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The One Kingdom by Sean Russell

The One Kingdom

by Sean Russell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Swans' War (1)

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550927,467 (3.57)10



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This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot,, Booklikes & Librarything and linked at Goodreads & Mobileread by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The One Kingdom
Series: The Swan's War #1
Author: Sean Russell
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 544
Format: Digital Edition


Magician's don't die. If they're powerful enough, they can exist without going through Death's Gate.
Hundreds of years ago, the children of the most powerful magician the world had ever known were each given a gift from their father. Their choices split the One Kingdom and resulted in death and devastation.

Now, the families of the Renne's and the Wills have their own feud that could tear apart the fragile peace of the land. One of the Renne's is determined to make the peace last while his family plots to assassinate him for such thoughts. The Wills plot to strengthen themselves through marriage with an outside family, the Innes. The Innes are being “guided” by a man who is much more than he appears and much more dangerous than they know.

At the same time, 3 young men from the Northern Vale take a trip down the river to buy horses. They come across a man name Alain and their misfortunes/adventures start. They come into contact with a Naga, the embodiment of the daughter of the magician.

The Naga, Alain and the Guide are all so much more than the people around them know. Can the land survive the return of the Children?

My Thoughts:

I went into this really wondering if I was going to like it as much as I did back in '09. Thankfully, this lived up to my memories and my current expectations of a good book.

This is a slow book. It meanders like the river that much of the story takes place on. In many ways, the river itself is a character, at times benevolent, at other times very malevolent.

Besides being a slow book, it is also very character driven. The Valemen trio start out as the main characters, but Russell deftly moves from group to group, from individual to individual in such a way that I never felt either bored or wanting something else. There is a lot of description of landscapes and what surrounds the characters but for whatever reason I didn't blow by it like I usually do in other books. I was able to sit back and take it in.

Where I have described Patricia McKillip's writings as “silk”, Russell's writing is like a river. Some times meandering, some times fast and furious, some times appearing calm, some times dragging you along a current you don't even realize you are in. I felt like I was sitting in a boat going down a river while reading this. Why I was intrigued instead of bored, I do not know. But I loved this story.

I also like how Russell portrays magic. It is something dangerous, subtle and never good. It destroys those who use it and hurts those around them. It is not flashy fireballs or the calling forth of demon lords. It is influence, power, strength, persuaviness and the ability to bend others to your will. It is scary.

So another fantastic re-read. Definitely glad that I bought this in hardcover. ( )
1 vote BookstoogeLT | Mar 16, 2017 |
A land was torn asunder in the distant past by 3 siblings. Today the land groans under a schism of two families. But the Siblings' spirits have returned to finish what they could not last time, conquer all. Follows the adventures of different people caught up in this whirlwind. 3 people have been possessed" by the ancient siblings and those are the characters we follow.

VERY slow for the first 9/10th's of the book and no huge gratuitous displays of magic. Which is a nice changeup for me in a fantasy trilogy. I'm looking forward to the next book." ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
Alright. 90 pages in and nothing is happening. No clear mission, or characters whom I care about. I want so badly to go on an adventure damn it, but no one's taking me. I don't want to be a fly on the wall during a series of conversations. It's boring and so many books do this thinking it's what LOTR did. It wasn't. Frodo was the guy we followed, so pick a fucking character and let me go along through his trials would ya?!?!?!?!?

Don't know if I'm gonna get through this one...more later.

Didn't get through it. On to the next epic fantasy travesty. Sigh... ( )
  DanielAlgara | Sep 26, 2014 |
  Ebeth.Naylor | Sep 30, 2013 |
I adore lovely, lyrical, descriptive prose. The kind of stuff some might call corny or some similar unflattering phrase, but I love it. And because of this, I fell in love on the very first page. Let me give you an example of why. Chapter One, Paragraph 2.

Around them the wind was in flight, more joyous than a swallow, as heedless as a child. It swept down onto the new green oats and raked through the hay, making waves and patterns like sand on a riverbed.

And it just goes on from there. Could you see the wind dancing? I could. Sean Russell painted a beautiful picture with nothing but words. Such lovely words. This story was already magical without a sign of magic in sight, at least not yet. With a big sigh of contentment I melted into my chair and proceeded to devour page after page.

Read Complete Review @ Dragons, Heroes and Wizards ( )
  Mulluane | Sep 9, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sean Russellprimary authorall editionscalculated
Wyatt, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"In the moving landscape the men were still, they sat at the long table atop Summer's Hill as motionless as stones in a running stream."
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Cet ouvrage titré Le royaume unique par les éditions Folio SF est la traduction complète de The One Kingdom. Il ne faut pas le confondre avec l'ouvrage titré également Le royaume unique par les éditions Mnémos et qui n'est que la première partie de la traduction de The One Kingdom.
Cet ouvrage titré Le royaume unique par les éditions Mnémos est la première partie de la traduction de The One Kingdom. Il ne faut pas le confondre avec l'ouvrage titré également Le royaume unique par les éditions Folio SF et qui est la traduction complète de The One Kingdom.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0380792273, Mass Market Paperback)

The cataclysm began more than a century earlier, when the King of Ayr died before naming an heir to the throne, and damned his realm to chaos. The cold-blooded conspiracies of the Renne and the Wills -- each family desirous of the prize of rule -- would sunder the one kingdom, and spawn generations of hatred and discord.

Now Toren Renne, leader of his great and troubled house, dreams of peace -- a valiant desire that has spawned hostility among his kinsmen, and vicious internal plots against his life. In the opposing domain, Elise Wills's desire for freedom is to be crushed, as an unwanted marriage to an ambitious and sinister lord looms large. As always, these machinations of nobles are affecting the everyday lives of the common folk -- and feeding a bonfire of animosity that has now trapped an unsuspecting young Valeman Tam and two fortune-hunting friends from the North in its high, killing flames.

But the closer Toren comes to achieving his great goal of uniting two enemy houses, the more treachery flowers. Nobles and mystics alike conspire to keep the realm divided, knowing that only in times of strife can their power grow.

And perhaps the source of an unending misery lies before an old king's passing, beyond the scope of history, somewhere lost in a fog of myth and magic roiling about an ancient enchanter named Wyrr -- who bequeathed to his children terrible gifts that would poison their lives...and their deaths. It is a cursed past and malevolent sorcery that truly hold the land, its people, and its would-be rulers bound. And before the already savaged kingdom can become one again, all Ayr will drown in a sea of blood.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:53 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

On a quest to make their fortune, a group of young traders end up in a world both strange and terrifying. For the One Kingdom is a far more dangerous place than the adventurers could have imagined.

» see all 2 descriptions

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