The Emperor's Knife [NOOK Book]

Overview

There is a cancer at the heart of the mighty Cerani Empire: a plague that attacks young and old, rich and poor alike. Geometric patterns spread across the skin, until you die in agony, or become a Carrier, doing the bidding of an evil intelligence, the Pattern Master. Anyone showing the tell-tale marks is put to death; that is Emperor Beyon's law...but now the pattern is running over the Emperor's own arms. His body servants have been executed, he ignores his wives, but he is doomed, for soon the pattern will ...
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The Emperor's Knife

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Overview

There is a cancer at the heart of the mighty Cerani Empire: a plague that attacks young and old, rich and poor alike. Geometric patterns spread across the skin, until you die in agony, or become a Carrier, doing the bidding of an evil intelligence, the Pattern Master. Anyone showing the tell-tale marks is put to death; that is Emperor Beyon's law...but now the pattern is running over the Emperor's own arms. His body servants have been executed, he ignores his wives, but he is doomed, for soon the pattern will reach his face. While Beyon's agents scour the land for a cure, Sarmin, the Emperor's only surviving brother, awaits his bride, Mesema, a windreader from the northern plains. Unused to the Imperial Court's stifling protocols and deadly intrigues, Mesema has no one to turn to but an ageing imperial assassin, the Emperor's Knife. As long-planned conspiracies boil over into open violence, the invincible Pattern Master appears from the deep desert. Now only three people stand in his way: a lost prince, a world-weary killer, and a young girl from the steppes who saw a path in a pattern once, among the waving grasses — a path that just might save them all!
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597803854
  • Publisher: Night Shade Books[Start]
  • Publication date: 12/1/2011
  • Series: Tower and Knife
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 244,734
  • File size: 533 KB

Meet the Author

Mazarkis Williams is a writer with roots in both the US and UK, having worked in and been educated in both countries. Each year is divided between Boston and Bristol and a teleport booth is always top of the Christmas wish-list.

Mazarkis has degrees in history and physics with a diverse set of interests accumulated while misspending a hectic youth. Cooking has always been a passion and in addition to feeding six children and a sizable herd of cats Mazarkis regularly caters for crowds of permanently hungry friends.

'The Emperor's Knife' is Mazarkis' first novel.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 193 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(63)

4 Star

(39)

3 Star

(43)

2 Star

(23)

1 Star

(25)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 193 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2012

    3.5

    This one's hard to judge for me. On the one hand, I couldn't put it down and know I'll buy the next one. At the same time, over and over again the character's actions felt forced, too fast. Not that anyone ever acted in a way I didn't think was plausible...eventually. But the change of heart, the bold, brave decision, the sacrafice, whatever usually happened without enough set up. All of a sudden the decision was made without any debate or struggle. It was very frustrating, especially because the first half had felt a bit slow, and the last half tumbled along far too fast to be satisfying or feel like anything but skimming on the surface, only touching the most important parts and ignoring everything that should stitch them together.

    That said, the story and early character development was good enough that, at the end, my overall feeling is that I enjoyed it and want to know what happens next.

    37 out of 43 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 4, 2011

    Gripping novel by a talented new writer

    This novel, set in a fantasy land which could be central Asia before the rise of Islam (but isn't), is peopled by a cast of finely drawn characters who bring the action forward briskly. The writing is taught, the plot not artificially complicated, and, in spite of being fantasy, is logical, one event building securely upon the last. The villain is a disease, and the story unfolds with the action various characters perform, often at odds with one another, in their quest to find a cure or conceal its depredations. The character of Sarmin develops over the story arc, from an inexperienced young man held hostage for years into a -- well you'll see if you read the book. This reviewer is an avid reader, and can recognize good writing. This novel is on a par with Gaiman, Martin and the rest. Williams has hit the bulls eye on his first attempt.

    23 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2013

    Pretty good for fantasy, which is my least favorite genre.

    I really dislike fantasy. I go out of my to avoid any form of fantasy, even comic books. This free Friday book just happened to fall on a week when I was desperate for something to read, did not have time to sort through the freebies and could only dream about purchasing books. So I gritted my teeth, and started to read. I enjoyed every line. What a pleasant surprize. There is nothing to complain about, in this book. Recommended to all readers, ages 14 and up.

    AD

    21 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2012

    Mazarkis is a talented, new author. He brings you into the Deser

    Mazarkis is a talented, new author. He brings you into the Deserts of the Cerani Empire. You follow his characters along their tales as they try to figure out the workings of the Pattern Master. I personally couldn't help but fall deeply in love with all of his characters. His scenes are gripping and vivid. His characters are diverse and creative. I personally cannot wait for the next installment in his series. A great read and worth it.

    21 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 26, 2011

    Gripping and surprising

    I barely came up for air in reading this book. The personalities are so well drawn that the twists of plot (and the reach of disease) feel like they affect the people who are part of your everyday environment. There are moments when I sputtered out loud -- or laughed. I typically read more nonfiction than fiction. I am glad that I picked up this novel for a weekend getaway. I got lost in it. That makes two getaways in one. One tribe in this novel is known as 'the Felt' (as in wool felt), and there is a female Felt character I hope to meet again. As this is billed as the first in a trilogy, I'm thinking my hope might actually be realized. Hope you're listening, Mazarkis!

    14 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 21, 2012

    This was a very interesting book; great story line, good action,

    This was a very interesting book; great story line, good action, and intriguing. Very hard to put down.

    13 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Fifteen years Sarmin has lived in the high tower room, after his

    Fifteen years Sarmin has lived in the high tower room, after his brothers were killed. He receives a visit from his mother telling him she is sending for a Northern Felting woman as his bride. Then a visit from the vizier, Tuvaini, sounding as he is trying to win Prince Sarmin to his cause but decided Sarmin was mad. The few that know Sarmin is alive and hidden away are now turning to hoping he could lead the Empire, now that the King has the marks of the plague; marking him for death, by his law, or to become a Carrier for the Pattern Master, and bore no heir. As tradition, when the King is crowned his younger brothers are put to death by the Emperor's Knife, leaving one King and his son's when he has them as heir - no question or fights for the throne. But Sarmin was saved, foreseen by his mother and the Tower Mage as powerful and going to be needed.

    This is going to be a tough review for me. Not for bad as I liked this read, but I wanted more through out the book. There were hints and mention of gods and the One God. I kind of wanted more information on the One God and Mogyrk church. I know the Cerani turned away from this belief, so not much remains or is known. but also a lot of insinuation through happenings and remarks regarding the pattern magic. I want to better understand it.

    Yet I felt like always in suspense, wanting to know about the Patterns and meanings, or what each character had planned and who would prevail. Then most of all, who is the Pattern Master and his plans. I also wondered and worried about Sarmin and what he was capable to do and how to do it. There is so much underlying in the scenes and conversations to think on.

    The story starts with a prologue of Sarmin witnessing the death of his younger brothers by the blade of the Emperor's Knife, from his tower room. Then we meet the people involved; Mesema, Eyul, King Beyon, Prince Sarmin, Tuvaini, the Empire Mother Nessaket, and a few others. We bring all the people together, each having their own POV and know or see different things of the Patterns or workings of. For the first 20-30 pages I was a little confused as we dive right in and the characters talk vague or double talk/cross each other, leaving me questioning their motives. But not much later I get clarity, of some understanding to what's going on and what they might be up to. I do suggest before starting the book to read the description completely. It will help let you know what you are diving head first into.

    Then the story opened up and started to fit together in my mind. I started to realize the people who were playing the game and game against each other. Once I knew who to "trust" and what to expect from them, it started to make sense.

    I liked the touches of the magic here. We got a touch of the Elemental Mages, neat. I liked the Patterned magic, although I'm still piecing the pieces together on Sarmin's half. And the knife, the Emperor's Knife... I wondered on it and the man with it, but I really liked it and the magic wound around it.

    This is a very good start, debut into the fantasy genre for Mazarkis. I do look forward to continuing this trilogy to see what Mazarkis has in store for Sarmin and Mesema.

    13 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 19, 2012

    Very enjoyable new author

    I am an avid reader and am always on the lookout for new authors in the field and this is one to look forward to. The characters and world building were top notch and I am looking forward to continue reading in this world.

    I would have given five stars but the ending of this first segment was a little trite and I saw it coming from a long way off, but still a very good read.

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2012

    A good read

    I thought it was a pretty good book. It was a little slow getting going but I think it was because of all the characters involved. It was definitely worth the read though.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 18, 2011

    Enjoyable, filled with potential!

    3.9 stars.
    The Emperor's Knife is a good book, but it is not a fantastic book. The best thing about this book is how it gives at least four very different characters enough time and sufficient voice to introduce and explain themselves to us. And you need to understand them if you hope to understand the book.
    Its strongest point has to be the intricate court politics that keeps the reader on tenterhooks as a coup, many years in planning, is finally carried out.
    The Emperor's Knife is Eyul, an assassin chosen in his boyhood because of his inability to take a life out of vengeance. He was given the Knife to wield, to carry out the Emperor's will and only he could ever spill royal blood without damnation.
    In the very first chapter we watch as he carries out a dead king's last command and earns the hatred of two young princes.
    The most intriguing idea that this novel explores is that of a prince kept a prisoner in a high tower (Rapunzel, anyone?) from the day his father dies to his manhood, with only his mother an occasional (if cold and distant) visitor. Sarmin is the spare, kept alive in case something happened to his elder brother, the boy-king - Beyon.
    They live in a land plagued by inexplicable marks that appear suddenly on a body and takes over ones soul.
    In a distant land, in a tribe that prepares to ally itself to Beyon's empire as they ready for a war, the chief's daughter is promised in marriage to the Emperor's brother. But Mesema knows nothing about the patterns that plague the Cerani kingdom, nor of the tradition that demands the lives of young princes when their brother ascends the throne.
    And finally there is Tuivani. A cousin to the Emperor, a keen eyed Vizier, a patriot in his own way and an unwitting tool in the hands of the Pattern Master as he spins a web that will soon unseat Beyon and bring the empire to his own feet.
    Sarmin, Eyul, Tuivani and Mesema are the eyes that tell the tale from their own corners. Sometimes their paths intersect and information is exchanged, but most of the time they are each stumbling around blindly as they try to make best of situations thrust at them.
    Tuivani is the man who kept Sarmin imprisoned most of his life, for he feared that a living brother might have the Emperor's ears more than a distant cousin and adviser could. He whispered the wisdom of keeping the prince segregated in Beyon's ears and Beyon - strong and weak - listened and hated him for it.
    But I couldn't hate Tuivani. Individually the characters are given so much soul, so much complexity that I came away with an odd sense of empathy for each of them.
    Unfortunately, when the characters interacted this wonderful complexity fell short of what it could have been. There were dramatics, but suddenly all the feelings went missing.
    Sarmin and Mesema spent a better part of the book imagining what the other might be like and yet when they did meet, it was a sadly flat union.
    The world created is rather fascinating. The rituals and traditions, intriguing. The magic is curious and divergent, and the palace's wariness of the Tower of the Mages is understandable. But the Tower has kept the empire protected and so it must stand. The Cerani empire is the picture of a once great kingdom rotting and leaning towards its downfall despite the apparent prosperity of the nobility (Think: fall of Rome).
    I'll read the next two installments, of course, though this book stands alone and complete all by itself - the end, ex

    7 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2013

    Wont download

    Getting an error notice about a internal error during license generation

    6 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Intriguingly Twisty, good read

    The Empire, with its capital in the city of Nooria, is the strongest power around. Beyon, the emperor, was brought to power one blood-soaked night when, after the death of his father, all his brothers were killed in order to prevent any problems with the dynasty. Well, all but one ¿ Sarmin was kept alive, as a back-up. It appears that this was a good thing, because there is a terrible disease that is sweeping through the Empire, one marked by patterns appearing on the victim¿s skin. Those who succumb either become mindless and obey the commands of the mysterious Pattern Master, or die a terrible death. And Beyon ¿ is Marked. In the midst of treachery, betrayal, and fighting over power and position, what will happen to the two brothers? Who is the Pattern Master, and what is his ultimate goal? And will anyone survive his terrible plague?

    ¿The Emperor¿s Knife¿ is a very complex and interesting story, a high fantasy with aspects of suspense. The twists and turns just keep on coming and it is impossible to know who to trust or who to believe. The characters¿ development is done very well, and the plot moves quickly from one point of view to another, which at times left me a bit confused. By maintaining careful focus while reading the story, it is possible to keep up with everything, however, and the careful reader is rewarded with many subtle subplots. Fans of high fantasy and the sort of intricate, twisting plots often found in spy novels should enjoy this book.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2013

    Good book

    Not usually into fantasy but this one will keep your interest. :-)

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2013

    A good read!

    A little hard to get into. But once there it holds your attention,left me wondering an then what?

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 3, 2013

    Intriguing fantasy. The characters are very well developed, with

    Intriguing fantasy. The characters are very well developed, with even the "villains" showing emotional depth. I love a book that doesn't stick me with one-dimensional bad guys.

    The use of magic and fantasy is a bit more unique than what you usually see. All in all, I really recommend this to fellow fantasy readers. The story wrapped up nicely, so I'm curious to see where the sequel will take us...

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 26, 2013

    Intriguing storyline, suspenseful and well-composed.

    This author's style is different, and it may take some time to acclimate, but the story makes it well worth the effort.

    The setting is not earth, though parallels can often be glimpsed. Spiritualism and magic weave through the entire tale in ways sometimes unexpected, which keeps the intrigue high. I would not recommend this for pre-adolescents, as the violence can be rather upsetting (though understandable in many instances).

    The plot centers around a kingdom with a king who's not been able to produce an heir, and his younger brother who's been kept alive and hidden from all for several years, a prisoner in the tower. A force that masks itself as a disease threatens to overtake the kingdom, possessing its citizens and marking them with tattoo-like markings. The markings seem to be evidence of the possession, and the king has ordered all those possessing the markings to be killed... until the king finds the markings on his own body, and knows that he is not yet under the control of the force invading his kingdom.

    The Emperor's Knife is the person charged with carrying out the dirtiest deeds required by the king, and the only one allowed to kill one with royal blood. What will happen when the king's infection is revealed? How will the surrounding characters carry on around him? Will either brother be able to seat the throne? Or will the invader succeed in the effort to reign?

    I'm not saying.

    I encourage you to read this work. I found it well worth my time.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2013

    Definitely worth it

    It takes a while to read your way into the characters and actions. The setting is so foreign and strewn with unusual names that you may read the first couple of chapters in confusion. But! The writing style is so delicious, the wording so rich, and in the end, the characters so interesting that the depth of the piece gets to you soon. I could not put it down. One of my favorite reads this year.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2013

    Great story

    I really enjoyed reading this one. It took a while to figure out what was going on but got your interest to keep "turning" the pages to see what was going to happen next. You'll be surprised to find out who is behind it all at the end. Looking forward to reading the next one.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2013

    Good Book

    Once I got a hold on the authors writing style it wasn't at all confusing or hard to read.

    I enjoyed the fact that it was familiar with the ideas of different factions and cultural differences. However it was its own tale and not just a knock off of some other story. I hate it when a popular story gets recycled and slightly altered just so a author can ride on another authors success.

    Could the book been a little smoother? Sure, but it was still a good enough read for me.

    I'm looking forward to reading book two.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    Brilliantly written. A complex and rich fantasy in an almost ara

    Brilliantly written. A complex and rich fantasy in an almost arabian setting. This isn't a hack and slash book but a subtle and passionate work, marvelously crafted.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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