cover image The Kingdom of Liars

The Kingdom of Liars

Nick Martell. Saga, $27.99 (608p) ISBN 978-1-5344-3778-4

Martell’s taut, clever debut tells of rebellion and regicide in a world where the use of magic comes at the cost of one’s memories. A member of the Kingman family has always served alongside the King of Hollow to keep the royals in check and inspire trust in the commoners, maintaining the uneasy peace between both factions and the rebels beyond the city walls. Then, 10 years ago, David Kingman killed the nine-year-old prince and the Kingman family fell from favor. Now David’s son, Michael, stands accused of killing the King himself. Michael recounts the events that led to his trial, going from a life as a grifter, to becoming a pawn in a political game, to reluctantly working with High Noble Charles Domet to clear his father’s name in exchange for lessons in Fabrication, magical skills that wipe the user’s memory when overused. Martell weaves a large cast into Michael’s world, some sinister—like Dark the Mercenary and the Corrupt Prince—others allies. Though the abundance of characters becomes overwhelming at times, their political maneuvers and varied motivations form a satisfying web. This smart, briskly told high fantasy entertains all the way until the unexpected end. Agent: Joshua Bilmes, JABberwocky. (May)