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The Emperor's Blades
by Brian Staveley
Tor, $16.99, 496pp
Published: August 2014

The Emperor's Blades is the first book in a series by Brian Stavely. This book covers the three stories of Emperor Annur's children, after he is slain.

The Emperor's heir, Kaden, who has spent eight years sequestered in a remote mountain monastery, learning the enigmatic discipline of the monks devoted to the Blank God.

His son, Valyn, who was sent at a young age to train with the Kettrel, elite soldiers who fly into battle on gigantic black Hawks.

His daughter, Adare, still living in the heart of the empire, who is elevated to the station of Minister, in one of the emperor's final acts.

Adare is the only one of the three who knows right off that the Emperor has been assassinated, and believing she knows who murdered her father, wants to see justice done, no matter how it is meted out.

Kaden and Valyn, who are going through their own trials and tribulations, in far off areas of the world, don't find out about their father right away.  Valyn finds out much sooner than Kaden, but after spending eight years training, can't just walk away to alert his brother before he faces the final, brutal test to become a Kettrel. Before he can even get to the test, he has to try to keep from being killed by an unknown assassin or two.

Kaden is being put through some grueling training himself by his new umial, Tan, who seems more torturer than mentor.

On top of this, something sinister is killing goats and monks around the monastery.

There is loads of mystery and intrigue and trickery afoot in this book.

Each of the emperor's children must try to stay alive, find each other and  unmask their father's assassins. All while following the life paths their father set for them, destinies entangled with both ancient enemies and inscrutable gods.

This book is a large volume, and is well written, with good characters.  It's like three separate stories in one, that start to weave together as it reaches its climax. 

I'm looking forward to moving on to the next book in the series, The Providence of Fire. ~~ Dee Astell

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