The Charnel Prince by Greg Keyes
|The Kingoms of Thorn and Bone, the epic fantasy series by Greg Keyes, begins with The Briar King. A rousing adventure in the vein of Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, The Briar King sets the stage with characters such as Sir Neil the knight errant, Cazio the honey-tongued duelist, and Aspar White, the kings holter, and a legend in the old forests.|
The second in the proposed four book series, The Charnel Prince, further flushes out the plot and draws the major players to a convergence to save the rightful Queen of Crotheny, Princess Anne Dare, from an unspeakable evil.
We are also introduced to Leoff the court composer, who is commissioned to create his masterpiece -- an opera that will stir the souls of the people to rise up against their blackguard Prince.
The Charnel Prince is a slight let-down from The Briar King, as not much seems to happen until the end, but it sets up perfectly the epic quest of the third novel in the series, The Blood Knight.
While Keyes may not be redefining epic fantasy, he succeeds in telling a vastly enjoyable story. Without reservation, I would reccomend The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone to all fans of epic fantasy, and especially for those who are looking for something to tide them over until A Dance With Dragons.
Keyes is becoming more popular by the book, and this series looks to be moderately collectible. At some point first editions of The Briar King will certainly be a worthy investment.