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The Charnel Prince by Greg Keyes
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The Charnel Prince

by Greg Keyes

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone (2)

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7521212,358 (3.96)10
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Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
This excellent fantasy series ("Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone") is very
reminiscent of George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire - except that
it's actually finished! (There's one more book in the series that I
haven't yet read.) It follows a similar format, structurally, and the
'feel' of the writing is very similar. The story itself, however, is
quite original - at least, more so than many fantasy epics. I mean,
it's still got Dark Forces and Bold Warriors and Beautiful Queens etc,
etc... but we want that, right?

The Charnel Prince continues the story right where the previous book
left off. The titular character is indeed a royal prince - but also a
traitor, afflicted - or empowered - by a backfired curse, and now
undead - and seemingly unstoppable.
His aim is to murder the Princess Anne - who has escaped him with only
her maid, Austra, and is in hiding as a peasant girl, forced to work
to earn money to somehow make her way home. Luckily, she is befriended
by a roguish swordsmaster, Cazio, who helps and defends her.
Unknown to her, the knight Neil has undertaken a quest to find her and
help her, but it is much like seeking a needle in a haystack - and
Anne doesn't even know whether he might be friend or foe.
Meanwhile, Aspar and Stephen have been charged by religious leaders,
including the Praifec Hespero, to find and destroy the Briar King -
but corruption is in the Church, and black magic. Who knows how high
the evil may have spread? Is killing the Briar King truly the right
thing to do?
Hespero is also on a personal crusade, it seems, against the brilliant
musician and composer Leoff Ackenzal, whose innovative pieces buck
against church dogma. Recently called to an appointment at court, the
innocent Leoff finds himself over his head amongst the conniving
courtiers and courtesans at the palace. Soon, he is worried about more
than his position - his very life may be at stake. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Greg Keyesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Youll, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"I hear a noise," Martyn murmured, reining in his dappled gray stallion.
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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)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"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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