- Tyrant’s Throne (Greatcoats #4).
- Sebastien de Castell.
- 608 pages.
- Fantasy / Epic Fantasy / High Fantasy.
- My rating: Hell Yeah Book Review.
Would you – could you? – uphold the law at the cost of those you love?
After years of struggle and sacrifice, Falcio val Mond, First Cantor of the Greatcoats, is on the brink of fulfilling his dead King’s dream: Aline, the King’s daughter, is about to take the throne and restore the rule of law once and for all.
But for the Greatcoats, nothing is ever that simple. In the neighbouring country of Avares, an enigmatic new warlord is uniting the barbarian armies which have long plagued Tristia’s borders – and even worse, he is rumoured to have a new ally: Trin, who’s twice tried to kill Aline to take the throne for herself. With the armies of Avares at her back, she’ll be unstoppable.
Falcio, Kest and Brasti race north to stop her, but in those cold and treacherous climes they discover something altogether different, and far more dangerous: a new player is planning to take the throne of Tristia, and the Greatcoats, for all their skill, may not be able to stop him.
As the nobles of Tristia and even the Greatcoats themselves fight over who should rule, the Warlord of Avares threatens to invade. It is going to fall to Falcio to render the one verdict he cannot bring himself to decide: does he crown the girl he vowed to put on the throne, or uphold the laws he swore to serve?
I received a free copy of the book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Tyrant’s Throne is the fourth and final book in The Greatcoats quartet.
Taking place directly after the events that transpired at the close of the previous book (Saint’s Blood) we are in sight of the end, near the culmination of everything that has come before. Falcio val Mond, the First Cantor of The Greatcoats is finally within reach of achieving his dead King’s dream.
Aline, the long lost daughter of dead King Paelis, his ‘charoite‘ is on the verge of taking the throne and thus, restoring peace and law throughout the land of Tristia. Alas, we all know by now that nothing is ever ‘that easy‘ for poor old Falcio and before Aline can be crowned, news arrives from a neighbouring country (Avares) that someone is uniting the separate barbarian armies into one gigantic Warband with the obvious intent of invading Tristia. Aiding them is the evil and nefarious Trin, arch-rival to Falcio she has caused him and The Greatcoats nothing but pain and suffering in the past.
With orders to stop her, Falcio, Kest and Brasti travel to Avares, where they find a greater threat than Trin awaiting them, will our heroes once again be able to overcome the odds and save Tristia one last time??
Hopeless causes tend to end in blood and tears, but they do give opportunities for a good line here or there.
I grinned. ‘Just watch me.’
And so my friends, we come to the end of The Greatcoats, with the final book in a series there is always excitement but it is an excitement tempered by a slight trepidation about how it will all play out, whether or not the book will live up to our expectations, will it exceed what we expect or sadly fail to deliver that killer finale we are all hoping for.
Brasti jumped to his feet. ‘I have an idea.’
No good has ever come from those four words coming out of that particular mouth.
Upon starting Tyrant’s Throne you are left with a feeling of melancholy as you know that you are reading about these characters for the last time. You have spent years and pages with them, travelling together on an arduous journey over countless miles and you know that the time spent together, with every page being turned is drawing steadily to a close.
Tyrant’s Throne had some big shoes to fill following on from Saint’s Blood which was the best book in the series, notice that I said ‘was‘ because now that accolade deservedly goes to Tyrant’s Throne. De Castell has achieved an extraordinary feat with The Greatcoats, managing to improve on each previous book. When you think back and remember how good the first book, Traitor’s Blade was you realise that you have been part of one wonderful and unforgettable journey.
I’m not going to delve deep into the story contained within the pages of Tyrant’s Throne, it is simply the culmination of the previous three books and I refuse to spoil that for you, believing that this is a fantasy series that any self-respecting fantasy fan should read, hell, even if you don’t like fantasy you should give this ago, the saying goes that ‘variety is the spice of life‘ and I am sure that book lovers regardless of their favoured genre will all find something to like in The Greatcoats!
Luckily de Castell doesn’t leave us hanging, loose ends are tied up and we finally get to learn the answers to questions that have plagued us throughout the entire series, how did Falcio beat Kest to become First Cantor of The Greatcoats? How did Kest become the Saint of Swords? What were the last commands of King Paelis? And perhaps the most pressing question of all, what happened to the missing Greatcoats?
Tyrant’s Throne like the rest of the series is once again narrated by Falcio val Mond. Throughout the series he has been a great choice as the narrator, he’s a character that you can really get behind and root for. Under the exquisite writing of de Castell, you feel everything that Falcio goes through.
De Castell constantly puts Falcio through the emotional wringer, similar to Fitz and how Robin Hobb is always heaping tortuous pain and misery on him, I wonder if some authors simply take perverse pleasure and satisfaction in tormenting and torturing their characters?!?
Falcio has had a tough time but in Tyrant’s Throne he is nearing breaking point, he has always been loyal to his beliefs, but with the events and revelations that take place he starts to question those both those loyalties and beliefs and whether or not to uphold the law and do the right thing or to go against the law and follow his beliefs.
The world building by de Castell is once again top quality, being the last book in the series and thinking that we have already seen all that Tristia has to offer de Castell doesn’t take the easy road and revisit previous locations, oh no, he pulls a masterstroke by incorporating a whole new country and culture in the way of the neighbouring county of Avares and the barbarian-esque Avareans.
The writing by de Castell as I mentioned earlier is exquisite and while I’m no expert, I know what I like and I can’t fault his style of story telling, he incorporates everything that you need, fast pacing, fully fleshed characters, heroes to root for, villains to despise, heartache, sadness, anger, poignant moments, happiness, sorrow, courage, daring, humour, hope and an abundance of epic fight scenes that the author brings to life making you feel every rapier thrust, shield bash and arrow shot by our three heroes in superb detail.
‘We are the dead,’ I told them. ‘Soon, we will be forgotten. But do you know want to know what’s worse than dying, worse than being forgotten?’ I pushed past the soldiers in the front lines until I reached the man who’d spoken earlier. ‘The person you love most in all the world? After tomorrow, they’re going to die. They’ll be forgotten, too.’
The characterization throughout the series has been brilliant, you have Falcio, Kest and Brasti but they are more than ably supported by the other characters, Duke Jillard of Rijou (vile but always a favourite), Aline, Ethalia, the Tailor, Trin, Valiana and Darriana amongst others. Not to forget both Arsehole and Monster, two horses, de Castell even manages to give them distinct personalities and yes, Falcio named his horse Arsehole! 🙂
From the very start to the final pages, the core of the series has been the relationship between the trio of main characters in Falcio, Kest and Brasti. The banter and camaraderie between them are second to none, Brasti, the comic relief shows his occasional serious and emotional side, Kest, stoic and analytical shows the very occasional glimpses of humour, it’s a privilege to see that, adding little extra to the characters we know and love. Through friendship, courage, loss, heartbreak to overcoming constant adversity the three are more than just friends, more even than brothers or blood, they share an unshakeable bond and you truly believe that they would die for each other.
It’s a term that has been used before by many various people, myself included but it’s true, The Greatcoats are a fantasy version of The Three Musketeers. Falcio, Brasti and Kest fit in perfectly well with the modern fantasy hero image but they also harken back to the olden days, having similarities to the old-fashioned heroes of yesteryear who were just out to save the day in a fun adventure yarn.
I didn’t know what the appropriate response was, so I offered, ‘I’m Falcio val Mond. I deal with annoying conspiracies and put the pointy end of things into arseholes.’
When we get to the end of the year, I fully expect to see Tyrant’s Throne gracing many fantasy best of the year book lists and with its conclusion, The Greatcoats deserves to take its place in the upper echelons of finished fantasy series.
There has been a lot of various Saint’s of Tristia mentioned throughout the entire Greatcoats series, but there hasn’t been a Saint of books?! Talk about craziness!
And so, I humbly give to you all, the Saint of amazing books, Saint Sebastian-who-weaves-magical-words.
Both the book and the series are highly recommended. If you haven’t yet joined The Greatcoats, then why the hell not?!?!
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