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The Charnel Prince by Greg Keyes
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The Charnel Prince

by Greg Keyes

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This is the second book in the Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone series, and I enjoyed it even more than I had enjoyed the first. The first book, while very good, took time to completely grab my interest. I think that was primarily because there were a lot of characters to get to know, and there were a lot of different plot threads that needed time to develop. It took time for all of these things to be introduced and built up to the point where I was really invested. With this book, I started out fully invested in the story and the characters.

In addition to continuing the story of several of the characters from the first book, this book also introduced a handful of new characters. Leoff, the composer, was the only new character who became a frequent point-of-view character and I thought he was a great addition. We also learned more about characters who were only briefly seen in the first book. A couple of them turned out to be far more than they had originally appeared to be. One of them I had suspected, but the other was a pleasant surprise. The characters in this series are very interesting and fun to read about. The over-all story is interesting enough but, at least for me, this series is more about the characters. Finding out what would happen to them next, and learning more about the ones I didn’t know well yet, was what kept me turning the pages even when I had other things to do.

I thought the ending was a little more open-ended than that of the first book. When the final chapter ended, I felt like the characters were on the brink of accomplishing the goals they’d been working toward, but the brief epilogue made it clear that there’s more trouble to come first. (Well, there’s also the fact that the series has two more books in it!) The epilogue also left one of our main characters in a pretty bad position so, at least for that character, there was a bit of a cliff hanger. I look forward to starting the third book to learn what happens next. ( )
  YouKneeK | May 30, 2015 |
The second book in the series has proven to be more riveting than the first. With its unfolding plots and growing character depth...I cannot imagine this story truly coming to an end any time soon.
  PhilipTroy | Jan 8, 2015 |
This isn't really a separate book, I think the whole series is one book that happened to be too thick to put in one cover. In a way, my review for The charnel prince is therefore about the same as my review for The briar king. The only difference is that by now I don't mind the shifts in POV any more. I mostly know the characters, and I know enough of the world not to get thrown, so it doesn't confuse me so much anymore. There are two new characters, one of which I really like (the composer) and one who seems a bit redundant (Ewaut). The other characters, especially Anne and Cazio evolve, in the case of Anne quite satisfactorily. I was planning to read something else in between, but I've gotten so involved with these books, I bought part 3 last night and have already started it... ( )
  zjakkelien | Apr 14, 2014 |
Nov10:

Characters: Still great. Mostly the same guys.

Plot: Gets thicker. Still manages to satisfy.

Style: Maintains the same gritty almost-realism. ( )
  Isamoor | Nov 20, 2010 |
Book two of The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone. A strong second book almost on par with The Briar King. Some good plot developments with the author continuing to tantalise the reader. My only slight query was the introduction of a new character which I failed to see where it went in the overall story. It may well be this thread is picked up in the next book but at the moment I’m slightly puzzled as to its introduction. Still an engrossing read just missing some of the magic of the first. ( )
  theforestofbooks | Nov 14, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345440714, Mass Market Paperback)

With The Charnel Prince, author Greg Keyes keeps up the pace set by The Briar King with a second taut entry in his series--the Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone. The Briar King has awoken and mythical beasts roam the land. Crotheny's king and his daughters are dead by betrayal. His bereaved wife Murielle keeps tenuous hold on the throne and the hope that her headstrong daughter, Anne Dare, has escaped the assassins' blades. The queen sends her most trusted and lethal knight, Sir Neil MeqVren, on a quest to discover her daughter's fate. He will find Anne has narrowly escaped the massacre at Saint Cer and lives on the run in the company of her maid, Austra, and the duel-prone swordsman Cazio. Meanwhile, woodsman Aspar White is sent on a mission to slay the Briar King. All will fight for their lives in the wake of dark forces emerging from shadow to force a dangerously forgotten prophecy into the world.

Keyes is among authors like George R.R. Martin whose work is reinvigorating the often tired genre of high fantasy with rich, dark, and mature storytelling. His characters are vibrant and range far beyond Dungeons & Dragons cliché. He places these starkly drawn men and women into a world built upon a squirming foundation of myth, legend, prophecy, and folklore, which, to their own peril, they are only beginning to understand. --Jeremy Pugh

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:48 -0400)

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"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 queens one trusted ally, is sworn to rescue Anne from her murderous pursuers. Anne herself undertakes a perilous journey toward the sanctuary of her distant paramours 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 kingdoms destiny alike will be decided in a conflict between virtue and malevolence, might and magic."--Back cover.… (more)

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