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The Assassin King (The Symphony of Ages) Hardcover – December 26, 2006

42 customer reviews
Book 6 of 8 in the Symphony of Ages Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. At the start of Haydon's lyrical sixth installment in her sweeping saga of musical magic and ancient prophecies (after 2004's Elegy for a Lost Star), the dragons of the world gather to mourn the loss of one of their oldest and greatest—whose demise leaves a weakness in their protective shield of the Earth. Ashe and Rhapsody, the Lord and Lady of Cymrian, also convene with their allies to prepare for the war looming between deadly powers that could tear the world apart. Rhapsody has the added distraction of caring for their infant son, Meridion, for as the heir to Cymrian the baby is an obvious target; he may also be the Child of Time, whose coming will change the world—and perhaps even the nature of Time itself. While deftly managing a large cast of intriguing characters in a story that's both grand and intimate but never predictable, Haydon moves all the pieces into place for the next volume. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The sixth Symphony of Ages novel portends a turning point. A mysterious figure wanders about reciting, among other things, the true name of Achmed, the assassin king of Yloc--and all good fantasy readers know that names have power. Meanwhile, a conclave of dragons, few in number but vastly powerful, plots. Achmed calls a council of war, and he and his advisers agree that war is coming, on a scale that should make the trilogy that will almost certainly follow this book thoroughly gripping. Haydon isn't the greatest fantasist, but her characterization skills and her use of folkloric material have steadily improved. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Series: The Symphony of Ages (Book 6)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (December 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765305658
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765305657
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.3 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #654,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jena on December 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
For those that are fans of the Symphony of Ages series it has been a long wait for this book. I am ecstatic that it has finally come out and I was not disappointed by it. I can only hope that there will be a shorter wait for the next in the series.

The story of The Assassin King begins shortly after where the previous book in the series, Elegy for a Lost Star, left off. This is a crucial moment in the storyline of the series. The world is starting to unravel and it is up to the heroes, including Rhapsody, Grunthor and Achmed, to fight for their world. It is nice to have the three main characters together as a team again.

The Assassin King is a pivotal point in the series that sets the foundation for the future storyline. As a result of this it does not have the same sense of "completeness" as the previous books in the series. This is not a negative criticism because it is a necessary step for the continuing narrative, but I would like to forewarn people. I would have liked to spend more time with Rhapsody, Grunthor and Achmed, but because of the multiple story threads that are taking place, that are necessary to establish, this was not possible. Because of the set-up Haydon has done in The Assassin King I am optimistic that the next book will see these characters more at the center.

The Assassin King plays a crucial role in the development of the overall storyline, but at the same time has a lot of good elements that stand by themselves. I highly recommend this book and the entire series. This book has fed my craving for the Symphony of Ages series and has whetted my appetite for more!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By G. Greene on January 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The long wait for the next installment in the Symphony of the Ages is finally over, and while I'm a little disappointed that this book is primarily a building block for the next one, I am more than happy to catch up with Grunthor and Achmed, my two favorite characters (not that there was enough of them, but some is better than nothing). Additionally, we now have Rath, who is quite intriguing in his own right and a challenger worthy of Achmed, and the F'dor have returned in force.

The Assassin King is somewhat episodic, and many other new characters are introduced, while previously minor ones are expanded. But what this book lacks in flowing plot, it more than makes up for in brilliant, evocative narrative. Haydon is a master at creating atmosphere and characters, and the sheer virtuosity of her writing is a great pleasure to read.

I'm still waiting to see the world that Meridion changes when he alters time, but there are many other adventures to be had in the meantime. Let's just hope that the wait between books is not so long this time, since many more questions were asked than answered.

Great read and highly recommended!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mark Hartnett on December 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I have been waiting for this book for more than a year, but the wait was well worth it. The Publishers Weekly review is much closer than the one from Midwest/Klausner. Elizabeth Haydon has been the master of words and images in epic fantasy for a while, not just an endless stream of plot points. Whether she is describing a horrible seige to a holy city or the tiniest details of an underground hive a forgotten bees, you can literally see the pictures she is painting. My favorite character in her series, Achmed the Snake, is back in all his sarcastic, obnoxious force, as are Grunthor and Rhapsody in a return to the old days of the Three, plus an infant that has the ability to step in and out of time but can only communicate the way a real baby can. While it does take a chapter or two toward the beginning to catch up to what is going on, the book flies from there. I read it in two long sittings and am about to start it again, so I can enjoy a great discussion with all the other Achmed fans who've been drooling for this for years. Highly recommended.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By RM Piper on March 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I was very disappointed when I finally finished this book. As a huge fan of the series I have noted that since the original three it has taken me longer and longer to finish each book. I finished Rhapsody in 1 day. It took me over a month to finish this one. It is not a story. A book should be able to stand on its own, even if it is part of a series. This seemed more like an effort to meet a deadline or make some cash off Ms. Haydon's fan base. I fear that after this installment that group may have gotten much smaller. I'd like to say that I am done with the series, for there is nothing I hate more than to waste my money, but Rhapsody, Achmed and Grunthor are still my favorite charecters in any book. Haydon's writing is still as poetic as ever. I simply hope she remembers that the people who are allowing her to be an author deserve better than what she just gave them. I do not need a 400 page lead in to the next book- especially when it costs me over twenty bucks. If she is done with the characters and the series then she should end it. I would rather say goodbye now than be strung along without any real story-line until I forgot why I was such a fan in the beginning.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By C. A. Everett on January 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Actually I would give this a 3.5 if I could. I'm just not sure that it is quite a four star. I have to start this review off by saying I love the Symphony of Ages series. I will buy every single one of them that comes out and I highly recommend this series to other readers. Elizabeth Haydon's writing ability is excellent. She is able to draw you in and leave you in love with her world with exciting plot lines and well drawn characters (for the most part). I do, however, have a few issues with this new volume.

****THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD - so if you haven't read the book, please don't read further****

For a book that is entitled "The Assassin King" I was really hoping to see a lot of new information about my favorite character Achmed, but it was sadly lacking. I know she is explaining some old plot lines and introducing some new ones here, but if this is all we get of Achmed in the book named for him, I have serious doubts of seeing him in future ones in as much detail as I'd like. One of my favorite plot lines in this series is the love triangle between Rhapsody, Achmed and Ashe, so I have to rant about that for a moment. First of all, is there any main male character that is not completely enraptured with Rhapsody? (Ashe, Anborn, Achmed, Stephen, Michael and Tristan come to mind. At least Grunthor isn't). That is just a bit too trite. Second of all, there is way too much sickeningly sweet dialogue between Rhapsody and Ashe. I am really tired of hearing over and over again about their glorious love and their beginnings with each other. It's enough to give me a cavity. I am not a fan of Ashe's character and he is beginning to bore me to tears.
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