The Fall of the Kings

The Fall of the Kings This stunning follow up to Ellen Kushner s cult classic novel Swordspoint is set in the same world of labyrinthine intrigue where sharp swords and even sharper wits rule Against a rich tapestry of

  • Title: The Fall of the Kings
  • Author: Ellen Kushner Delia Sherman
  • ISBN: 9780553585940
  • Page: 113
  • Format: Paperback
  • This stunning follow up to Ellen Kushner s cult classic novel, Swordspoint, is set in the same world of labyrinthine intrigue, where sharp swords and even sharper wits rule Against a rich tapestry of artists and aristocrats, students, strumpets, and spies, a gentleman and a scholar will find themselves playing out an ancient drama destined to explode their society s smuThis stunning follow up to Ellen Kushner s cult classic novel, Swordspoint, is set in the same world of labyrinthine intrigue, where sharp swords and even sharper wits rule Against a rich tapestry of artists and aristocrats, students, strumpets, and spies, a gentleman and a scholar will find themselves playing out an ancient drama destined to explode their society s smug view of itself and reveal that sometimes the best price of uncovering history is being forced to repeat it The Fall of the Kings Generations ago the last king fell, taking with him the final truths about a race of wizards who ruled at his side But the blood of the kings runs deep in the land and its people, waiting for the coming together of two unusual men Theron Campion, a young nobleman of royal lineage, is heir to an ancient house and a modern scandal Tormented by his twin duties to his family and his own bright spirit, he seeks solace in the University There he meets Basil St Cloud, a brilliant and charismatic teacher ruled by a passion for knowledge and a passion for the ancient kings Of course, everyone now knows that the wizards were charlatans and the kings their dupes and puppets Only Basil is not convinced nor is he convinced that the city has seen its last king From the Trade Paperback edition

    One thought on “The Fall of the Kings”

    1. In summary: why wasn't this book as good as its forebears? A Wizard did it.Oh, man, I was so disappointed by this book. I wanted to like it, but in the end I just didn't, mainly because I felt a bit like the author betrayed me. We return to the world of Riverside around 40 years after "The Privilege of the Sword" (my favorite of the lot, as it was the least angsty and most fun). So all the characters I liked are either old or dead. But I soldiered on and initially it seemed like a good time was [...]

    2. This was a frustrating one! I love little more than academia in a fantasy setting, and a climactic sequence begun by a scholarly debate is sooo up my street--but what dreadful pacing it turned out to have. This book takes a pleasant road but a slow one towards its destination, and when you finally reach the book's pivotal moment it's so rushed that it's robbed of all its power. The relationship between the two leads gets so much focus, only to have its purpose shoved from "character development" [...]

    3. I'm puzzled by this book. I like Kushner's other work so much and this one has some of the same flowing language and nice touches of the atmosphere of her other books, but the plot is soooooo drearily slow and the protagonist so undeserving because of his apathy in the central part of the book that I just could not enjoy it. Plus the confused and strongly hinted at presence of magic seems so totally unnecessary in the world of Riverside.

    4. Despite the claims of the jacket blurb, The Fall of the Kings is not "set in the same world of labyrinthine intrigue [as [book:Swordspoint]], where sharp swords and even sharper wits rule"--for one thing, swords hardly figure at all in The Fall of the Kings, and sharp wits end up not counting for much. Swordspoint was a "melodrama of manners"; The Fall of the Kings is an exploration of the meaning of history, culture, tradition, relationships, academia and metaphysics. Swordspoint was ultimately [...]

    5. After finishing Swordspoint, I was immediately on the lookout for more novels by Kushner. I figured that The Fall of the Kings, while not using the same characters as the previous novel, would still be a fun read. Well, I'm surmising that as a book written by two authors the novel's fault lies primarily with Delia Sherman for the drop in quality. Or Kushner lost whatever way with words she had in the past more-than-ten year span from Swordspoint. At any rate, I have compiled a list of the obnoxi [...]

    6. Despite the two stars, and despite all the complaints I'm going to make below, I never seriously thought about not finishing The Fall of the Kings. Its best achievement: setting up its plot, making clear what kinds of things are at stake (to a degree; see below) and establishing that the current story has deep connections to the myth and history that the characters retell and uncover, without making any specific ending seem inevitable early on.That was well done, really -- in other stories I've [...]

    7. It isn't every day I decide to make a visit to the Thesaurus, but in honor of my feelings for The Fall of The Kings, today I have. Come with me, as we discover the various synonyms for the word "trash", which is the adjective that best describes this book:Garbage. Junk. Rubbish. Dross. Filth. Scum.Take your pick, any of them will do perfectly. Now, I'll try and sum up as best I can why is it that this tragic disaster of a book is so horrendous, when the book before it was so good.First of all, o [...]

    8. Lots of reviews seem not to have liked the ending. But I thought it was a good place to leave things.More proper review when I'm less desperately hungover.*Awake and Alive Edits 26.03.2012*I think part of why people find the ending unsatisfying, (and I think it is unsatisfying, I just likes it that way, literary masochism, whey) is that Riverside is a very fully realized setting, and Kushner and Sherman want to leave it so. Things don't end tidily, some people wander off to do other things. It's [...]

    9. More like 2.5 stars. The first two books don't really fit neatly into my idea of fantasy. But this one dives right in to old rituals. Frankly, I found it often confusing, with relatives coming out of the woodwork and far too many student characters. I think a person who wants to know what the fuss is about with Swordspoint could read just that one and then The Privilege of the Sword and leave this one be.

    10. Reread this, and I am even more convinced that this is part one of a larger novel. It is engaging, witty and vivid and sensory and rich, with hints of magic; it also has an enormous cast. Toward the end, rather than pulling them all together, the cast members seem to be dropped or scattered, coming to an abrupt end. The central figure, the shadowy Lord Arlen, has yet to reveal motivation or intention, and his pole star, the beautiful Theron Campion, is out for the nonce.Would love to see Part Tw [...]

    11. Now, don't get me wrong (or do, I'm often wrong, but never admit that), I liked this book. An epic conclusion to the Riverside trilogy, beautifully written, flowing language and no hint of a purple prose, original plot, interesting characters, strong female leads, further exploration of the Riverside world and all that. But. Me dissapoint. Sad trombone. As several reviewers have noticed, this book suffers from A Wizard DitIt trope. I liked Riverside precisely because there was no freakin magic i [...]

    12. The Fall of the Kings is set in the same world as Swordspoint and The Privilege of the Sword. However, it's a very different kind of story. The really personal focus, the sense that this story matters most to the people involved in it, is gone, and now there's a more far-reaching plot about scholarship, politics, monarchy, magic and restoration. This time there's a co-author: Ellen Kushner's wife, Delia Sherman.Having read Swordspoint and The Privilege of the Sword, I didn't know exactly how I f [...]

    13. I first learned of Kushner's work through her radio show "Sound and Spirit," on WBGH. Grounded in the songs and stories of cultures throughout the world, this show does an excellent job of exploring spiritual and religious traditions and themes that transcend divides of politics and dogma. This understanding of how ancient stories and archetypes echo through the ages blossoms forth in The Fall of The Kings. The Fall of the Kings is one of the Swordspoint books, which take place in an unspecified [...]

    14. Imagine Gandalf and Aragorn as lovers, the wizard choosing, advising, and sexing the king, the pair exchanging bodily fluids to make the land fertile! In The Fall of the Kings (2002), Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman queer the typical fantasy genre relationship between kings and wizards. Is their novel a bracing revision, a political passion, an unsavory folly, or just a well-written steamy same-sex romance fantasy about history, authority, truth, duty, art, love, and family? Maybe all of that. T [...]

    15. • I was debating between 4 and 5 stars for a while but Jessica Campion sealed the deal• Yeah she was a bit of a deus ex machina but I will gladly accept those when they come in the form of a badass wlw pirate (oops, I mean international art dealing) queen who is apparently getting her own book at some point? New favourite character aaahh• What was that ending, way to rip my heart out 😭• Such great commentary on the way history is learnt and taught, more like the fall of academia aha [...]

    16. This previous books in this series must be read first. The amount of characters and complexity of plot required me to create a family tree for Alexander Theron Tielman Campion as well as an annotated list of characters. The Riverside world is an amazing creation and I will definitely read more stories set there.

    17. WHAT. THE. FUCK. even was this entire series???out of all the books of this series, i enjoyed the writing style in this one most, but the writing is so different in each book? (i think the author co-wrote the last two books with other writers so maybe that´s why?) the characters are all very interesting but sometimes there´s a weird repetition to them all, and the plot is continuously unnecessary and anticlimatic; it makes no sense and seems so pointless? overall this feels like these books wo [...]

    18. It took me a couple of chapters to find my footing in this novel, as it takes place quite a while after Swordspoint, and also because it had been a while since I'd read that novel, and there are a lot of names in this. Nevertheless, this was a wonderful and quiet story that drew me in and ran along without too much fanfare or artificial excitement. It's a story about historians in a fantasy world arguing about the details and particulars of a fallen monarchy and the politics that shape the histo [...]

    19. This is the sequel to Swordspoint, and takes place some 60 years or so after the events in Swordspoint (Kushner has written another book that falls in between these two about the Duchess Tremontaine). It focuses on the Mad Duke’s son, Theron, who is slated to become the next Duke Tremontaine (after his aunt Katherine, Duchess Tremontaine). Theron seems just about as self-indulgent and crazy as his father – he’s out all hours, he’s a student, he has many lovers of both sexes, and he’s s [...]

    20. I read the Riverside books in proper order, so this is the book I read last: The Privilege of the Sword, however, I thought was superior. The plotting was tighter, and the characters seemed a lot more real than in The Fall of the Kings.The Fall of the Kings provides a historical setting to the already-rich world we had encountered in Swordspoint. Specifically, it asks the question of whether the old kings were indeed tyrants, and why there exists an aristocratic class without a monarchy. The Fal [...]

    21. It's interesting thinking about my responses to books set in universities (mundane or mythical). They tend to irritate or bore me. Perhaps it's a result of having spent too much time knocking about in such institutions myself; although as a mediocre biology student and, later, a hard-working health sciences student very little of my time has been spent in pubs or lecturer's private parties crapping on about the real truth of X or Y. Sadly, The Fall of the Kings has this in plenty, and failed to [...]

    22. I quite enjoyed this fantasy, about the re-awakening of magic in a world of skeptics, where magic is treasonous. The characters were quite good and the romance was pleasant enough.I think the strength of the novel was in portraying the academic community and all of the back-biting and political manoeuvring that happened there. It was easy to love Basil St. Cloud in this atmosphere for having the morals and love of learning to try to rise above all of it.The rabble-rousing student-life is beautif [...]

    23. I suspected, when I first started this, that it might end up being my favorite in the series - mostly because of the academic setting, for which I am such a sucker. Alas. As the book went on (and on, and on, and on) that enthusiasm drained slowly away. It feels like a lot of pretty terrific set up and no pay off. And again with the characterizations (I've realized that that's really the thing that's going to make or break a novel for me): Theron is a flighty drip (whom everyone adores for no dis [...]

    24. I tried to read Swordspoint after seeing Kushner speak at the University of Tulsa years ago, and really couldn't get into it. This one was recommended to me by a friend and I read it despite not having read the first two Riverside books. It kept me entertained, and there was something captivating and weird about the magic, like the magic is something that happens to you instead of something you do. I liked that part.However, this book fails the Bechdel test hard. There's a lot of gay love, and s [...]

    25. I really liked this book at the beginning. Having read Swordspoint and falling in love with Alec and St. Vier I was expecting a lot from this follow-up. However I was extremely disappointed when the authors chose to take Theron Campion, a charming, accomplished, vulnerable, and generally likeable character (if shallow and selfish) and forcing him into gibbering madness as a plot point. His lover, St. Cloud, (lots of St's in this world apparently) also seems to become somewhat mad and disconnecte [...]

    26. A very different beast to the other Riverside novels, this has plenty to recommend it (prose, characters, world building) but is much harder to read (and to like). My favourite characters are peripheral, and while I developed a sort of horrified empathy for Theron, it was difficult to maintain at times. Overall, I think this suffers from being over-long - and for going exactly where you expect it to - like a slow motion car crash. That said, I also think this is a book that will improve on re-re [...]

    27. It wasn't until I reached the end of this-a shore I would never have landed on, had my love for the other Riverside stories not set such wind in my sails-that I learned this was originally published as a novella, in Bending the Landscape: Fantasy. It was the one line I read which made perfect sense to me, having felt the whole of the book how much better the story would be had they just cut out all the pages and pages of non-events. The writing itself is florid and polished, the dialogue smooth, [...]

    28. I absolutely adore everything Ellen Kushner has written (I lament that she has not written yet more!), and I intend to read Miss Sherman at some point as well. This book was quite different from Swordspoint and The Privilege of the Sword, and while I'll take any oppourtunity to inhabit Riverside for a while, it felt like a slightly different world in some ways. Still one I like to inhabit, but with the touch of magic (if there really was magic) added an extra dimension that made my beloved River [...]

    29. Ja, genau so. Wunderschön, die Geschichte, die Sprache, die Figuren und die uralte Mythologie, die das Ganze durchdringt, sich zuerst langsam aufbaut und dann wie eine Welle über alles hinweg fegt. Ein würdiger Nachfolger für "Swordspoint", anders aber mindestens so großartig. Das Ende war zu erwarten, aber es fühlt sich nicht nach dem Ende dieser Geschichte an. Theron, Basil, Katherine, Sophia und Jessica, ich vermisse euch jetzt schon. Tremontaine - ihr seid schon ein spannender Haufen.F [...]

    30. A dissolute young nobleman has unwise affairs and become entangled in ancient cultic ritual practices.I am positive that Kushner was inspired to write this by The Golden Bough or From Ritual to Romance.

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