- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Ace; First Edition edition (October 13, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0399176977
- ISBN-13: 978-0399176975
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 77 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #717,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The King's Justice Hardcover – October 13, 2015
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“Skillfully crafted characters...Readers who enjoyed the complex characters and layered plots of his Thomas Covenant novels will find similar pleasures in these two tales.”—Publishers Weekly
Praise for the Thomas Covenant Chronicles
“[A] landmark fantasy saga.”—Entertainment Weekly
“A trilogy of remarkable scope and sophistication.”—Los Angeles Times
“The most original fantasy since The Lord of the Rings.”—Time Out
“I don’t think books like this come along more than a few times in a lifetime.”—Marion Zimmer Bradley
“Will certainly find a place on the small list of true classics.”—The Washington Post Book World
“Covenant is Donaldson’s genius.”—The Village Voice
About the Author
Stephen R. Donaldson is the author of the The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, a landmark in modern fantasy. Every volume, beginning with Lord Foul's Bane in 1977, has been an international bestseller. Donaldson returned to the series with The Runes of the Earth in 2004, and completed it with The Last Dark in 2013. He lives in New Mexico.
Top customer reviews
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As with any Donaldson work, it is hard to name specifics without giving away plot points, but I will say that I enjoyed the second novella, the Augur's Gambit, a bit more than the first, the King's Justice. The Augur's Gambit concerns high drama involving a Queen attempting to divert preordained disaster on an isolated island nation; the King's Justice follows a man named Black investigating deeds most foul.
The pacing of both works was excellent, and the writing by Donaldson is always of the highest quality. In both cases, I could not help but turn the page to find out what was coming next. The characters are well developed, there are the typical twists and turns that embody any Donaldson work, and the language is, as always, beautiful. No other author has me turning the page with the same level of transcendent eagerness. My only critique, and it is a nitpick, is that the King's Justice is written in present tense; I found this distracting, but I am quite certain Donaldson had valid reasons for writing it this way. It does not take away from the story in any way, but it did make my personal reading mechanics a bit more difficult.
I really liked both of these stories and recommend them to any reader, especially the Donaldson fan.
The first novella is The Kings Justice, the tale of a stranger called Black who is drawn to combat evil. Black is gifted, through his shaping, to compel people and thus is able to follow the scent of evil. He is not a happy man, nor proud, nor engaging. But as you learn more about him it becomes clear that he is a man of many talents, and secrets, and in his own way, a heart.
The Augur's Gambit it's a completely different tale, with the gifted Hieronomer to the Queen Indemnie, Mayhew Gordian, tasked with determining the doom that is headed to the secluded island nation. This rather timid man must reach beyond his fears and crafts a rather daring and unheard of plan to prevent the total destruction or enslavement of the people of Indemnie.
Loved both novellas, and admire Donaldson's ability to make the short story feel like a novel. His use of language is beautiful and requires the reader to slow down and think about it. I just want more!
The characters are unique (I am particularly find of Inimica Phlegathon deVry, somewhat like a female King Joyse from Mordant's Need with a lot more spine) and the stories are unpredictable. If you liked the last chronicles of Thomas Covenant, you'll enjoy this. It reminds me most strongly of Mordant's Need and his first short story collection, though the character of Black does remind me a bit of Reave the Just. Recommended.
The King's Justice is the first of two novellas in this book. The fellow on the cover is Black, the protagonist. As the story opens, it's clear he's on a mission for his king. It's also clear, as he approaches the village of Settle's Crossways, that he has the power to encourage people to help him and give him information they might otherwise have kept to themselves. And information is what Black is after, for an evil has wormed its way into the fabric of Settle's Crossways, and it's Black's job to set things right for the king -- no matter what it takes.
This story is written in present tense -- a departure from Donaldson's other work, but it's necessary, I think, for the theme of the story. Black lives his life in the present. He doesn't think about his life before he was employed by the king -- or what was done to him so he could do this job -- and he certainly doesn't think about the future.
Some Goodreads reviewers have complained about the gore in this story. There's one tough scene, and it's mild compared to the GAP books (and very mild compared to some battle scenes I've read by other fantasy authors).
The second novella is The Augur's Gambit, and I've been waiting to hear the ending of this story ever since I heard Donaldson read the beginning few pages at the World Fantasy Convention last year. Our hero here is Mayhew Gordian, hieronomer to the queen of Indemnie, Inimica Phlegathon deVry the Fourth. And his plight is a gordian knot indeed, for he learns that his queen has proposed marriage to each of her barons, including the married ones, in an effort to discover which of them is plotting against her. But that's not all. Besides Indemnie's internal intrigue, another power threatens the island nation from across the sea. Gordian has read the entrails countless times, but he does not know the outcome of either dilemma. And he's beset by a personal problem, as well -- his attraction to the queen's daughter, Excrucia Phlegathon deVry. (Yes, that's right -- the love interest is named Excrucia.)
The story seems much in the model of Donaldson's Mordant's Need series -- high fantasy, with an inscrutable ruler, grasping barons, and at least one unexpected plot twist. I enjoyed those, and I enjoyed this story, as well.
I'd recommend any of Donaldson's books, of course. But if you're new to his writing, this volume is a good way to sample his style before committing to a series.
Originally published at Rursday Reads.