PRAISE FOR THE FALL OF THE KINGS:
"Immensely appealing, intelligent, and great fun."
"The authors tap into fantasy’s genuine source of drama, its ability to haunt, appall, transform."
"Embraces the age-old struggle between scholars and mystics...to bridge the gulf that separates history from mystery."
Fantasy & Science Fiction
"One of the bawdiest and most intellectually stimulating novels of the year!"
"Richly textured...authentic...A fantasy novel that won't insult your intelligence."
Science Fiction Chronicle
"Gorgeous prose and a galloping story, with...a deep understanding of a true scholar's passion for his subject."
Mary Doria Russell, author of The Sparrow
"Stunning...If Oscar Wilde were writing high fantasy, he'd want to write The Fall of the Kings."
Sarah Smith, author of A Citizen of the Country
"Attractive characters, realistically enmeshed in social, political, and personal concerns... realized with a robust depth and realism."
Suzy McKee Charnas, author of My Father's Ghost
"Kushner and Sherman don't spin fables or knit fancies: they are world-forgers, working in a language of iron and air."
Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked and Lost
"The Fall of the Kings is, if possible, even better [than Swordspoint]twistier and deeper."
Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods
"Splendid....one of my favorite books this year!"
Charles de Lint, author of The Onion Girl
"This is how fantasy should be written!...sweeps you in and lets you live the story with the characters."
Lynn Flewelling, author of The Bone Doll's Twin
"A delicious read . . . dark, sexy, and wickedly funny by turns. I loved it. You'll love it too."
Terri Windling, editor of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror
"Ellen Kushner writes like an angel...pellucid, poetically structured prose [and] a gathering sense of tragic reality."
One critic described Ellen Kushner's first novel, Swordspoint, as "the book we might have had if Noel Coward had written a vehicle for Errol Flynn." Such elegant swashbuckling is evident too in The Fall of the Kings, Kushner's new collaboration with former Renaissance specialist Delia Sherman. In this lush, richly woven novel, the meeting of tormented nobleman Lord Theron Campion and Basil St. Cloud, a young university scholar, promises to revive the age of wizardry in a world ill prepared to receive it.
Generations have passed since the nobles rose to power, killing the last king and burning the wizards who served as the king's advisers. When Basil St. Cloud, a professor of ancient history, meets Theron Campion, a young and eccentric nobleman, their passionate relationship brings to light forbidden knowledge about the true history of the last king and the nature of the bond between the king and the land. Set in the same world as Kushner's Swordspoint, this dynamic tale of the twin powers of love and scholarship offers a glimpse into the connection between learning and politics while portraying the lives of individuals poised on the border of myth and reality. Kushner and coauthor Sherman (Through a Brazen Mirror) craft a sensual and evocative tale that should appeal to fans of Tanith Lee and Storm Constantine. Highly recommended for readers of mature fantasy. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Adult/High School-A return to the marvelously complicated world of witty court intrigue and deadly University scandal last seen in Swordspoint (Tor, 1994). Theron Campion, an aristocratic student, is drawn into a controversy about the nature of the ancient kings and the northern wizards. Basil St. Cloud is at the center of this dispute and as his relationship with Campion deepens, he finds that his historical findings have modern, highly political implications. As all scholars know, the kings were corrupt and their wizards were simply charlatans, but St. Cloud has discovered an ancient source that promises something altogether different. However, the Council of Lords becomes aware that the northern-most parts of the country are murmuring for a return to monarchy and, suspecting the University as a source for the discontent, they send a spy to ferret out information. St. Cloud and his students become the focal point for an explosive denouement that is as tragic as it is inevitable. Kings stands on its own in all its intricate, fascinating glory. The characters are fully realized, and some of the secondary ones, like Campion's mother, are so well done that they threaten to steal scenes. Kushner and Sherman inject plenty of humor and bawdiness into their tale, providing grounding for some of the abstruse historical debates. This is high fantasy at its best-literate, passionate, and compelling.-Jody Sharp, Harford County Public Library, MD Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Sequel to 1987's Swordspoint: A Melodrama of Manners, a tale set in an imaginary city that Kushner herself described as "not-quite-equal parts of Elizabethan London, 18th-century Paris, a dash of Regency of both, and even a little New York . . . . " Here, it's 60 years later, in a Renaissance Europe that's not quite the historical Europe. Much earlier, the rocky North and fertile South were joined into one country with a King and Queen. Ivy grew out of the hands of some of the Northern King's 15 wizards when he rode south for the wedding, leading his monstrously uncouth army. Very fanciful stuff, thinks University historian Basil St. Cloud three hundred years later, now that all the kings are long dead and the land kingless. St. Cloud admires kings but the Serpent Chancellor, Lord Arlen, appoints Lord Nicholas Galling to spy on University Northerners who favor installing a new king, drawn from royal blood, over the Council of Lords. The Council has also outlawed all talk of wizards and magic-since magic. . . doesn't exist? If anyone could find the lost Book of the King's Wizards, the spells in it might prove upsetting to the Council. When Basil is bedded by his new student Theron Campion, grandson of the scandalous Mad Duke Tremontaine, he finds tattooed ivy leaves entwining Theron's body, a sign that he's the son of ancient kings. Not that Theron doesn't love the bossy painter Ysaud, who has painted a canvas of him modeling both throat-slit Hilary the Stag and his naked murderer-scandalous Hilary slept with deer in his bedroom instead of his wife. Then Basil buys an old trunk holding old manuscripts, including guess what, and Theron, a student of rhetoric, helps read it. Will wizardryreturn? Theron be king? Are the Serpent Chancellor and Galling closet sweeties? Immensely appealing, intelligent, and great fun.