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Rise of the Blood Royal: Volume III of the Destinies of Blood and Stone Hardcover – December 26, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
The chilling conclusion to Newcomb's majestic but sometimes ponderous trilogy (after March into Darkness) suggests that the bloody, centuries-old War of Attrition between the countries Rustannica and Shashida may never end. Evil wizard Gracchus Junius is determined to persuade the impoverished Rustannica Emperor Vespasian, whose magical gifts far exceed those of all other Rustannica wizards combined, to destroy Shashida with banned magic and steal all its gold. Meanwhile, Prince Tristan and Princess Shailiha of the distant country Eutracia, talented magicians destined to end the War of Attrition, are struggling to learn to use the magical substance known as subtle matter and find the subterranean Azure Sea that will take them to Shashida. Those who haven't read earlier installments and the preceding trilogy may feel a bit lost amid the intricate magical systems and large cast, but Newcomb juggles the various plots and people with aplomb. (Dec.)
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PRAISE FOR ROBERT NEWCOMB
The Destinies of Blood and Stone
A March Into Darkness
“[An] epic fantasy saga . . . vividly portrays the ongoing struggle between good and evil. Reminiscent in scope and detail of the works of Terry Goodkind and Robert Jordan.”
“Meticulously plotted action . . . another megafantasy along the lines of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time.”
The Chronicles of Blood and Stone
The Fifth Sorceress
“[Robert Newcomb] springs into fame and literary maturity in a single bound. . . . Tristan is the novel’s main strength, an intriguing and all-too-human hero who becomes a dashing warrior challenging an empire.”
The Gates of Dawn
“Impressive . . . These personifications of light and dark are beautifully and vividly drawn. The intense emotions on both sides are expressed with astuteness and feeling.”
The Scrolls of the Ancients
“Plenty of adventure and magic . . . continues Robert Newcomb’s tradition of mixing adventure with an interesting and well-realized magical world.”
Top customer reviews
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This series was one of the first I read after starting to read a number of fantasy novels and enjoying them. I think the story behind this series is a pretty slick one. And I think this series could have been really good. In fact, if you are not particularly well read in the fantasy genre you very well might think this is a wonderful series. I know I did originally. But then I read a series by Carol Berg, then a series by Juliet Marillier, two series by Jacqueline Carey, and one by Brandon Sanderson. A couple of months ago I sat down and read Patrick Rothfuss' novel "The Name of the Wind." These authors have taken good stories and presented them very well in my humble opinion. They are true wordsmiths. Two days ago I picked up "Rise of the Blood Royal" and read it in a couple hours. I found it to be a hassle to read. I just did not like the way the author told his story. There's lots of rehash of things said and done previously that need not have been repeated throughout. So much is told bluntly instead of things being said whereby I'm expected to pick up on subtle comments and make inferences to follow the storyline. In a way I felt like the author was treating me like a 1st grader and had no confidence in me to understand the story without him drilling it into me.
So much of the first five books are summarized in this book that I almost recommend you read this book before tackling the first five. I'm sure if you read this book first you will be able to plow through the first five really quickly, and then you can reread this 6th book again to get a real solid understanding of the overall story. But if you are looking for a series that is written by a wordsmith and want to slowly turn the pages and digest every paragraph to have fun, then skip this series altogether. You won't find that here. 3 stars!
Vespasian devises a plan with the help of the Vagaries-leaning Pon Q'tar, led by Gracchus Junius, to seize the Shashidan gold mines and strike a deadly blow. He hopes to ultimately overrun Shashida and wipe out the Vigors once and for all. Even with his attention on the homeland, one eye must remain across the Tolenka Mountains and the kingdom of Eutracia.
It is there that Prince Tristan and his twin sister, Shailiha, continue to learn the abilities inherent in their endowed blood as they seek to unite the two sides of the craft --- the Vagaries and the Vigors. Unlike Vespasian, they believe that if either side of the magic world were to be eradicated, the world would suffer dire consequences. Each needs the other, and Tristan, together with his Conclave, seeks to find a way across the Tolenkas so that they may unite with the Shashidans. Such a pathway has proven impossible until a simple twist of fate unveils the existence of subtle matter, which provides them with the answer they need to possibly make their endeavor a success.
Yet all is not well, as a new and savage power has been unleashed by a long-dormant spell. Khristos, the Viper Lord, has risen from a stream in Hartwick Wood. The lover of Coven leader Failee, he does not know that she is dead and begins his march of terror across Eutracia. When Gracchus reaches out to him and gains his trust, the two strike a plan to bring down Tristan and Shailiha and secure the land for the power of the Vagaries.
With this third volume in The Destinies of Blood and Stone, Robert Newcomb has found a solid voice and delivered an outstanding adventure. Within these pages is an astounding imagination and a world that is growing all the more intriguing as readers continue to explore it. He provides exceptional visual references that help bring the world to life and enough new twists and moments of intrigue to keep readers on edge.
The standard characters from the previous books all return here, and their stories continue to lure you in further. Perhaps the strongest addition to the line is Khristos. Part human, part viper, he is driven by his love for the fallen Failee and his sense of revenge. This is all the more interesting as he was also a victim of her power, becoming the monster he is only because she twisted him to her will. His is a story of tragedy, and yet his involvement in this book is bloody and destructive.
Newcomb does a fantastic job in story shift; one chapter sees us within the halls of Emperor Vespasian's court and the other finds us back in Eutracia, watching as Tristan and his companions struggle to answer the riddles that will lead them to victory. Even with the constant shifting and returning, there is never a time when it becomes too much. Newcomb strikes a perfect balance between worlds and keeps you itching to return to the other just as he gives you enough of a thrill to not want to leave where you are.
RISE OF THE BLOOD ROYAL is the strongest work in Newcomb's line. It would be impossible to delve into this tome without first plowing through the previous five titles (the three books that comprise The Chronicles of Blood and Stone, in addition to SAVAGE MESSIAH and A MARCH INTO DARKNESS). That, however, is a trip worth making, especially with this being the current endpoint. It is a deserving reward for those who take up the adventure.
--- Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard