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The Grace of Kings (2015)
by Ken Liu
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Wikipedia in English
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"The Grace of Kings, the first book in this epic series, tells the story of two men who become friends through rebelling against tyranny and then turn against each other in defense of irreconcilable ideals. Wily, charming Kuni Garu, a bandit, and stern, fearless Mata Zyndu, the son of a deposed duke, seem like polar opposites. Yet, in the uprising against the emperor, the two quickly become the best of friends after a series of adventures fighting against vast conscripted armies, silk-draped airships, soaring battle kites, underwater boats, magical books, shapeshifting gods, and scaled whales who seem to prophesy the future. Once the emperor has been overthrown, however, the two find themselves the leaders of two sides with very different ideas about how the world should be run and the meaning of justice"--
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