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The Pretender's Crown (The Inheritors' Cycle, Book 2) Paperback – April 28, 2009

3.8 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
Book 2 of 2 in the Inheritors' Cycle Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Murphy's crisply written sequel to 2008's alternate history The Queen's Bastard, aliens known as the Heseth, the people of the sun, have visited Earth in what would be our 16th century, but the supernatural elements are limited to the occasional use of magical abilities. The plot is more focused on the struggle for power in Echon (Europe), which features familiar rivalries between Aulun (England), Gallin (France) and the Prussian Confederation. As political tensions heat up, Belinda, the witchfire-wielding assassin and illegitimate daughter of Aulun's Queen Lorraine, faces relationship problems with Javier de Castille, prince of Essandia (Spain) and Gallin, and with her overbearing mother. Murphy tends toward long discussions of war, succession and various attempts by the Heseth to influence human development, mostly balanced by clever intrigue and raw, explicit sex scenes. (May)
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From Booklist

The much-anticipated sequel to The Queen’s Bastard (2008) won’t disappoint patient readers willing to dedicate time and thought to the myriad political machinations in the weighty first nine-tenths of the book. Belinda Primrose, back in Aulun, is finally recognized after saving the navy from the Gallin Armada while being mistaken for the Madonna. Javier de Castille’s witch-power is deemed a gift from God by the Pappas, allowing him latitude to use it as he wars against Aulun, attempting to bring it back into the ecumenical fold. Battles, marriages, assassinations, changes of allegiance, and political intrigue strip the protagonists down to their cores as they lose everything and gain something else. With secrets of Belinda’s and Javier’s true beginnings revealed, Belinda reevaluates her fealty to an alien queen lurking in space and her responsibilities to the world into which she was born. Readers will have to await future installments of the Inheritors’ Cycle to know how it all finally comes out. --Herald Diana Tixier

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (April 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345494652
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345494658
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,305,454 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

C.E. Murphy was born and raised in Alaska and has since moved to her ancestral homeland of Ireland. She lives there with her husband, a chef, and three very spoiled pets.

She's a full-time writer. Thus far her plans to take over the publishing world are proceeding apace.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The only reason why this book is 4.5 stars and not 5 is because I do not think that Murphy's "alien race" tie in is done as effectively as it could be. While it creates an interesting motivation for the protagonist (Belinda) to make the decisions that she does, I think that the general tie in of the "alien story" to the action is a little weak.

This book does not stand alone easily. I would definitely recommend that you read The Queen's Bastard (The Inheritors' Cycle, Book 1) first.

The political intrigue and diplomatic plays that began in The Queen's Bastard are more intense, more complete, and more interesting in this book. If you enjoy books like Kushiel's Dart for the political espionage, you will enjoy this series. (Mind, this series is not as good as Carey's work with the Kushiel's Legacy series, but they're in the same realm.) Also improved upon: the character development. All of the characters have rounded out to more complex shades of gray, an improvement all around though you will probably find yourself liking Javier a little less (he's a bit more whiny in this book).
In short: read this book, even if you weren't thrilled with "Queen's Bastard." It's an improvement and a solid, gripping read.

(I was so engrossed in it at one point, I had reached the end of the metro line and the train and platform had cleared of all other people before I snapped out of it long enough to get off the train before it went to the station yard.)
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Format: Paperback
Pretenders Crown is the sequel to The Queen's Bastard (The Inheritors' Cycle, Book 1).
This book defies description-
1. Part alternative history: 16th Century ELizabethan England/Europe
2. Part magical fantasy
3. Part Machiavellian political drama
4. Part Science Fiction (yes- Sci Fi!).
5. Part romance (very little).

The writing is dense. The POV shifts from character to character, so you really have to concentrate when reading. This is not one of those books where you can skim 2-3 pages and not miss a beat. This is not light reading, but is amazingly well written.

You must read Queen's Bastard first. If you have already read Queens Bastard, then the following will make more sense. There are some OMG revelations here, so I will try and not put in any Spoilers.
Here are my thoughts:
1. Belinda- in QB she definetely had shades of gray and was hard to like. In this we actually see her character grow and become more likable. She transforms herself from pawn to player as she realizes what is transpiring around her.
2. Less sex- in QB Belinda's "witchpower" fed from her sexual energy. Thankfully Belinda has learnt to seperate the two by the end of the book. There is still plenty of sex in the first half, although no forced sex like in QB.
3.Javier- in QB he was a sympathetic character, and here he actually becomes less likeable. Events transform him just as they do Belinda. There is a shocking revelation about him that will have your jaw drop.
4.Witchpower- what this is and how Belinda,Ivanova, Robert Drake,Dimitri and Javier possess it is revealed. Again a big shock to me. I did not see this coming.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
I put off writing a review for quite some time as I didn't know what to say about this book after my review of the first one. And there are improvements: less complaining about women's rights, less masochism, and no huge plot holes. My actual rating is 2 1/2 stars.

Belinda becomes the heir to the throne (Yeah! what was the hold up on that again?). She then initiates plans to overthrow her alien overlords. Somehow, despite how I am intrigued by the aliens, this is too little too late, and her personality shifts seem more to please fans than actual character work.

Javier is rather useless and easily pushed around by outside forces. He was more entertaining in the last book. And when he does take proactive steps like chasing the woman he loves, the romance seems non-existant.

Ivanova makes an appearance and seems set to make a dramatic entrance onto the scene of the main plot. The tension builds, but the drama goes to waste once she leaves her homeland.

The basic idea was good. There were some worthwhile plot twists. I ended up greatly liking Javier's uncle, the Prince of Essendia. But he's a minor character and those that I loved were either killed in body or in character during the first book. Here the characters are more cardboard cutouts than I ever anticipated. Perhaps the plot with the aliens will turn out to be wonderful, but at this point I'm not sticking around to find out.
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Format: Paperback
I greatly enjoyed the first novel of the series, Queen's Bastard, and I was very eager to see this book on the shelves. Unfortunately, The Pretender's Crown was absolutely horrid.

-The book had no clear main character; Belinda, the nominal protagonist, barely made an appearance in the first third of the novel, which spent most of its time flitting from one character to another, introducing fairly bland new ones and adding little of note to the old. Most of the first half of the book was dedicated to a dry overview of overarching politics and left me hoping Belinda would assassinate someone just to break the monotony.

-There was no clear plot. Although the book was centered around the war between the Cordulan armies and Belinda's homeland, it was never clear until almost the last page which side she even wanted to win, let alone how, and there was never any particular reason for the reader to care either way. Beyond this rather vague goal, no one seemed to have any idea what they were trying to accomplish or why. The book read like a meandering stream of thought about the characters, finished only when a page quota was reached.

-The characters are dull, unmotivated and inactive. The introduction of aliens (not a spoiler, it's on the first page) gives a jarring sense of dislocation to the previous historical fantasy. Many key moments (such as an important pregnancy, a later decision to give a child away, and the final betrayal) that should have been pivotal developments occured off-stage or were glossed over, making character changes seem trite and confusing.

Ultimately, too much was shoved into the novel, and almost none of it had to do with the main character or her story. I still highly recommend Queen's Bastard, but I also suggest any readers simply pretend it's a standalone.
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