The Justice of Kings

Richard Swan. Orbit, $28 (496p) ISBN 978-0-316-36138-5
Swan (The Art of War Trilogy) launches his Empire of the Wolf series with this riveting but uneven fantasy crime novel. The story is relayed decades after the fact by Helena Sedanka, once the assistant to Justice Sir Konrad Vonvalt, a detective and prosecutor for the Sovan Empire’s Imperial Magistratum. Now an old woman, Helena tells of how Vonvalt’s operation in the village of Rill possibly triggered the Empire’s downfall. Her account begins with Vonvalt penalizing the village dwellers who practice paganism. Though Patria Bartholomew Claver, a devout priest tagging along with Helena and Vonvalt, urges him to burn the villagers on mere suspicions, law-abiding Vonvalt insists on only executing avowed heretics. Along with Vonvalt’s right-hand man, Dubine Bressinger, the group makes for Galen’s Vale next, where they spend much of their time solving the high-profile murder of a lord’s wife—until the disgruntled Claver makes a rash decision. Though the investigative element sparks intrigue as Vonvalt and his team juggle multiple cases, Helena’s direct address to the reader often disrupts the flow and keeps the suspense in check. Still, Swan crafts a strong, dynamic character in Vonvalt, and the whodunit twists will keep readers turning the pages. This promises good things from the series to come. Agent: Harry Illingworth, DHH Agency (U.K.). (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 10/14/2021
Release date: 02/22/2022
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
Compact Disc - 978-1-6686-0781-7
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