Gates of Stone

Angus Macallan. Ace, $16 trade paper (544p) ISBN 978-0-451-49027-8
Initially unlikable yet nuanced characters pursue power or seek to save the world in this middling fantasy novel. When Katerina’s father denies her right to succeed him as emperor because of her gender, the cunning princess murders the prince she’s married off to and seeks her own path to power and glory. This theme of oppression breeding villainous motives recurs in the sorcerer, Mangku, who attacks the small kingdom of Taman and massacres the palace to steal a magical kris, one of the Seven Keys of the Earth. Only the arrogant prince Jun survives and, through the guidance of an elderly servant, is roused to pursue Mangku and reclaim the kris. Political machinations surrounding the wealth gained by trading narcotic obat in the Laut Basar region realistically bring together a variety of cultures recognizably based on those found in China and India, among others. Some incidents of gratuitous sexual violence are off-putting, but Macallan (the Outlaw Chronicles, as Angus Donald) provides steady plot momentum and thrilling battles that pull the reader through to the satisfying conclusion. Agent: Ian Drury, Sheil Land Assoc. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 01/03/2019
Release date: 02/19/2019
Genre: Fiction
Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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