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Empress (Godspeaker, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 2008

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Empress (Godspeaker, Book 1) + Hammer of God (Godspeaker Trilogy, Book 3) + The Riven Kingdom (The Godspeaker Trilogy)
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 717 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; Reprint edition (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316008354
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316008358
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 5 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #937,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Empress is an ambitious, impressive and intriguing novel Starburst --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Karen Miller was born in Vancouver, Canada, and moved to Australia with her family when she was two. Apart from a three-year stint in the UK after graduating from university with a BA in communications, she's lived in and around Sydney ever since. Karen started writing stories while still in elementary school, where she fell in love with speculative fiction. She's held a variety of interesting jobs but now writes full-time. Find out more about the author atwww.karenmiller.net.

More About the Author

Karen Miller was born in Vancouver, Canada, but was raised in Sydney, Australia where she still lives today. She wanted to be a writer from early childhood, but that took some time to happen. While she was waiting she worked as a public servant, a receptionist, in the horse industry, in local government, in publishing, in telecommunications, as a college lecturer and ran her own science fiction/fantasy/mystery bookshop. She fell in love with Star Wars when she saw it on the big screen, the very first time it was released in 1977. That love affair has lasted her whole life. So far she's written six mainstream fantasy novels and two Stargate SG-1 tie-ins.

Customer Reviews

By the end of the book I just kept on reading waiting for someone to get rid of her.
Pablo Saenz Fallas
The writing style, mostly written in run-on sentences, was somewhat annoying, but never boring.
Flight Risk (The Gypsy Moth)
I can't recall ever disliking a main character in any book as much as I loathed Hekat.
Leonie Boyes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

104 of 108 people found the following review helpful By Flight Risk (The Gypsy Moth) VINE VOICE on April 26, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the most atrocious book I could not put down.

In a world as sere and forbidding as M.John Harrison's 'Viriconium', a dusty, misused female child observes her father - whom she does not even recognize as such - imposing his ultimate will on her mother, and telling the woman that the 'she-brat' has to go. A slave train is coming through in the morning, and the girl will go with it.

The young girl - without even a name, she calls herself Hekat when asked by the trader for what she is called - decides anywhere is better than home, and goes with the trader gladly. She sees this journey as an escape, and as the trader does not bind her, and dotes upon her, she learns to love someone for the first time. She is very young, but obviously beautiful; and the trader sees in her his fortune. She thinks he wants her for himself, and does her best to learn all the finer graces, not realizing that she is only a commodity in his eyes. Her final realization of this, what she sees as a complete betrayal, shuts her heart from ever experiencing love again.

A case could be made for Hekat's descent into vileness by blaming her terrible first ten or twelve years of brutal life in her miserable little village, where females are only valued as producers of male children. Another reviewer calls her a sociopath, and so she is; she learns to think for Hekat alone, putting the burden of her decisions on the 'god' that she serves, having learned of the god through her first and only master - a god represented by a scorpion, my least favourite poisonous land creature - and it does seem as though the god not only is on her side but directs her actions.
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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Fjord Mustang on September 28, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I agree with the comments made that Hekat is an unsympathetic, borderline insane character and her nation is a hell on earth. I believe this is exactly what Karen Miller wants us to feel. "Empress" is actually a prequel to the main event of the trilogy, which is an ultimate clash between Mijak and the Trading Kingdoms that will take place in "The Riven Kingdom" and "The Hammer of God." Therein lies the genius of this book. An evil empire is a common device in high fantasy, but the authors often only show it is a darkly spreading invading force with a faceless (Sauron) or insane leader and a warhost of half-human beings. Karen Miller has chosen to step back in time and show how Hekat rose to become the mad Empress and how Mijak rises from a remote, dying land to become the invading horde. These people do not seek to conquer people- they seek to take land. Once they take it, they murder or enslave the natives and settle it with Mijakis. This is not world domination, it is world obliteration. An enemy like this needs a backstory through its own eyes to show how terrifying it is.

There is no doubt this is a hard book to read; Karen Miller wants us to understand why the Mijaki are a terrifying enemy. She wants us to see what a harsh land Mijak is with its spreading deserts and how it has created a people equally as hard. Life is cheap in Mijak, and those who are soft hearted suffer heavily for it. Their religion is a harsh one, too, demanding blood sacrifices and self mutilation. It is no irony that the manifestation of this religion is a scorpion. These are people to fear, and it is even more chilling to see the world through their eyes; characters like Hekat are terrifying and yet they justify their actions because they believe they are carrying out a divine plan.
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41 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Leonie Boyes on March 31, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book begins reasonably well, but goes downhill fairly rapidly from there. For the first few chapters, the reader cares about Hekat the slave, but as the story progresses, she is shown to be so appalling a character that you really want her to fail with her plotting and schemes. Unfortunately though, she succeeds in her ambitions for the Kingdom of Mijak and her elder son.

I can't recall ever disliking a main character in any book as much as I loathed Hekat.

The apple of Hekat's eye, her first son, Zandakar is at first the beneficiary of, and then falls victim to her ambition and is sold into slavery. She hates her second son, (can't recall his name - someone borrowed my book and probably trashed it), but he is a good match for her and is as unlikeable as she is. He's very big on smiting (UGH!! that word!!) enemies (i.e. everyone in the world outside Mijak) and by the end of the first book, has conquered (very violently), many other nations and is set upon world domination - Hekat's ultimate ambition.

The writing is mostly fairly amateurish, and I rapidly reached the stage where if Zandakar or then his brother looked like he would 'smite' another adversary, I would have screamed.

The good news is that Hekat is barely mentioned in the second book (called in Australia, "The Riven Kingdom) which concentrates on Zandakar and his adventures in the land to which he has been exiled. He is a far more likeable character than his mother, and so too is Rhian, the daughter and only living child of the recently dead King of Ethrea. Civil war breaks out when Rhian insists on becoming Queen of Ethrea in her own right, rather than being forced to marry a consort who would be in turn a puppet King, managed and manipulated by power seeking nobles.
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