Perfect for fans of Mark Lawrence and R Scott Bakker, The Court of Broken Knives is the explosive debut by one of grimdark fantasy's most exciting new voices.
Shortlisted for the British Fantasy Award for Best Novel
Shortlisted for the David Gemmell Morningstar Award
It is the richest empire the world has ever known, and it is also doomed--but only one man can see it.
Haunted by prophetic dreams, Orhan has hired a company of soldiers to cross the desert to reach the capital city. Once they enter the palace, they have one mission: kill the emperor, then all those who remain. Only from the ashes can a new empire be built.
The company is a group of good, ordinary soldiers for whom this is a mission like any other. But the strange boy Marith who walks among them is no ordinary soldier. Though he is young, ambitious, and impossibly charming, something dark hides in Marith's past--and in his blood.
Dive into this new fantasy series for readers looking for epic battle scenes, gritty heroes, and blood-soaked revenge.
About the Author
Anna Smith Spark lives in London, UK. She loves grimdark and epic fantasy and historical military fiction. Anna has a BA in Classics, an MA in history and a PhD in English Literature. She has previously been published in the Fortean Times and the poetry website www.greatworks.org.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Court of Broken Knives based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Like Abercrombie crossed with Bakker in a dark Glen Cook world, but with a unique narrative voice. A fast paced whirlwind of grimdarkness.
Following up on the last adult fantasy debut I read, Age of Assassins (which is from the same imprint, interestingly enough), I’m back with another fabulous new read for y’all! The Court of Broken Knives takes readers into the dark, gritty world of Spark’s imagination. Here the title of Queen of Grimdark that I’ve seen the author labeled as truly comes to light. I actually had to look up was grimdark fantasy was because I’d only heart the name in passing but hadn’t really read anything in the sub-genre. And then it all made sense. This book isn’t nice. It isn’t kind. It isn’t all happy magic and saving the day. It’s ruthless. It’s vicious. It’s utterly vile. And I loved all of it. I don’t know what that says about me but… well, this book was beautiful. I think the writing is what captured me the most. Spark has a way with words, and I don’t mean that as a joke. The words are woven in an almost lyrical way that both increases the dark atmosphere while also tempering it enough to make it readable from a morality standpoint. It reminded me a bit of Jay Kristoff’s Nevernight in that sense and it’s the kind of writing that I loved but I know doesn’t work for every reader so if it’s not your thing, this book might not be for you. The story follows four character perspectives, that of a soldier, a prince, a politician, and a priestess. And if you think these characters are heroes then you’re not reading the right book. It’s rare I read a book where there isn’t a “hero” figure and a “villain,” where morals are gray and then some, where the characters have questionable pasts and will do whatever it takes to get what they want. Not to be good guys. Just because they want to. No hidden motives to increase tension. No mysteries to give them something to reveal to the reader. What you see is what you get and I loved it. Truly, these characters didn’t need to be good because they were interesting and I’d take that any day. Then there’s the world-building. Well I mentioned the writing, right? Spark took that writing and brought this world to life with the perfect balance of detail to story. I never felt over- or underwhelmed by the world, nor was I confused by anything. I fell head first into this edgy, gritty world. It’s violent and terrible but I couldn’t put it down. The Court of Broken Knives is not for everyone. You have to know what you’re getting into when you pick up this book and that’s a beautifully crafted new fantasy that will make you question everything you thought you knew. There are no heroes here. There are no villains. There are people and the decisions they make, the journey they take, and the consequences that follow. Get this book on your shelves, y’all!
I bought the book based upon other than "customer" reviews, and I"m not sure what the agenda of the reviewers was. Because I had bought it, I finished it to see where the plot could possibly go. I'm really struggling to find any redeeming qualities to this book--perhaps the descriptions of nature? It's rare that I read a novel and cannot connect to a single character, but such was the case here. I simply did not care what happened to any character, so I have no interest in any sequel. Each character is warped in his or her own way, sexually, emotionally, drug-induced, or whatever. Maybe the human race is as messed up as the author believes, but at times people do seem to exhibit some genuine compassion, love, and care for others without an ulterior motive. But in this book, every character's motive is utilitarian and egocentric. The world created in this series is just not one I want to spend any more time inhabiting. Much is made by reviewers of the combat scenes, but here again, I beg to differ. I've been there, done that, and the combat renditions make no sense. "Kill everyone, friend and foe alike?" Oh, but that's right--no one has a friend. True friendship is another one of those human qualities absent in the characters. This is truly a bleak and unrealistic view of humankind. Followed to its logical conclusion, the series should end with the world devoid of humans with just some happy dragons and seagulls surviving. I'll pass, thank you.