The Dagger and the Coin: The Tyrant’s Law by Daniel Abraham – Book Review [Bane of Kings]

The Tyrant's Law

Bane of Kings shares his thoughts on the third entry in Daniel Abraham’s The Dagger and the Coin series entitled The Tyrant’s Law, published by Orbit Books.

“A Wonderful read. Three Books in, Daniel Abraham’s Epic Fantasy series is just as compelling as his and Ty Frank’s The Expanse. Easily one of the highlights of 2013.” ~The Founding Fields

Another year, another Daniel Abraham fantasy novel, another James SA Corey Novel. In the past three years, all books have managed to make it onto my Best of… lists, and it looks like this year is going to be no different. The Tyrant’s Law is compelling, epic, and a really strong third installment to the series that ranks as one of my favourite. There are several standout moments in this novel – and one of the best things about it is that the characters have really been fleshed out by this point, really memorable and have undergone large chunks of character development. Nobody that you saw in The Dragon’s Path is the same that you see in The Tyrant’s Law, and I really look forward to seeing what Daniel Abraham can throw at his characters in future instalments.

The great war cannot be stopped. 

The tyrant Geder Palliako had led his nation to war, but every victory has called forth another conflict. Now the greater war spreads out before him, and he is bent on bringing peace. No matter how many people he has to kill to do it.

Cithrin bel Sarcour, rogue banker of the Medean Bank, has returned to the fold. Her apprenticeship has placed her in the path of war, but the greater dangers are the ones in her past and in her soul.

Widowed and disgraced at the heart of the Empire, Clara Kalliam has become a loyal traitor, defending her nation against itself. And in the shadows of the world, Captain Marcus Wester tracks an ancient secret that will change the war in ways not even he can forsee.

Return to the critically acclaimed epic by master storyteller Daniel Abraham, The Dagger and the Coin.

Like the previous two books, The Tyrant’s Law is told in a style that George RR Martin fans will be familiar with. Each Chapter is focused on the Third Person POV of a Character, but by this point – especially if you’ve been reading The Expanse as well, you’ll be used to Daniel Abraham’s style – and you certainly won’t be flicking through various chapters to get to characters that you find more interesting than the other, for example – Geder’s story is as equally interesting as Cithrin’s, and Marcus’s tale is as awesome as Clara’s. He really draws you in and tells a compelling story, and at the end only manages to leave the reader wanting more.

The Tyrant's LawThe novel itself really focuses on the scale and diversity of the story that Abraham is telling – it runs across many genres. Love, action, epic, gritty,cultural analysis – These are some things that could take up a whole novel, yet Abraham manages to wind them all into one, with an unrelenting pace that readers of The Dragon’s Path and The King’s Blood will be used to. This is far from your average fantasy tale of heroes and Chosen Ones, and it certainly steps above the average gritty fantasy novel that looks like somebody was just simply trying to copy A Song of Ice and Fire. Its characters are unique and original, and the setting is wonderfully created. And we don’t have to wait five years for the next book.

The beauty of Daniel Abraham’s novels is that as well as being the third book in an ongoing series, The Tyrant’s Law could be read as a standalone without the reader having to go back and catch up on the first two books, but it’s probably best to start at the beginning, as you can tell that the books are clearly building on one another to create a vast plotline, and the story takes its time with the characters so that whilst you’ll find yourself turning the pages more and more, The Tyrant’s Law won’t be have the lightning-fast pace of other epic fantasies. Abraham spends some time analysing the characters and we continue to get a better connection of the characters in question. There is no ‘evil overlord’ cliché to be found here, and each of the main cast are far from perfect characters, the supposed heroes will not always make the right decisions etc, and this leads to an unpredictable atmosphere that not many fantasy novels have been able to capture.

Whilst the hype surrounding this series’ release may have perhaps died down since the first book, the series doesn’t get worse – in fact, in my opinion, it gets better. I really can’t wait to see where the series goes with future installments, and if the previous three books have been anything to go by, then book four in The Dagger and the Coin will most certainly be on my Best of 2014 list if Abraham keeps to the pattern of releasing a book a year for this series.

VERDICT: 5/5

THE DAGGER AND THE COIN: The Dragon’s Path, The King’s Blood, The Tyrant’s Law

Milo, aka Bane of Kings, is a SFF/Comic reader, and watches a lot of TV. His favourite authors are Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson & Iain M. Banks, whilst his favourite TV shows are Battlestar Galactica (2003), Person Of Interest, Firefly, Game of Thrones, & Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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