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The Last King's Amulet (The Price Of Freedom Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Chris Northern
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

My name is Sumto, and everyone thinks I am a gambling, lazy, good-for-nothing drunk. Frankly, I think they have a point. Right now I may have to join the army and fight in a war I am frankly too corpulent to cope with.

Still, it looks like being a small, short war. So that's got to be as bad as things get. Am I right?

Trained in his youth for war and politics, Sumto is interested in neither. As the son of a Patron, he should gather clients, acquire wealth, learn magic, husband a political power base and take his place amongst the Assembly of Patrons, the rulers of the city. Sumto would rather gather friends, acquire books, learn history, husband a hangover and take his place at the gambling tables. That is not going to be an option for much longer.

Unknown to Sumto, everything is about to change. There is a war in the north and Sumto is about to become a very unwilling participant.

Editorial Reviews


This first book hooked me and I've now read all that are currently available and hope for more. - Goodreads reviewer
The characterization of Sumto is similar to Sir Apropos of Nothing by David Drake - Amazon review.
Similar in style to Steven Brust's "Jhereg" series - B&N review.

From the Author

Characters will sometimes take over a story. Sumto took over this one. It took him about ten pages to do it.

What I originally intended was a series of fantasy murder mysteries. A kind of Fantasy Private Detective story. All the action would be in the city. A detective who was more or less welcome in all walks of society, perpetually down on his luck due to gambling and booze issues, would none-the-less solve the crime.

Now, does that sound anything like Sumto at all? Not a bit of it. As soon as he started meeting and interacting with people, the story changed.

I hesitated. I had a choice to make. Start again or roll with it.

I decided I wanted to know where the story would go if I just let Sumto tell me what happened next.

Four books later, and he is still telling me what happened next. I guess he will keep telling me until the end.

Every now and again I'll try and plan ahead. Every now and again I will set a target to aim for or attempt to plot the next book. Wasted effort, every time.

I've no idea where this story goes. Every time I think I do, Sumto will surprise me and all the plotting and planning goes out of the window, sometimes in a single line that I can't make myself delete - because Sumto says that's what happened.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1308 KB
  • Print Length: 277 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0059Y3D2E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,380 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome! July 28, 2011
By Archie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Really good book. One of the chief requirements is the style of writing. few people are able to write in a way that catches attention and engages. Chris has this knack.

- Awesome character development
- nice pacing
- great thoughts about freedom, society etc. it adds depth & character to book.

- ve:
- Lead character was caught to many times, it became a little repetitive
- The love angle can use some help. A good love story can really spice up things, but I have rarely seen "fantasy" authors write credible love interest.
- I would like to see more magic, and see the person grow in its proficiency. Few fantasy authors can manage (eg: magic teacher Negima)
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Has potential, but is ruined by mini-essays July 3, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am not sure how or why I finished the book... but I did and I regret it.

It starts very slowly. Only half-way through something interesting starts happening. Before that it's just an army marching to a battle and the main character making most implausible rise from a drunkard to a co-commander. For what deeds, exactly? Maybe military history buffs will find something interesting there, but I found it unnecessary convoluted and rather irrelevant. The actual battle description is skipped entirely.

The book has more than plenty of mini-essays on politics, military, and magic, which are bland and not particularly insightful. Yay for free market and small government, down with tyranny. The main character likes to philosophize, but to what end? What does any of that babbling have to do with the plot or decisions? Never once his thought process is fully disclosed even though he makes some surprising decisions. A couple of times he withholds critical information. These mini-essays become the central focus of the book, and the actual story gets neglected. The second half is better (the character is too drunk to think clearly) and there is more action.

I think the choice of "I" point of view is rather unfortunate. There are bunch of interesting characters that get neglected because it's all about "I, me, and myself". What about all those poor characters that met a terrible end?

Overall, it definitely has a potential, but it drowns in irrelevant philosophical babbling.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Skip it. May 20, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I finally made it through this book. I would recommend skipping it. The price is right, but your time is worth more.

The author creates a somewhat interesting secondary world focused on a city-state with complex social hierarchies based exactly on early Roman Republic systems. The story doesn't do much in particular to make itself interesting, though the magic system and suggestions about the state of consciousness after death and how that interacts with the physical world were promising. The main character is intelligent enough, but watching him slowly evolve as a military commander is a bland experience. Nothing about the world, the conflict, the main character, or his supporting cast are engrossing. Female characters are severely lacking in depth, even compared to the rest of the cast. The main antagonist is a cardboard cutout used for the purpose of holding up a metaphorical sign instructing readers to think of him as a tyrannical, unadaptable, inefficient and non-dynamic societal figure for Northern's characters to crush with the weight of what he seems to take to be his far-superior philosophies.

The book is heavily laced with repetitive and lengthy political mini-essays. The virtues of a libertarian government and a free-market economy are extolled while other ways of living are virtually unacceptable. You are either a "person of the city" or a barbarian, though Sumto (the main character and narrator) does wonder (once, maybe twice) if "our way is better" is justification enough to supplant the local cultures in surrounding lands with the city's own on the whims of the rich and powerful. The one-dimensional enemies are all mindless slaves to a hypocritical system of government presided over by evildoers whose qualities I mentioned above.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars class act May 3, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
it is so nice to read an author that doesn't either live in a fairy tale world where everything is lala perfect, and combat unnecesary, or create a world so dark that after a quarter of the book i want all the characters to be dead. he has run the guantlet well. he creates sympathetic characters with failings and selfish motivations, occasionally sidelined by the characters ideals. few other than saints and moms live everymoment for others needs, but i think real peple will give a hand alomg the way when possible. his characters do this well the world is cool. the magic neat. and combat fun.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining August 11, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was an overall good book. Entertaining, and well worth the $0.99. I like the cover art. I will be looking to get a copy of Book II of this series "Key To The Grave"--I don't understand why it's not yet on Amazon (maybe working on better cover art?).

In synopsis, Sumto transforms from the aristocratic family's black sheep to a natural born leader. Only to have things fall apart.

-There were a few characters missing her and there such as the comma, period, apostrophe. Unsure why the book never got a proof-reading prior to publication.
-It was abrupt how the tone shifted from military to like prison/out/back again. And many characters had sad fates, which were brought on pretty quickly.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars The book is OK but......
The book is OK but I find the writer rambles on and on (for pages) about the main characters thought process.
Published 4 months ago by Betschart
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the better books to read!
I especially enjoyed what is involved for a noble to establish his very own army. The payoff could be huge, but then again he could lose everything. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Predator51
1.0 out of 5 stars Could Not Get Into This One AT ALL!
Just could not get into this book at all. I tried flitting around the book, hoping it would be interesting once past the very boring start but just never found anything to sink my... Read more
Published 7 months ago by njmlkpt
3.0 out of 5 stars It is a great book, but it needs the reader to be in a certain frame...
The Last King's Amulet trails Sumto through a rather tumultuous time in his life. It sees an adventure of personal growth begin in a fantasized version of Ancient Rome and move... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Lynxie
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book! Some nice twists in the plot and splitting and joining...
Very good reading, not sure if I want to read the next book in the series, from the description it is a toss up.
Published 8 months ago by MDDivemaster
1.0 out of 5 stars Not on my read again list
I don't know how I finished this book, but I did. I am at a lack of words for how I feel about it. It was boring, there was too much self dialog (or others called 'mini essays')... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Book Hound
4.0 out of 5 stars Rocky beginning but worth the read.
I really enjoyed The Last King's Amulet; however, I almost put it down at several points in the first few sections. Read more
Published 9 months ago by laconic1
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun read
Not a superb master piece writing wise, but Northern created a very superb character, a flawed anti-hero hero with a great story line. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Cynthia T
5.0 out of 5 stars YES, now wheres number 2, I want more :D
Great Book, which surprised the Heck out of me, Action packed, funny, seemed like it would only be so good after the first 10 pages bam!! i was hooked.
Published 13 months ago by Josh13
3.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't get into this book
I like all different types of books but I just couldn't really get into this one. I finished the book and it is written well, I just couldn't get into the story.
Published 14 months ago by Jen Woffy
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More About the Author

In between bouts of writing, Chris Northern does other things. He says he has no hobbies of his own, but is more than happy to go do things that other people enjoy. Exploring caves, wondering around castles and hiking are just a few examples. Swimming is pretty much out, though. No gills, no swimming. Boats are okay, just so long as they work. He does not get seasick. Or airsick.

Chris Northern lives wherever he happens to be and will move at the drop of a hat. Any hat. To anywhere. Though if it is cold he will likely not stay long. Just long enough to drive a 4X4 over a glacier, maybe.

He is often to be found eying the horizon; shortly thereafter, he is often found to be gone.

Chris Northern writes Fantasy and Science Fiction.

The King's Ward (YA Urban Fantasy)

The Price of Freedom (quartet of fantasy novels)

The Last King's Amulet
The Key To The Grave
The Invisible Hand
All The King's Bastards

Dancing with Darwin (A collection of related Science Fiction stories)Also Available Individually

Rapture Ready
Headed Home
Evolving Environment
Dangerous Delusions

Young Adult SF with Victoria Russell

Loser´s Flight

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