and was somehow attracted to it, but didnt bought it. A few days later i couldnt help myself and took it. I had a lot of expectations and hopes i wouldnt be dissapointed. Even though my expectations have been big I still was more than just simply pleased with this masterpiece of yours. I never read a book that fast as I did with this one. Then I had to wait a whole month until the second came out – hard time for me. But then finally it happened i read it even faster than book nr 1. Amazing!! Now i have to wait for the next one. Everywhere its said it will be a trilogy but i dont want to believe it. I would like to read more than just one more. I deeply hope it wont be just a trilogy. There is much that can happen in Annur.Nothing is clear and enemys are everywhere. (A god on earth has to be killed,another to awaken in Triste, slarn awakening of valyn,kadens reformation, adares reaction to kadens reformation,il tornja , the main war between human and Urghul, and much stuff i dont even know you prepared for the third book. But much more than this can happen later.for example a time-skip of a few years ~3,5 or even 10.the characters are still young so why not. Some epic leaches can be enemy while valyn got much experience as assassin and is the new flea with his dark slarn awakening fully under control. Adare who could turn in the meanwhile to be a leach too (got her power by intarra – the lightning that hit her brought up some side effect [my idea would by sunlight as her well. Powerful at day weak at night]) this transformation and moral inner conflict would be amazing. Together fighting this overpowered leach. And then a long forgotten csestriim appear who still want to eliminate humanity and found a complicate way how to revive the csesteiim race. This and much much more 🙂

    And of course it would be awesome going back in time and read the story of nira and oshi. I bet everyone would love to buy this novels too.

    And at the end i would like to critise somerhing in PoF. I can understand Valyn is making a bigger and unknown transformation and trough the whole time since he ate the egg he has this inner aggression and monster in himself and you keep showing it to the reader. Valyn trys to ignore it but it is getting worse. A lil bit more details about it could be more interesting because it would better explain his stupid reaction later. He was waiting whole 3 days in a tower for il tornja. At least he could either send one of the boys to make contact with gwenna since they are all assassins or make her come with hidden secret signals and speak to her. Letting him sit for a too long time in the tower you was a very cool character far too long. And at the end the long awaited showdown was …. NOTHING.backstabbed by his sister. There should be some more than this not very interesting overhasted end. The same goes for Laith. Letting him be killed is ok.but his death is stupid.he ran to defend the bridge,got shot by his own man by mistake and than killed by the enemy- end.that disappointwd me a lil bit.

    I am sorry for writing so much but i am still very hyped by your book. I hole i will get an answer

    Sincere greetings
    Andrej A.

    1. bstaveley says:

      Hi Andrej —

      Sorry for the long delay in responding. Things have been hectic here over the holidays, but I’m digging out from under all my emails now. I’m thrilled that you’re enjoying the story. As far as the future goes, this particular story is over at the end of the third book (The Last Mortal Bond), but I’m currently working on a stand-alone novel in the same world, and plan to continue writing about some of these characters (both the main characters and secondary ones) for some time to come. So never fear! More stories in the same world. As far as the end of Providence goes, my thinking is that by that point, Valyn is very, very broken. His decisions (like Adare’s and Kaden’s) are NOT very good, but by that point he’s sacrificed so much, that he’s obsessed with just seeing the thing through. I’ll be very curious to hear what you make of the conclusion!

      1. Andrej says:

        Hello again,

        I am very glad you indeed answered. It is sad that it ends now but if i think through – an amazing trilogy of awesmeness is better than 10 books with huge ups and downs like a rollercoaster. And i can still read side-storys from other characters ans other angles – especially the story of nira and oshi.

        Yes, i understand they make bad decissions. Hey are going through hard times and cant chose between good and bad but only can hope to chose the lesser bad. Its good that his twisted mind was gradually shown more and more and we can see from the beginning till the end over and over his thoughts getting darker, more pessimistic, obsessed with rage, killing intent and hatred. This is very well done and i liked it from the logical side that explain most of his behaviour but in the end he become numb. This anger and hatred, his agression and killing intent werent shown. It just disappeared and was waiting far tooooo long and whats more it was waiting for nothing. He didnt even had his fight. He didnt almost try with all he got to kill il tornja. It would make more sense sending him on a rampage with his 2 team members and make a mass slaughter while definding the first wave of enemys. BUT there would be a problem – what with il tornja?he may not know of his presence. NO PROBLEM!! When they started appearing valyn could call to hide in that tower – they are ketrell so no problem. For example to make up laiths death he could oppose that order and stand alone killing a mass of them while dying too. That would be a great death for a fighter. And it would emotionally affect the reader. The real death of his in the book is lame. He simply jumped in the fight and died after a few minutes by friendly fire.

        I think Valyn disappeared for too long – from beeing freed from longfist till the end of the book. His transformation from inside seeking revenge and generating aggression, hatred and bloodlust simply … never showed up. Thats a pitty.
        Thats my opinion.

        Of course i love your books and i must say the way of writing you use i fantastic. I love reading it.

        Merry Christmas and a happy new Year to you and your family

  32. Eric W says:

    Reading(listening) to your series as an audiobook. Love Audible but the one thing you miss out on is the maps, appendices, and other illustrations that are included in the print versions. You have provide a copy of your map, thanks for that, but I would love to see a copy of the appendices posted.

    1. bstaveley says:

      That’s a great suggestion, Eric. I’ll put one up in the next couple of days…

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