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The Emperor's Knife (Knife-Sworn, Book 1)

Written by Mazarkis Williams

Average Score: 75(7)

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!

Book Details

Hardcover, 352 Pages
Published by Night Shade Books on December 06, 2011
First Published by Quercus in 2011
ISBN-10 1597803847
ISBN-13 978-1597803847


SF Signal | Jessica Strider
Review Rating: 100
A fantastic debut for people who like old school fantasy with a modern feel (think Daniel Abraham).
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Fantasy Literature | Robert Thompson
Review Rating: 80
...The Emperor's Knife as a whole is a very impressive debut by Mazarkis Williams,
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SF Signal | Paul Weimer
Review Rating: 80
An ambitious, sophisticated and thoughtful debut novel that belies its cover.
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SFX | Nic Clarke
Review Rating: 80
...a rich and entertaining storytelling environment, and Williams creates a twisty and enjoyable tale...
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The Wertzone | Adam Whitehead
Review Rating: 80
...a strong fantasy novel with a fresh setting, rich characters and an enjoyable storyline.
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SF Signal | JaymGates
Review Rating: 70
A solid first effort, with a great amount of potential. Looking forward to more.
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sffworld.com | Rob H. Bedford
Review Rating: 40
I appreciate the world building, ambition of the plot, but my difficulties in getting a handle on the characters prevented me from enjoying the novel as much as I hoped.
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