Name:The Falcon Throne
Author: Karen Miller
Number of Pages: 720 (Paperback)
Published: 9th June 2015 by Orbit
Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
In the distant past, the Kingdom of Harcia was torn apart by royal brothers who could not accept a lesser inheritance. Now, the consequences of their actions are coming to light.
Balfre, son of Aimery, Duke of Harcia, is his father’s heir. But he has dreams of a crown, not a coronet. He dreams himself the king of a Harcia re-united, but his brother Grefin, their father’s favorite, stands in his way.
Harald, debauched Duke of neighboring Clemen, is feared and despised by his nobles. He thinks he can trust his bastard-born cousin Roric … but Roric fears for the duchy and will do what he must to save it.
And caught between dangers is Harald’s infant son, Liam. Stolen by his nurse, vanished into the lawless Marches, he is the spark that will grow to set the world on fire. – from Goodreads
During my reading time over the last couple of weeks I’ve been completely lost within the world of the Falcon Throne, and what a world Karen Miller has created in this epic fantasy novel.
The narrative centres on the fortunes of two duchies, Clemen and Harcia, between whom there exists a tentative peace.
In Harcia, Duke Aimery is concerned about the prospects for future peace in the event of his eventual demise, for his firstborn son and heir Balfre is ruthless, calculating and scheming, with aspirations to step up not only as the new duke but to eventually become king. Balfre is tough, brutal and definitely one for trouble, and his father’s ongoing state of health irks him greatly, as does his apparent favouring of his other son, Grefin who is named Steward of the Green Isle in Balfre’s place. Grefin is a complete contrast to Balfre; he is a family man and more level headed than his wayward brother, with a strong sense of loyalty.
For Clemen stands Duke Harald, a man whose misguided notions lead his people to an act of treason which ends in his downfall. In his place comes Roric, a bastard of the right bloodline. Roric is a great conflicted character; forced to choose between his own desires and the wishes of his closest advisors, he’s a reluctant duke, assuming the title after the unanticipated murder of Harald’s baby son Liam. Tormented with guilt Roric tries to do the best he can and his joys and tragedies really made this story. His enforced marriage to Lindara, daughter of his foster-father Humbert, and the sad results of a match made for a strong alliance instead of love is quite tragic. Roric does his duty rather than follow his heart, which lies across the sea with Catrain, future duchess of Ardenn, who is trapped by another group of powerful men after her mother’s attempt to marry her to Roric is exposed.
The Falcon Throne is a tangled web of plotting, intrigue, hidden identity, thwarted love and power plays across the borders of a troubled land. There are many more storylines weaved into this epic tale than I’ve mentioned here, and other characters worth an honorary mention include Molly, a Marcher woman in charge of the Pig Whistle Inn, which stands in land common to both duchies and is often a centre point of the tale, and Willem, a young boy who arrives at the Pig Whistle hiding a great secret. I really liked Willem’s friendship with Molly’s son Benedikt, and the way they came to think of each other as brothers.
Vidar – scarred and wounded in previous battles – is loyal to Roric and Clemen, but suffers many miseries in the name of supporting his duchy and I really liked him as a character.
Izusa is a witch from afar who has grand designs and plays to make based on the whims of her master, whose intent and motives are mysterious and will hopefully be developed further in the next book.
I can’t wait to get back into this world in another Tarnished Crown novel. I lived and loved each and every page. I hope to find out more about Catrain and Roric, and so many of the other characters I came to know so well in the 700+ pages of this fantasy novel. One word of caution – the tale is set in dangerous times, so becoming too attached to certain characters may not be the best idea!
I read this book as part of my R.I.P X Readathon