Terrific Fantasy Novel

I just finished reading Daniel Abraham’s third installment, THE TYRANT’S LAW,  in the Dagger and the Coin series.  This is a terrific novel and just continues to up the stakes and tension from the first two novels.  I adore the characters, particularly Clara.  I love the fact that banking and the role of money plays such an integral part in the plot.  It’s rare that economics is mentioned much less analyzed in most science fiction or fantasy novels, but money is a superpower, a weapon, a magical spell in how it works — because we believe it works — and how it can reshape the world.

Another thing I really liked about this book was the lack of overt violence and gore.  George R.R. Martin redefined fantasy when he started his Ice and Fire Saga.  He made fantasy tougher, more realistic and far grittier than anything that had come before.  Because of George’s success there have been a lot of imitators, and unfortunately the took away the wrong lesson.  They think it’s the darkness and the violence that made George a best seller so they have gone even deeper into a cesspool of brutality, sadism and savagery.  I’ve tried to read some of the imitators and found them horrifying.

Daniel has taken the exact opposite approach.  He acknowledges that armies rape and pillage a conquered city, but he doesn’t make us wallow in the death, pain and terror.  He makes it clear terrible things have happened, but without celebrating the brutality.

I also have to give a hat tip to the terrific structural shape of this novel.  Daniel delivers a “second stage rocket” halfway through the book that is just perfect.  It’s the kind of thing that makes the reader realize that things just got a lot harder and that nothing was what you expected.  It was structure jujitsu and it was gorgeous.

Anyway, go buy and read this book.  Read all three of them.  Now I have to wait another year to read book four.  It’s going to be a long eleven months.

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