The Falcon Throne

The Falcon Throne

The Tarnish Crown, Book One

Book - 2014
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A bastard lord leads a rebellion against his tyrant king -- and must live with the consequences of victory.
A royal widow plots to win her daughter's freedom from the ambitious lords who would control them both.
An orphaned prince sets his eyes on regaining his father's stolen throne.
And two brothers, divided by ambition, will learn that the greater the power, the more dangerous the game.
A masterful tale of the thirst for power and the cost of betrayal. Epic fantasy at its bloodiest, action-packed best.
Publisher: New York : Orbit, c2014
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9780316120081
Branch Call Number: SF MIL
Characteristics: xi, 675 p. :,map ;,25 cm


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Jul 13, 2016

For such a huge book, The Falcon Throne tells quite a tight story. There are the rulers of Clemen and the rulers of Harcia, pitted against each other as tradition dictates, and the people of the Marches caught in the middle. In Clemen, Roric is the new duke navigating his way through power. In Harcia, the longtime duke Aimery struggles with loving his heir, Balfre, and frequently puts his son, Grefin, in a dilemma between obeying his lord and father and being loyal to his older brother. Even the other dramas are quite personal and intense ones–lovers torn apart by others’ political ambition, a young woman trapped in the gilded cage of her rank, an innkeeper protecting her children even from their own pasts.

It sprawls more across time than place. Yes, we ping pong between a few locations, but we stick close to home with main characters–all the better to watch them grow over the passing years. Some characters go from infancy to manhood, others navigate adulthood and power, and both are equally dynamic. It gives everyone a chance to fall and rise in their turn and foil each other even when they rarely, if ever, share a scene.

The Falcon Throne follows the grimdark tradition of very grey characters. Still, you find yourself becoming fond of characters despite their transgressions. Balfre is violent and cruel and despotic, but he has a charisma, and I felt for the long years that he suffered without his father’s approval. Roric does his best to be just and kind, but what else is a man to do but harden when he is caught in the traps of powerful men who seek to control him? I don’t know that I can blame Miller over my own scruples for not being able to find a female character I could really root for. Perhaps there are many readers who took to the witch Izusa, the innkeeper Molly, or the reluctant duchess Lindara more than I did.

For all the 660 pages that came before it, the ending unfolds in a way I certainly would not have guessed. There is certainly still a lot of potential for these characters to possibly wisen and change, or stay the courses these long years have wrought for them. I can absolutely say that what compelled me most was the fascinating cast of characters living and breathing and growing in The Falcon Throne.

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