Sunday, 11 March 2012

FANTASY REVIEW: The Tower and the Knife Trilogy 1/3: The Emperor's Knife - Mazarkis Williams

Release Date: 27/10/11


There is a cancer at the heart of the mighty Cerani Empire: a plague that attacks young and old, rich and poor alike. Geometric patterns spread across the skin, until you die in agony, or become a Carrier, doing the bidding of an evil intelligence, the Pattern Master. Anyone showing the tell-tale marks is put to death; that is Emperor Beyon's law... but now the pattern is running over his arms. His body servants have been executed, he ignores his wives, but he is doomed, for soon the pattern will reach his face. While Beyon's agents scour the land for a cure, Sarmin, the Emperor's only surviving brother, awaits his bride, Mesema, a windreader from the northern plains. Unused to the Imperial Court's stifling protocols and deadly intrigues, Mesema has no one to turn to but an ageing imperial assassin, the Emperor's Knife. When Beyon's patterns are revealed and the Grand Vizier seizes the throne, the Knife spirits her to safety. As long-planned conspiracies boil over into open violence, the invincible Pattern Master appears from the deep desert. Now only three people stand in his way: a lost prince, a world-weary killer, and a young girl from the steppes who saw a path in a pattern once, among the waving grasses - a path that just might save them all.


Jo Fletcher is a name that most people know in the fantasy world, not only because she’s a huge fan of the genre but mainly due to the sheer volume of books she’s helped bring to the modern reader. They’re always interesting, they always have a way of working into the readers subconscious and its obvious the love she has for the genre.

So when it was announced that she was starting her own imprint I was more than curious to see what she’d bat out with as this normally sets the tone for what is to come. The books have been wide and varied but perhaps the one that grabbed my attention the quickest was this fantasy title by debut author Mazarkis as I really wanted to see what she’d bring when given free range.

What unfurls within the pages is a story that has elements of David Gemmell’s spirit of man, the political double dealing of George RR Martin and the unlimited feel that Patrick Rothfuss brought to the genre. It has great intrigue, solid prose and perhaps best of all it’s the characters that really keep you glued as the Middle Eastern influences allow a huge scope. Add to this a writing ability that will surprise a number of people to discover is a debut author and overall it’s a title that will give a great opening to Mazarkis’ world alongside the chance to explore further in future releases. Magical.

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