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The Fall of The Kings Paperback – October 29, 2002
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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.
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
It's the sort of book that when you read it, you want it to be better. I kept waiting for the big payoff, or a at least a touching scene between Theron and Basil. Neither happened. While waiting for that, I kept a laundry list of things that were bothering me the whole time I was reading the book:
1. Radical Retconning: There had been, in the first two books, some suggestions of some vaguely anglican religion. Katherine had spoken of the fetival that happened on Last Night in the Priveledge of the Sword, and Richard and Octavia actually described a whole night of festivities. None of these festivities included stags, kings, deers, wizards, or anything else that this book claims is tradition. On the same topic, Katherine's behavoir seems really weird for her. As does Gregory's. Marcus..... would the real Marcus please stand up?
2. Random Sex. Why on earth do Basil and Theron like each other enough to bang? I don't get it. Basil seems more annoyed by Theron most of the time. I had a relationship like this once..... it didn't end up in me dying for the fellow. It ended in me RUNNING AWAY.
3. Wandering Plot: There are all sorts of stings hanging loose and confusing at the end. I, frankly, don't get the end at all. It makes NO SENSE. If we presume that indeed, this is some sort of wiccan-type magic at the end, then Theron oughta be dead. The end resolution could use some smoke and mirrors or at least a handwave or two.
4. Exposition, after exposition, after exposition..... oh god. And lots of Captain Obvious.
5. Transparent Plot: As much as it wandered, the basic plot line was so thin and transparent none of the exclaimations and surprise of the characters when they finally discovered the Truth (captital T and all) seemed genuine.
I'm a fan of this world, but this was just plain painful to read.
Oh, and the Richard's Ghost thing.... it does seem out of character, he's not the sort of person that would come back to Riverside, I think he'd prefer to live out his ghostly hours where he had been happy. But, if he had returned to the riverside house and practiced sword like he had when he was younger -- why couldn't have Alec been there by the fire, keeping him company? Is there no peace for the dead?
Crabbe (by the way Crabbe is also the name of one of the minions of Malfoy,Harry Potter's enemy),Nicholas Galing and all the others.But oh, the sumptuous writings, the splendid descriptions of the parties of the nobility, whit a dialogue almost Wildean in its witticism, the obsessive power of artifacts...all is superb. The passages in which Basil St Cloud is first obsessed by luscious and archaic dreams, then awakens and peruses a strange old book who he believes is the origin of the dreams...well,you have to read it. You are reminded of Vandermeer's Book of Ambergris.But The Fall Of Kings is an absolute masterpiece, in a class of his own.
I think I hated it because for nearly the whole book I get to be inside Theron and Basil's heads - but then - nothing. The major climactic moment and I don't get them from the inside - and almost even cursorily from the outside.
I hated that.
Yet I still love this book.
My second objection comes in because there's a LOT more smut in this novel than there needed to be: the book could've been accomplished without getting quite so earthy (and at least one of the authors managed this feat in a book called Swordspoint). I'm not objecting on the ground of some conservative perspective: I share a sexual preference with the main characters in this world.
I have recommended this book to some friends- but made sure they understood that they'd be wandering into what's at-least-R-rated so they could, if they chose, not find themselves reading a passage describing a rather heated coupling while on public transit. The other problem with the smut to me is that the plotline of the story, which was rather clever, seemed to be used as a string on which episodes of the two male characters making love were threaded like pearls.
I honestly don't feel Ms. Sherman contributed very much to this book, and am not looking forward to her next Swordspoint-sequel book. The main reason I am giving this book two stars is because its publication has occasioned a reprinting of Swordspoint, which is a good that makes up for a great deal of banality.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The first part of this book is so promising. I read this not long after my initial encounter with Swordspoint, which I hadn't loved then (it's one of...Read more