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The Emperor's Knife (Tower and Knife) Paperback – June 26, 2012
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'It makes for a rich and entertaining storytelling environment, and Williams creates a twisty and enjoyable tale ... this is strongly recommended' SFX.
'The Emperor's Knife is a well-crafted narrative The story flows well and the writing strikes a great balance between description and action' British Fantasy Journal.
'The Emperor's Knife is a tale of fear and fluidity, of evolution and ego, and is one that is dictated in a style so visual and penetrating that it will have the Pattern invading your dreams long after the final pages have turned' Fantasy Book Review. 'sophisticated and thoughtful' SF signal. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Williams has degrees in history and physics with a diverse set of interests accumulated while misspending a hectic youth. Cooking has always been a passion and in addition to feeding six children and a sizable herd of cats Williams regularly caters for crowds of permanently hungry friends.
Top Customer Reviews
I bring this up because I think Mazarkis Williams had more water to bail than the average fantasy debut. Not a criticism, I say that because The Emperor's Knife is incredibly ambitious. Heavily flavored with Persian, Arabic, and Asian influence, it is a riff on epic fantasy with a deep magic system, complex political intrigue, and a complete story arc all contained in well under 400 pages.
There is a cancer at the heart of the mighty Cerani Empire. Geometric patterns spread across the skin causing those who bear them to become Carriers - mindless servants of the Pattern Master. Anyone showing the marks is put to death by Emperor Beyon's law. Now the pattern is running over the Emperor's own arms. His body servants have been executed and he ignores his wives - soon the pattern will reach his face. While Beyon's agents scour the land for a cure, Sarmin, the Emperor's only surviving brother, awaits his bride, Mesema, a windreader from the northern plains. Unused to being at court Mesema has no one to turn to but an ageing imperial assassin, the Emperor's Knife. As long-planned conspiracies boil over into open violence, the Pattern Master appears. The only people standing in his way are a lost prince, a world-weary killer, and a young girl from the steppes.Read more ›
That's the first mistake you make about the book assuming that the plot will be generic. While the book's plot does feature court intrigue, a traditional story structure and individuals who have the power to change the course of events, there's much more to The Emperor's Knife including a plague that causes colorful geometric shapes to appear and make them mindless drones who act as a singular entity.
The story opens with a prologue set years in the past and details a crucial event which shapes Prince Sarmin's life from that moment onwards. The book then shifts to the present time as he awaits his life within an environment that he does not fully understand, but is comforted by. From here, the plot begins rather suddenly as the reader is thrown into the world of the Cerani, the Felt people, etc. and the reader has to pick up on the clues and descriptions provided by the author and connect the dots to gain an understanding of the story and the problems which are occurring. The main mystery thread consists of the aforementioned plague and the Pattern Master.
At the core of this story are the three main POVs of Prince Sarmin, Mesema and Eyul. Mesema is a Felt girl who has been chosen by her father to be a bride to Prince Sarmin of the Cerani empire. Mesema is not thrilled by this decision, but cannot disobey her father.Read more ›
My second main criticism was really this book's weakest point, which was the role of women in the story. I'd read other reviews that mentioned there was a lot of sex, which didn't scare me off, but what those reviews didn't mention is that this story essentially portrays women as eager sex kittens who have only two real goals in life: to be sexually available for any male that comes along (and thus get pregnant) and to do their best to eliminate any competition for sex kitten status. Now I'm not usually a champion of the feminist perspective, but this story really just hit a nerve for me I guess. The women were described in the story as being devious, clever and backstabbing, but they never really demonstrated any of these qualities, aside from some a few snide comments here and there. The Queen Mother was obviously in a position of respect and importance, but was still relegated to bartering sexual favors to accomplish goals.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read The Emperors Knife when it first came out 6 years ago so I don’t remember all the little details but I do still remember the story line as a whole and can recall various... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Becky Thomas
This was a good read, although I am not yet sold on the series.Published 20 months ago by David P. Brummell
This is not an easy read. That's not to say this isn't a good book, this is a great book, but it's a story that needs time and attention. Is it an easy read? No. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Graham Austin-King
drags in a spot of two. and the ending did not leave me inspired to buy the next book. but the overall story was good.Published 23 months ago by Kindle Customer
Although it was a good story line, it was very disjointed and difficult to read. There were so many players and it wasn't tied together well. All in all it wasn't a bad book. Read morePublished on August 20, 2014 by Amazon Customer
Great book. Well written with captivating characters and a plot that has enough surprises to keep you engaged. Read morePublished on August 9, 2014 by Amazon Customer
The writing is full of imagery, emotion, and nuance. I would have given the story five stars except that there is much darkness and death.Published on August 7, 2014 by W. Irving
A lot of characters to filter through. The plot and scene is great. Really enjoyed the overall experiencePublished on June 29, 2014 by Robert Schilt