Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
Four Roads Cross: A Novel of the Craft Sequence Hardcover – July 26, 2016
|New from||Used from|
Discover Memorable Fiction Books
AbeBooks.com, an Amazon Company, recommends a unique list of must-read books. Learn More on AbeBooks.com.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
“Enthralling.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review, on Last First Snow
“Elegant and ferocious.” ―Daniel José Older, author of Half Resurrection Blues, on Last First Snow
“Brilliant, elegant, epic, astonishing, smart, gritty…. Last First Snow is another wondrous visit to the fantastic world of the Craft Sequence.” ―Ken Liu, author of The Grace of Kings
“Gladstone gives us wonderfully relevant bits and pieces of the modern world, turned upside-down and inside-out and garnished with skeleton kings, serpent gods, and lawyer-magicians. It's glorious.” ―Django Wexler, author of The Thousand Names, on Last First Snow
“I'm having Max Gladstone killed. He's too good already to be allowed to live. If this is early work, the rest of us are out of a job.” ―Elizabeth Bear on Full Fathom Five
“Gladstone packs more ideas into a chapter than most writers manage in a full novel.” ―Brian Staveley on Full Fathom Five
“Newcomers and fans of the series alike will enjoy the mystery, demon-caused mayhem and fast-moving plot in this stellar, engaging read.” ―RT Book Reviews, 4 ½ stars, on Two Serpents Rise
About the Author
MAX GLADSTONE went to Yale, where he wrote a short story that became a finalist in the Writers of the Future competition. He is the author of the Craft Sequence: Three Parts Dead, Two Serpents Rise, Full Fathom Five, Last First Snow, and Four Roads Cross. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The main conflict relates to business contracts, loans, and so forth. The god Kos, whose city is Alt Coulomb, and his stability guarantee financial transactions worldwide. I'm not great at explaining the details here, and maybe that is because I only got to read this book in 10-15 minute chunks over a period of several weeks. Kos's stability is viewed as threatened since he is helping the goddess Seril, recently returned from the dead. Seril is a liability for Kos and Tara and friends are tasked with proving Kos can handle his obligations.
This doesn't sound very exciting, but the author manages to put a human side on the story. One way Seril can gain power is to have worshippers, and through the story of some folks who run stalls in a local market, we learn about how that worship takes root in the city. The families of the merchants don't interact much with the main, Craft-based storyline, but they are sympathetic and the individuals (at least some of them) are fairly well-fleshed out for minor characters.
I don't feel like we learn much more about the main, named characters, but they are familiar and friendly faces after several intervening books that introduced new characters, and there are a few nuances added. There are quite a few references to Tara's student loans, and at first I just thought this was a minor detail relating to the fact that she's not making much money working for the Church of Kos, but it actually becomes a plot point at the end. So pay attention to the references to Tara's schooling. Anyway, I thought character development in this book was appropriate for its place in the overall series.
There's not a ton of worldbuilding to be done here. We've already been in Alt Coulomb, we've already been inside the Church of Kos, we already know of the Blacksuits who are agents of Justice. We have seen some other Craft-related deals go down in other books so the author is slowly building up a set of rules. I found it a bit odd that sabotage of the other side is a technique allowed in court (at least, it seems that is what is going down near the end). The setting is much like urban fantasy except that it's not in our world. There are means of travel over long distances that are not magical (maybe you're hanging in a compartment under a dragon instead of taking an airplane), there are hospitals described in a way that makes them seem modern, there are huge container ships, etc.
The writing style fits the world. I feel like -- in this and in past Craft Sequence novels -- the language is suitably contemporary while trying to avoid references to at least major geographical places, people, etc. that exist in the actual world. I hope that makes sense. Anyway, it fits the scene that's been set pretty well.
The one aspect that is really keeping me from giving this the full five stars is the demon infestation (well, there are a lot of them). I'm still a bit confused as to why so many have come from their place of origin. One attacks a goddess far away from Alt Coulomb. Many hide in people who are thought to be zombies (essentially people who have given away enough of their souls to get out of debt, but who then have to do menial labor, or perhaps I have the order of things reversed; at any rate, they're not the sort of horror-novel zombies that go after the living). Some show up in Alt Coulomb. Although I feel like the incidents with demons are tied together nicely, I also kind of feel like the concept was introduced a bit too late in the game to fit well into the overall story.
Overall, though, this volume did a much better job of melding business details and real people's lives than the past book, and I look forward to reading more set in this world!
Four Roads Cross is a direct sequel to Three Parts Dead and returns to Alt Coulumb and Tara Abernathy. Unlike the other books of the series, it’s not really one you can read as a stand alone. You need to at least have read Three Parts Dead, although I’d suggest reading Last First Snow and Two Serpents Rise as well. This review will contain some unavoidable spoilers for Three Parts Dead.
Four Roads Cross starts soon after the end of Three Parts Dead but mostly takes place a year later, when news of Seril’s revival begins to spread. This creates problems, for Kos’s creditors see Seril as an off the books liability. If creditors lose faith in Kos, the magic based world economy would be severely damaged. So the creditors are plotting a hostile take over, and it’s up to Tara and her allies to stop them and save, Seril, Kos, and Alt Coulumb.
If you’re already familiar with Three Parts Dead and the Craft Sequence, do I really need to keep singing the praises of this series? The amazing world building, awesome female characters, genre mixing… you would already know all about it. Instead I’m going to focus on how Four Roads Cross builds upon Three Parts Dead.
“You’re a master of the universe. Congratulations. I thought I wanted that, too. Turns out I didn’t.”
While I don’t think Tara was necessarily underdeveloped in Three Parts Dead, I got a much better feel for her in this book. She’s gone against every path and expectation for craftswomen, and she’s now working directly for a goddess. She’s also someone with immense courage and perseverance, who’ll never give up and always keep fighting. However, she doesn’t always realize that she doesn’t have to fight on her own. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to admit that you’re not invulnerable. That’s why she has friends.
“Time’s one jewel with many facets. Tara leaned against the desk. A year ago she stood in a graveyard beneath a starry sky, and the people of her hometown approached her with pitchforks and knives and torches and murder in mind, all because she’d tried to show them the world was bigger than they thought.
Admittedly, there might have been a way to show them that didn’t involve zombies.”
Additionally, I think Gladstone’s prose has been steadily improving over the course of the series. Again, it’s not like Three Parts Dead was badly written, but Four Roads Cross just feels like it’s at a whole other level. Gladstone’s prose becomes beautiful as well as effective, painting a vivid portrait of Alt Coulumb and our central cast.
If this book has one fault, it’s that I think the pacing slows down too much in the second half. There’s some scenes involving a trip to another setting that felt like they dragged somewhat, although on the other hand I could see how they were important for Tara’s characterization and some of the thematic material.
But overall, I just really loved this book. It’s an excellent installment in an excellent series.
There are cameos and nods across the rest of the series, making this feel somewhat like a season finale, and what a great ride it is.
Dig into action, debate Craft and ethics, theology and family. And marvel at the world.
It seems almost wrong to say it, but I kept thinking as I was reading that this reminded me so much of the late Sir Terry Pratchett. I can't think of another writer who infuses this much wit, absurdity, and fun into a story about the issues of modern society.
Five stars without hesitation. I can't wait for Six Feet Over!