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The Briar King (The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – March 30, 2004
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Although The Briar King will suffer the inevitable comparison with George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series, it should be said that Keyes's work is no mere rip-off. This is excellent world building, applied with a dark, powerful touch that should convince Martin fans to become Keyes fans, too. --Jeremy Pugh --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
TBK opens with one of (if not the) best preludes in fantasy, which raises the overshadowing concept for the saga: a warrior-queen leads an army of enslaved humans in the storming of their demonic masters' citadel, only to learn that the means of their victory may have set in motion the doom of the world. In the story itself, set over 2,000 years later, the first signs of this doom begin to appear in the kingdom of Crotheny. The mythical Briar King, doom's harbinger, is said to be waking from his ancient slumber, even as the wars and intrigues of the human nations carry on, seemingly unaware ...
I've been deliberately vague about the actual story and principal characters so as to let the book speak for itself. I read a good deal of fantasy fiction (and write it as well), and I'm pleased to say that this is one of the best I've read in recent memory. Keyes writes in clear, often artful prose and has a true gift not only for world-building (and the research that surely underlies it) but also for showing the world and its wonders and horrors vividly without over-description or telling. (Or at least, when he must tell, he does it in a plausible, often inconspicuous manner.) The dialogue is crisp and spiced with wit and various languages; the characters are, for the most part, realistic and distinct. The plot is well-balanced and builds to a page-turning crescendo.Read more ›
The Briar King is a remnant of the old pagan beliefs, living on only in little superstitions and children's songs. But after the old holter Aspar rescues a nerdy young priest, they learn of strange things that are stirring in the woods, and human beings are dropping dead or being sacrificed -- and Aspar encounters a greffyn, a mythical monster whose touch and breath can kill. They're all signs that the Briar King is waking.
But the Briar King isn't the only source of trouble: the royal Dare family is being quietly turned on its head. Someone is trying to kill the queen, Princess Lesbeth has vanished mysteriously, and idealistic young knight Neil has fallen in love with Princess Fastia (who is married). Worst of all, one of the royals has gone mad, and threatens to destroy his entire family. The only one who may escape is immature Anne, who has been having strange visions.
It's virtually impossible to write semi-original fantasies now, but Keyes dodges the typical cliches -- elves, wizards, Dark Lords and demons. The story is engaging and unusual, but it starts stumbling partway through. But it demonstrates that Keyes has a good story worth telling; it ends on a "to be continued" note, of course.
Keyes starts off strong with mysterious occurrances and plenty of creepiness. He puts a lot of effort and description into his worldbuilding, such as the Dare family, the pseudo-Christian religion and well-crafted myths. But about halfway through "Briar King," Keyes starts to lose control of the story.Read more ›
The Briar King was slow to get into (I made a few false starts) but once I got going, I was able to keep the characters straight in my head (unlike A Song of Ice and Fire) and enjoyed the story very much. Greg Keyes must like language, because he uses a few invented languages, much like Tolkien. For someone like me who wanted to be a philologist after reading Lord of the Rings, this is a real appeal.
The Briar King is the first of a trilogy, which somewhat disappointed me since it would have been gratifying to have the story wrap up in one volume. However it is a sprawling tale and there's clearly a lot more to tell by the end of the book.
Male and female fantasy fans alike will enjoy this story, with its swords and sorcery, myths and religions, and well-drawn characters.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very good characters (especially Anne and Austra), and an interesting world. To those who like a more gritty, realistic, fantasy, as opposed to the more fairy-tale stuff, this... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
This was has easily become my favorite fantasy series. Its like Game of Thrones Lite.Published 2 months ago by Jacob
This 4 book series is so good, that it should be made into a TV series, or a movie(TV series would be better).Published 2 months ago by nameless one
I am glad to have stumbled on this series! It's scratching my fantasy itch...Published 6 months ago by Anna G.
Hey Dudes n Dudettes,
Started reading sci-fi and historical fantasy at age eight (over 50 yrs ago). Read more