Synopses & Reviews
When the legendary Briar King awoke from his slumber, a season of darkness and horror fell upon the Kingdom of Crotheny. Now countless breeds of unspeakable monsters roam the countryside. An epidemic of madness has transformed peaceful villagers from the wildlands into savage, flesh-eating fiends. In Eslen, King William has been murdered, Queen Muriele is stalked by treachery on every side, and their last surviving daughter, Anne, has fled the assassins bent on destroying her family.
Close on the heels of the runaway princess, young knight Neil MeqVren, the queen's one trusted ally, is sworn to rescue Anne from her murderous pursuers. Anne herself undertakes a perilous journey toward the sanctuary of her distant paramour's arms, but along the way lie the sinister agents and hidden snares of a sprawling conspiracy that few might hope to evade.
At the same time, spies in the service of Praifec Hespero, the powerful Churchman, embark upon a mission to destroy the Briar King in the heart of his domain. And the power-hungry Church, spurred on by the mystical events, has launched an inquisition whose repercussions threaten even the queen. As the noose of intrigue tightens across the land, personal fates and a kingdom's destiny alike will be decided in a conflict between virtue and malevolence, might and magic.
Here then is Book II of the Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone: intoxicating and harrowing, passionate and grandit is Greg Keyes's most ambitiously imagined and vividly rendered work of epic fantasy.
"The age of Everon is ending in the elegiac second installment of bestseller Keyes's fresh and imaginative high fantasy saga that began with 2003's The Briar King. Told in a inventive prose often as disturbing as it is beautiful, Keyes's sprawling multiple-viewpoint narrative explores a weird landscape fraught with 'ancient evils and fresh curses.' Black briars spurt up 'like slow fountains' wherever the Briar King walks in the King's Forest. As the Briar King turns villagers into unholy monsters, creatures such as greffyns and manticores once deemed the stuff of myth attack anyone who dares challenge him. In a land on the brink of civil war, assassins have claimed most of Queen Muriel's family except for her gifted youngest daughter, Anne Dare, who escaped death with her servant Austra, and is now struggling to return home to fulfill a prophecy. Other well-drawn characters include Sir Neil MeqVren, the queen's protector, and Leovigild 'Leoff' Ackenzal, a talented composer. Those who haven't read The Briar King may have problems at first following the plot, but Keyes's lyricism, pacing and deft handling of eternally important topics the dance between church and state, man and woman, life and death make this a thought-provoking entertainment." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The excellent sequel to The Briar King (2003) continues to deliver impressive magical creatures, nonstop thrills, and engaging, believable characters. There will be more." Booklist
"Keyes's sequel to The Briar King features a world of magic and fantastic creatures, prophecies, and bold warriors. Strong world building and superior storytelling make this epic a good choice for fantasy collections." Library Journal
About the Author
Greg Keyes was born in Meridian, Mississippi, to a large, diverse, storytelling family. He received degrees in anthropology from Mississippi State and the University of Georgia before becoming a full-time writer. He is the author of The Waterborn, The Blackgod, the Age of Unreason tetralogy, and the Star Wars New Jedi Order novels Edge of Victory I: Conquest, Edge of Victory II: Rebirth, and The Final Prophecy. He lives in Savannah, Georgia.