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The Fall of The Kings (Riverside) Mass Market Paperback – September 30, 2003


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The Fall of The Kings (Riverside) + Swordspoint (Riverside) + Thomas the Rhymer
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Product Details

  • Series: Riverside
  • Mass Market Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reissue edition (September 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553585940
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553585940
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #454,973 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-A return to the marvelously complicated world of witty court intrigue and deadly University scandal last seen in Swordspoint (Tor, 1994). Theron Campion, an aristocratic student, is drawn into a controversy about the nature of the ancient kings and the northern wizards. Basil St. Cloud is at the center of this dispute and as his relationship with Campion deepens, he finds that his historical findings have modern, highly political implications. As all scholars know, the kings were corrupt and their wizards were simply charlatans, but St. Cloud has discovered an ancient source that promises something altogether different. However, the Council of Lords becomes aware that the northern-most parts of the country are murmuring for a return to monarchy and, suspecting the University as a source for the discontent, they send a spy to ferret out information. St. Cloud and his students become the focal point for an explosive denouement that is as tragic as it is inevitable. Kings stands on its own in all its intricate, fascinating glory. The characters are fully realized, and some of the secondary ones, like Campion's mother, are so well done that they threaten to steal scenes. Kushner and Sherman inject plenty of humor and bawdiness into their tale, providing grounding for some of the abstruse historical debates. This is high fantasy at its best-literate, passionate, and compelling.
Jody Sharp, Harford County Public Library, MD
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Generations have passed since the nobles rose to power, killing the last king and burning the wizards who served as the king's advisers. When Basil St. Cloud, a professor of ancient history, meets Theron Campion, a young and eccentric nobleman, their passionate relationship brings to light forbidden knowledge about the true history of the last king and the nature of the bond between the king and the land. Set in the same world as Kushner's Swordspoint, this dynamic tale of the twin powers of love and scholarship offers a glimpse into the connection between learning and politics while portraying the lives of individuals poised on the border of myth and reality. Kushner and coauthor Sherman (Through a Brazen Mirror) craft a sensual and evocative tale that should appeal to fans of Tanith Lee and Storm Constantine. Highly recommended for readers of mature fantasy.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Mostly, there was very little relationship development and a great deal of character development.
Sable
Ellen Kushner and Della Sherman combine their talents to create a work that is sublimely rich in characterizations and a perspective similar to medieval Europe.
Harriet Klausner
It also has enough plot and witty dialog and character development to keep me reading until *way* past my bedtime.
A. Rappoport

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A. Rappoport on November 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
What a lovely book, rich and layered, set in an alternate universe witout the usual cliches, it feels familiar and strange at the same time. I loved Swordspoint and Thomas the Rhymer, and this is a great successor. The people, heroes and anti-heroes alike, are treated sympathetically through the course of the book, and even the minor characters are intriguing and surprising. I'm not usually a fan of atmospheric novels, but this one worked beautifully. It also has enough plot and witty dialog and character development to keep me reading until *way* past my bedtime.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By "spellbound-i" on November 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
Wow. I waited several weeks for an unfilled order for this book at [a store] and finally gave up, going to Amazon.com in desperation. My copy arrived yesterday and I was awake until 3:00 AM reading this delicious, sexy, thrilling, magical tale that I literally could not put down for hours! The son of the memorable Alec, late of "Swordspoint", is the focus of this story, a handsome, dissolute young lordling, (clever and witty, but not so caustic as his father) who attends the famous University and falls for a young professor. The professor has been researching the ancient tales of the kings and their wizards, their relationships, and their power struggles. The magical legends, believed to be full of fanciful notions of mysticism, appear to be coming back to life in the world with young Theron Campion, the noble, and his professor reliving the ancient roles of the kings and wizards before them. This book is beautifully written, darker and sexier than "Swordspoint", and just as thrilling and new. I LOVED this book. Seek out the comic book series (yes, comic book) "A Distant Soil", issue #29, for a short story by Delia Sherman entitled "The Tragedy of King Alexander the Stag" for an original, nowhere else published story of the Kings and Wizards of the "Swordspoint" world. I can't recommend this book enough.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman's The Fall of the Kings is a worthy sequel to Kushner's earlier Swordspoint. The excitement is there, the political intrigue, the food (pickled cherries!), and most of all, what people do to one another.
Get the hot chocolate out and enjoy this bawdy, intellectually stimulating novel of love and betrayal.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By The Fountain Pen Diva VINE VOICE on December 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
'Swordspoint', a little gem of a novel, is a book I enjoy re-reading and have never grown tired of. Though short, it is an elegantly witty work of high fantasy with characters I came to love.
Now, Ellen Kushner and her partner, Delia Sherman, have once again delighted my literary palate with 'The Fall of the Kings'. This novel is as rich as a Pre-Raphaelite painting, full of lush hues and romantic themes.
'The Fall of the Kings' is full of so many multifacted characters to love, to dislike and to ardently sigh over--Theron, the wonderfully charming, decadent, shamelessly self-indulgent, warm and idealistic son of Alec, from 'Swordspoint'; Basil St. Cloud, the handsome and charismatic young scholar with his longing for truth and passion for the past--and for Theron; The Lady Sophia could easily give her ancestress, Diane of Tramontaine a good fight. Where Diane's motivations were more mysterious, Sophia is quite open when it comes to wielding power. And of course, who could forget Theron's sister, Lady Jessica, the beautiful and ruthless pirate queen.
Even the ghost of Richard St. Vier makes a small spectral appearance.
Add to this heady mix raucous university students, dueling professors, hidebound scholars, men in elegant frocks, women in shimmering gowns, a heartless paintrix, ancient lore and buried secrets, and 'The Fall of the Kings' becomes the kind of novel that envelopes you in its many layers.
Like 'Swordspoint', the eroticism is subtle, allowing the reader to savor the intimate moments between Theron and Basil. Kushner and Sherman do not go into details, and as excellent storytellers, they do not need to.
'The Fall of the Kings' is another masterwork of high fantasy--a world that once visited is very hard to forget.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
I've been waiting for years for a sequel to Swordspoint and was thrilled to finally read Fall of the Kings. It is as lush, gorgeous, thrilling, and witty as its predecessor, while exploring darker and richer territory. Sherman and Kushner manage to find the perfect word, the just-right phrase to catch the reader off-guard again and again. Like a fine chocolate, it is impossible to convey the sensual enjoyment, the delicious combination of bitter and sweet, the sheer delight that is Fall of the Kings. I can't recommend this book highly enough.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on November 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
Over five centuries ago the Northern King, his army, and the wizards traveled to the Kingdom of the South for a marriage that would bind the two lands into one union. Over time the king and the wizards fell out of favor with their nobles and were killed. The Council of Lords became rulers of the land and any talk of wizards or magic is considered treason. For two hundred years the nobles ruled without any serious threat to their authority but now rumors come to their attention of the restoration of the monarchy.

The council sends spies to the University to see if anyone has done anything that could be considered heresy. Two names keep cropping up in the investigation. History Professor Basis St. Cloud who thinks that magic once actually existed and Theron Campion, heir to the Duchy of Tremontaine. These two men are fated to play a prominent role in events that will usher in a new age of thought.

Ellen Kushner and Della Sherman combine their talents to create a work that is sublimely rich in characterizations and a perspective similar to medieval Europe. The political infighting at the university adds a sense of the ridiculous to this very serious epic drama. The characters, fully developed and complex creations, are prisoners of their place in society, which makes them all the more interesting when they step out of their station in life. THE FALL OF KINGS is an experience not to be missed.

Harriet Klausner
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