The Red Queen’ War, Book One
As the grandson of the Red Queen, Prince Jalan Kendeth lives
a pretty easy life.
Since he’s tenth in
line for the throne, there’s really no danger that he’ll ever have to do
anything like rule or make policy.
Instead, he spends his time gambling and making it his job to visit
every bedchamber in the city.
horror, he was once sent into battle at the Aral Pass.
Somehow, while running away from his scouting
party, he ran into the main battle and managed to acquit himself well, earning
him the title “Hero Of The Aral Pass.”
He’s well aware of who and what he is, does his almost defiant best to
play the fool, is self-deprecating about it, and yet is keenly and
uncomfortably aware that his imposing grandmother knows it, too.
On the morning this story begins, the Red Queen summons all
of her grandchildren to the audience chamber.
Also present are several captives who have tales to tell about the rise
of the Dead King and his armies, both undead and unborn.
One of these, the very picture of a Viking,
called Snorri ver Snagason, tells his story in such a way that it forces even
Jal believe – until the story is done.
free of the audience chamber, Jal tells himself that these stories of far-away
events must be the superstitious imaginings of uneducated foreigners.
Obviously nothing to do with him.
Later, at a performance of the capital’s opera, Jal sees the
Queen’s seer, painting symbols around the opera house.
She’s clearly trying to cast a spell, and it
won’t be pretty.
He manages to escape
through a window, breaking through a symbol that has a physical presence to it.
He hits the ground in shock, because of the spell,
and because of the soulless eyes he saw on an attendee wearing a mask.
In that moment, he believes in the unborn and
the Dead King.
When the spell activates,
it splits into light and dark.
hits Jal, and the dark hits Snorri.
that moment, the two are bound by the spell.
They quickly find that, should they venture too far apart, there are
very physical consequences.
is set on going back north to find what is left of his family after an attack
by the undead, a probable suicide mission, Jal is constrained to follow.
This story takes place in the same Broken Empire that
contained PRINCE OF THORNS
, KING OF THORNS
, and EMPEROR OF THORNS
While it crosses that narrative
once or twice, readers don’t have to have read the first trilogy to enjoy this
I would highly recommend reading the
first trilogy at some point, however, because it is a sterling example of dark
For longtime readers, this
novel begins in a very different tone.
While this first
installment seems to set up Jal as a clown prince, it quickly becomes
Jal does his level best to
behave like the put-out royal, forced out of his palace and onto the road; but
since readers are privy to his thoughts and emotions, we can see that,
underneath it, there is more to him.
The story consists mainly of Jal and Snorri, on the road to
the far north.
This is ideal for new
readers, since Jal has never been outside his home kingdom, and everything
beyond its borders is new to him.
way, a great many people pass in and out of their lives; some of them will be
familiar to longtime readers. In addition, each one is carrying one side of the
spell, a passenger that makes itself known, for good or ill, literally, every
single day of the journey.
This is a
great first book in a new series by a consistently compelling author.
Rating: 8 ½
ISBN# 978-0-425-26878-0 (hardcover – also available in pb)