The Skewed Throne

( 8 )


One young girl holds the fate of a city in her hands-If she fails, it spells her doom-and the end of her world.

Twice in the history of the city of Amenkor, the White Fire had swept over the land. Over a thousand years ago it came from the east, covering the entire city, touching everyone, leaving them unburned-but bringing madness in its wake, a madness that only ended with the death of the ruling Mistress of the city. Five years ago the Fire came again, and Amenkor has been ...

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The Skewed Throne

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One young girl holds the fate of a city in her hands-If she fails, it spells her doom-and the end of her world.

Twice in the history of the city of Amenkor, the White Fire had swept over the land. Over a thousand years ago it came from the east, covering the entire city, touching everyone, leaving them unburned-but bringing madness in its wake, a madness that only ended with the death of the ruling Mistress of the city. Five years ago the Fire came again, and Amenkor has been spiraling into ruin ever since. The city's only hope rests in the hands of a young girl, Varis, who has taught herself the art of survival and has been trained in the ways of the assassin. Venturing deep into the heart of Amenkor, Varis will face her harshest challenges and greatest opportunities. And it is here that she will either find her destiny-or meet her doom.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Compelling...[a] highly promising first novel." - Locus
"Intense...succeeds admirably." - Publishers Weekly
"Keeps the reader on edge." - Richmond Times-Dispatch
Publishers Weekly
Power without control breeds a madness just as deadly as an empty stomach. That's the key message in Palmatier's intense fantasy debut set in the decadent, crumbling city of Amenkor. Palmatier succeeds admirably in passionate, if simplistic, prose to sketch a heartfelt portrait of Varis, a girl gifted with the supernatural ability to see innocence in gray and guilt in red after an unearthly fire sweeps through Amenkor for the second time, leaving insanity, illness and deadly change in its wake. Orphaned at six after her mother's murder, Varis learns to survive by her wits in the Dredge, the market street outside Amenkor's slums. As a young teen, she develops a knack for murder and thievery that attracts Erick, a royal guardsman who kills anyone the ruling Mistress wants eliminated. Due to her street smarts, Varis eventually escapes the Dredge to work as a bodyguard for a wealthy trader, only to realize that she can't escape the mysterious destiny awaiting her within Amenkor's "skewed throne." This solid, earnest effort will especially appeal to young adults. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780756403829
  • Publisher: DAW
  • Publication date: 11/7/2006
  • Series: Throne of Amenkor Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 1,213,051
  • Product dimensions: 4.44 (w) x 6.78 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

Joshua Palmatier was born in PA, but now resides in NY. Palmatier started writing SF and Fantasy novels and short stories in eighth grade, and hasn't stopped writing since, mainly focusing on novels. He can be found at

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2012

    Boring hate that i paid for it!!

    Honestly after reading the reviews wanted to read something exciting about a female assassin (thats how it seemed) so disappointed... it goes on for too long about nonsense of her seeing ppl in gray and red and then skips to a mistress being assassinated and then back its confusing and it may make sense at the end but i couldnt force myself to get that far. It should be a free book if anything wouldnt have wasted the money. And it actually became a series.. wow it felt like the author was trying too hard to be different and doesnt really say where it takes place (state or country) its terrible.

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  • Posted June 28, 2009

    A Gripping Tale

    Some stories grip you right from the start and never let go until the book is done and "The Skewed Throne" by Joshua Palmatier is one of those. I found myself reading this novel at every possible moment I could spare, right up until the last word. When the book was completed my only regret was not having more to read.

    The story is a great tale about a young girl Varis, surviving on only what food she can steal in an extremely harsh city of Amenkor. Varis has an amazing way of seeing the true nature of people. She comes to work for some powerful individuals who help her move from petty thief on the streets to bodyguard and lethal assassin. Her growth as a character, from the frail youth to the hardened young adult, is a result of both her environment and her own decisions.

    I've read very few books were a female is the MC, and so her emotional reactions initially through me off, not because they were poorly written, but because I'm not used to them. For a young woman with a difficult life her reactions now seem quite appropriate.

    Overall, the story was fantastic, and I'm about to sink my teeth into the next installments "The Cracked Throne" and then "The Vacant Throne."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2007

    One of the Best First books by an author EVER

    If you read any kind of fantasy, you MUST read The Skewed Throne. It pulls you in so that you are part of it from the very first paragraph. It is so different and fascinating that you won't put it down. Run, don't walk to go and buy this book! And book 2 The Cracked Throne

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2008

    Great Intro to the series!

    The Skewed Throne is a fantasy book about a young girl, Varis, who is struggling to survive in the seedy side of town and who is 'gifted' with a special empath-like power. She is eventually hired to be a royal assassin, and encounters some serious delima's when her powers prove to her that not every target is as evil as she is led to believe. I definitely don't want to spoil the book, so that is about all you'll get from me! Great plot line, fantastic characterization, and a wonderful style really made this an engaging and captivating read. This is not the typical fantasy-style story: no magic sword appears to save the day, no Evil Dark Lord is the definitive end-all-be-all to the evil in the world, no dragons...aside from from Varis' empath-like ability and the white fire, it is a pretty normal world, actually 'normal as a medival fictional world ruled by...well, never mind. You get my drift'. Quite a relief form the excessive amounts of Dragons and Young Farm Boys Cum Magical Super Knight Extreame, in my opinion. I suppose this is the anti-High Fantasy 'does that make it low-fantasy?' book of choise. Regardless, I greatly enjoyed it, and loved the writing style of the author. The beginning can be a little slow 'It is by no means boring, but you also aren't dropped into the middle of the action and subjected to explanatory flashbacks either.', but it has a strong story and interesting world, and the cover art is not my ideal, but aside from these minor things, the book is a great read. Be aware, this is the beginning of a series, so not everything is neatly solved by the end, which does not make it a great stand alone book. I am really looking forward to continuing the series, and really recommend it to anyone looking to try a new author, or to anyone just looking for a good book to curl up with!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2007

    a good read

    Varis is a young girl who considers herself 'gutterscum.' The majority of her childhood was spent as a street orphan, learning to steal to survive. Home is a place called the Dredge, the slums on the outskirts of a once prosperous city called Amenkor. On a daily basis, Varis witnesses unspeakable crimes and actions by others who are fighting to survive, much like she is herself. One day, she meets a seeker named Erick. Erick works directly for the mistress, and when she says someone needs to die, that person is sought out and killed. Erick enlists the help of Varis, to help him find these marks and ultimately despise of them. Through this job of sorts, Varis continues to hone her survival skills, and add some new skills to her growing list. Eventually things take a turn for the worse, and Varis flees the Dredge, leaving behind the only place she has ever known. Once in Amenkor, Varis is faced with surviving in a whole new world. After seeing her fighting skills at their best, a wealthy merchant hires Varis as his personal bodyguard. Through this man, Varis finds a sense of belonging, and realizes that there is a greater purpose to her life than she originally thought. The mistress isn't at her best mentally, and eventually Varis finds herself in a situation she never imagined possible. I don't want to give away anymore than that. This is one of those books that's tough to summarize in a few sentences. While its not an overly complicated plot, there is quite a bit to it, and I just covered the basis. While the plot kept me interested, what really drew me into the book was Varis herself. Joshua Palmatier, the author, has created a strong female heroine in this story, and you can't help but come to admire her. Admiration aside, Palmatier also captures a wide range of human emotions in Varis everything from lonliness and fear, to acceptance and love. To me, that's what makes a good story. It takes more than a good plot line, you need to feel like you're right there with the characters, and in this book I did. If you like fantasy, go get this book. If you don't like fantasy, go get this book. While it is labeled in the sci-fi/fantasy genre, its not just that. It's a story of survival and human emotion of coming to terms with yourself as a human being..there's a lot to it, and its very well written. It's also the first in a trilogy, so there are two more that you can read when you're done.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2007

    Great New Voice

    I really enjoyed this book. I think he captures desperation, brutality, and hope in the character of Varis. I also think he did a good job of making Varis a dynamic character. She isn't static. She changes. He even manages to give her a code of honor. I respect Palmatier a lot for that. It's easy to give such a code to a hero that lives in a nice world, even harder when that hero is 'gutterscum'. The fight scenes are superb and the aftermath of each time this character kills is very well done. It's not often the hero takes a hard look at what he or she has done and why. Palmatier has created a vibrant, living setting in the Dredge. But it doesn't stop there. The people who populate this world add so much to his narrative. I also find his use of magic to be wholly imaginative. I hope he takes this as a compliment, but I was somewhat reminded of Dune's Paul Atreides' use of future sight. Except here, Varis is far more practical and visceral.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2006


    This is good. Really good. And it isn't like much of the derivative fantasy out there. By that, I'm talking about the dumb farm boy, who gets the talisman/sword from the wise old man, to defeat the Dark Lord of Wherever. Now if you do go for that derivative fantasy, don't let it get you down. Expand your horizons and go for something different like this book. Focus is on one character: a close to pubery girl named Varis who lost her mother at a very young age and has become something of a thief in the seedy districts of the city. She also has a special empath-like power that lets her see into the souls of strangers and gauge if they're good or evil. Look for a great deal of emphasis on how she steals food (i.e. distracts some merchant while taking a piece of fruit) as well as how she deals with hunger and loss. The first sign of affection from someone nearly makes her burst into tears and this is one of the strong points of the character. Rarely do such complex characters exist in fantasy tales. Partway through the tale, Varis is hired by a royal assassin to find people for him, and, a bit later, kill people for him. All come through order of the Skewed Throne, a magical seat which is controlled by a queen of sorts, who wields a great power to control the magical fluxuations. Think of the Skewed Throne like some great magical item of mystery. Moral issues arise as Varis discovers some of the intended targets of execution are not evil. Moreoever, matters become more twisted when her mentor lets a competitor-thief boy get training and his heart is very dark. Through a series of events, Varis goes into hiding and becomes a bodyguard for a rich merchant. Don't be fooled by her small size, though, her mentor trained her to be deadly with a knife. People thinking she is weak works to her advantage. However, the intrigue is just getting worse and it all ties into the Skewed Throne. Look for a great deal of focus on the main character's stifled social skills as well as what it was really like to be a thief on the verge of starvation. Deep themes of belonging and doing the right thing are also apparent.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    fine fantasy

    One thousand years ago, the great and powerful and socially enlightened city of Amenkor was caught in the White Fire, a phenomenon that didn¿t change immediately change things but soon famine, disease, and madness slowly infested the land. The city was slowly able to bounce back until five years ago when the White Fire returned and this time the people are in dire straights. --- Varis, a child of the slums, grows up to become a tracker and spy for a guard who obeys The Mistress sitting on THE SKEWED THRONE. Varis has a special sense that allows her to see people in grays (those who are good) and reds (those who would do harm) so she knows that the Seeker guard Erick is hiring people who commit crimes and kill. When she is sick of her role, she flees into the heart of the city where she saves the life of a merchant targeted by an assassin. He hires her and they soon learn that with the famine wide spread there is a dangerous cabal of merchants that are gathering all the goods that would be needed over the winter so they can sell them for a huge profit. The Mistress won¿t listen to her people who need her to take control and save what is left of Amenkor so desperate people try to shake the political structure of the city. --- The heroine is the main reason THE SKEWED THRONE is such an interesting fantasy. She goes from a slum child struggling to survive to an adult with a strong sense of morality. She sees what she had done in her past and tries to become a better person in the present. She is stubborn and loyal in a place where people behave dishonorably. The very survival of her city forces her to do something she finds abhorrent. Readers are treated to a realm in flux where one person¿s actions can make a difference. This is a fine fantasy that readers will enjoy immensely. --- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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