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The King's Name (The King's Peace, Book 2) Hardcover – December 1, 2001

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (December 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031287653X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312876531
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #990,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

War is a tough subject to do well, but in this gritty, moving second and final book in the saga of Tir Tanagiri, British author Walton makes the strife of civil war not only believable but understandable. Battle-hardened, older and wiser after her adventures in The King's Peace (2000), the warrior Sulien ap Gwien has become lord of her own bit of land and wants nothing more than a quiet life. Ill fortune and an evil sorcerer who'd not been dealt with years earlier, however, return her to the saddle and a civil war that could break King Urdo's peace and leave the kingdom a shattered ruin. Brother turns against brother or in this case, sister against sister. The novel opens: "The first I knew about the civil war was when my sister Aurien poisoned me." Sulien survives her poisoning only to wonder why her sister hates her the answer makes her wish she'd remained poisoned. In the end, the cost of battle is felt by every person in the land. No one will ever be the same, especially Sulien ap Gwien. Walton has taken a thoughtful look at what war can do to real people, as a group and as individuals. A nicely paced, unpredictable plot that keeps the reader guessing who might be back-stabbing whom, coupled with musical language and natural conversations, sets this well above the fantasy average. The ambiguous gender of some of the character names may confuse some, but Walton is never stridently feminist, with women and men represented as equally capable of both good and evil. This fine work should garner an award nomination or two.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

The sequel to The King's Peace (2000) seems to conclude Walton's variation on the Matter of Britain--the tale of King Arthur and his knights. After a decisive victory over warring petty kings and foreign invaders, King Urdo has made peace with them. Now he seeks to bring the motley realm of Tir Tanagiri under the rule of one law, with justice for as many as possible. Some, however, inevitably see a king powerful enough to enforce such a law as a tyrant, and so the realm faces civil war. The narrator, Sulien ap Gwien, a female warrior who plays the role of Lancelot as the king's champion, must gather her forces and ride to battle again. It is a particularly heartbreaking battle this time, as it is fought against friends and kin. The pacing is brisk, the emotional impact great, and the concluding farewell to Sulien doesn't absolutely preclude a third volume about Tir Tanagiri. Not a bad proposition, if and when, for Walton is making page-turners of her take on Arthur's Britain. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Jo Walton has published ten novels, three poetry collections, and an essay collection, with another two novels due out in 2015. She won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2002, the World Fantasy Award in 2004 for Tooth and Claw, and the Hugo and Nebula awards in 2012 for Among Others. She comes from Wales but lives in Montreal where the food and books are much better. She writes science fiction and fantasy, reads a lot, talks about books, and eats great food. She plans to live to be ninety-nine and write a book every year.

Her livejournal, with wordcount, poetry, recipes and occasional actual journalling, is at: She also blogs about old books at

Her real grown up website with info about her books, stories, plays and poetry is at


The King's Peace (Tor 2000)
The King's Name (Tor 2001)
The Prize in the Game (Tor 2002)
Tooth and Claw (Tor 2003, reprinted Orb 2009)
Farthing (Tor 2006)
Ha'Penny (Tor 2007)
Half a Crown (Tor 2008)
Lifelode (NESFA 2009)
Among Others (Tor 2011)
My Real Children (Tor 2014)

The Just City -- forthcoming January 2015
The Philosopher Kings -- forthcoming July 2015

Poetry Collections

Muses and Lurkers (Rune Press 2001)
Sibyls and Spaceships (NESFA 2009)
The Helix and the Hard Road (Aqueduct 2013)

Essay Collection

What Makes This Book So Great (Tor 2014).


Copper Cylinder Award (Among Others 2012)

Hugo: (Among Others 2012)

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, 2002

Kurd Lasswitz Award (for Among Others, 2014)

Mythopoeic Award (for Lifelode, 2010)

Nebula Award (for Among Others, 2012)

Prometheus Award (for Ha'Penny) 2008

Robert Holdstock Award (Among Others, 2012)

Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award (for Farthing) 2007
Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award (for Half a Crown) 2009
Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award (for Among Others 2012)

World Fantasy Award (for Tooth and Claw) 2004

Award Nominations

Indie Lit Awards: (Among Others 2012)
John W. Campbell Memorial (Farthing 2007)
Lambda (SF with gay/lesbian issues) (Ha'Penny 2008)
Locus (Farthing 2007, Among Others 2012)
Mythopoeic (Among Others 2012)
Nebula (Farthing 2007)
Prometheus (Libertarian) (Half a Crown 2009)
Quill (Farthing 2007)
Rhysling (SF poetry) (2007: "Candlemass Poem", in Lone Star Stories, Feb 2006)
Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice (Ha'Penny 2008)
Seiun (Best work translated into Japanese) (Farthing, Ha'Penny, Half a Crown 2011)
Sidewise (Alternate History) (Farthing 2007, Ha'Penny 2008, Half a Crown 2009)
Sunburst (Canadian Literature of the Fantastic) (Half a Crown 2009)
Tiptree Honor (Lifelode 2010)
World Fantasy Award (Among Others 2012)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 8 customer reviews
It grabs you in the space of exactly one sentence - literally.
Gary Wedlund
All of the magic in the book is basically charms and prayers said in an attempt to reach the particular god the person prays to.
David Roy
The Arthurian legend was a powerful one of hope and promise, as well as a poignant one of betrayal and treachery.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By tregatt on January 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
"King's Name" is a sequel to "King's Peace" and is a retelling of the darker part of the Arthurian legend -- the bit where the dream of a kingdom united under one king and one law falls apart because of treachery form within the kingdom. And in case you've forgotten either the events and characters from "King's Peace," Jo Walton has provided a thumbnail sketch of everything that happened in "King's Peace" in the introduction to "King's Name."
King Urdo's dream of a united kingdom and peace for the nation of Tir Tanagiri, seems to be on the brink of destruction. And this time the threat is not from barbarian invaders, but from within. While many acknowledge that Urdo has brought peace and unity, and that his laws are just ones, others see only the thirst for absolute power and tyranny. There is also the fear that Urdo will force all his subjects to convert to this new religion of light and the one god. Fanned by fear, greed and Morthu (Urdo's treacherous nephew)'s treasonous whispering, Urdo's erstwhile friends and enemies seem poised to start a civil war. And now it is up to Sulien ap Gwien, once Urdo's most trusted of warriors and his right hand, to put a stop to this treason, and to fight for Urdo's dream of a united kingdom to remain a reality.
"King's Name" keeps pretty much to the parameters of the Arthurian legend. Nothing really terribly new or different in the manner in which the plot of "King's Name" unfolds. So why read this novel? Because it is always thrilling and poignant to read such tales. The Arthurian legend was a powerful one of hope and promise, as well as a poignant one of betrayal and treachery.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David Roy on February 5, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The King's Name is another excellent novel by Jo Walton. This novel, sequel to The King's Peace, takes all of the strengths of its predecessor and leaves most of the weaknesses behind. It's a worthy addition to any fantasy fan's bookshelf.
I thought that this book was marvelous. Walton's characterization is wonderful, with the many different people populating this book having enough distinction that it isn't that hard to tell them apart. There are, at times, difficulties in remembering which side some of the characters are on, but it's not a major issue and it becomes easier as you go along in the novel. None of the minor characters are truly three-dimensional, but they all have some sort of hook that distinguishes them from the rest of the pack. I really liked that aspect of it.
The characterization of the leads is another standout. The tale is told in first person by Sulien, so everything is coloured by her interpretations. She's a very deep character with some humour and a lot of loyalty to Urdo and her friends (as long as the friends aren't on the other side of the war). She's very interesting to read about, and seeing her reactions to the events that are going on is what makes the book worth reading. Her son, Darien, is widely believed to be the son of Urdo (though he's actually the son of Ulf, a Jarnsman warrior who raped her when she was much younger) and her reaction to hearing that Darien had been named by Urdo as his heir is great. It was a bit jarring to see how easy her relationship with Darien was considering that The King's Peace didn't really end with the relationship being any warmer than it had been at the beginning. But that quickly fell by the wayside as I got caught up in the story.
Urdo is the same wise king that he was in the first book as well.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By on January 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
"King's Name" picks up the story five years after the ending of "King's Peace". It is a very good story, with a couple small but noticeable differences. 1. It is smoother than "King's Peace". Probably because Ms. Walton already had a feel for her world and for Sulien and didn't have to learn her way around them. 2. The slaps at the church are more subtle, put in milder, though no less certain terms.
The story is a little slow for a time (after a fast start), but for me the reading was worth every word.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Douglas K. Bissell on April 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
No need to summarize the plot, as other reviewers have more than done that. Walton has taken the Arthurian story and placed it in a different world - apparently as one possibility in an infinity of multiple possibilities, assuming I understand correctly something a half crazy oracle says toward the end.
Like another reviewer, I am just as happy not to see the Guenivere/Lancelot part of the legend retold. But Mordred/Morthu is there, with enhanced powers.
I had resisted reading these books because I thought that I knew enough about Arthur from other renditions of the legend. But there are enough side characters and ancillary plots to make this a truly different retelling. And Sulien ap Gwien is a strong and sympathetic character. It would be a pleasure to read something about her later life, though this doesn't look likely.
My only quibble is that the author introduces lots of tribal names and place names, but there is no map. Also, there are hundreds of named individuals, or at least it seems that way. Since a character can be named by first name (Sulien) or by father's name (ap Gwien), it becomes really confusing to keep track of the minor characters, especially since so many names begin with C or G. Here a chart grouping them at least by family, or tribe, or kingdom, or anything, would be nice.
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