brian-staveley-pic-copyright-laura-swoyer_2Brian Staveley's debut fantasy is so exciting that you might just have to take calming measures before reading . . . Maybe swearing off coffee for a few hours beforehand, sitting in a darkened room, that kind of thing. But -- whatever your caffeine-handling habits -- this is a high-adrenaline adventure against a background of empire, intrigue and betrayal. And I think it's just the thing for those waiting for the next season of Game of Thrones or next Douglas Hulick book.

For those who haven't had the privilege of reading this yet (book proofs just in - whoo!) I can still remember tearing through it for the first time, staying up way later than reasonable on work nights to finish it and then being *so* excited when genre readers in-house shared that excitement. Now we have a cover to match - so I'm delighted to unveil Book One in the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne . . . (scroll down).

Our cover, below, has been put together by Jo Thomson in our Design department and we'd like to credit arcangel for the illustration and Getty Images for the photography. And below the cover art, you'll find the book blurb and early praise too. Author Brian Staveley is a big fan of the cover art too, saying: 'I love the way this cover captures the cold menace that pervades the book. All the elements are there, presented in a wonderfully understated way -- the mystery, the malice, even the grim determination of the Emperor's children, which I see strung through the tendons of the hand gripping the sword.'

And here it is . . . 



The circle is closing. The stakes are high.
And old truths will live again. 

The Emperor has been murdered, leaving the Annurian Empire in turmoil. Now his progeny must bury their grief and prepare to unmask a conspiracy. His son Valyn, training for the empire’s deadliest fighting force, hears the news an ocean away. He expected a challenge, but after several ‘accidents’ and a dying soldier’s warning, he realizes his life is also in danger. Yet before Valyn can take action, he must survive the mercenaries’ brutal final initiation.

Meanwhile, the Emperor’s daughter, Minister Adare, hunts her father’s murderer in the capital itself. Court politics can be fatal, but she needs justice. And Kaden, heir to the empire, studies in a remote monastery. Here, the Blank God’s disciples teach their harsh ways – which Kaden must master to unlock their ancient powers. When an imperial delegation arrives, he’s learnt enough to perceive evil intent. But will this keep him alive, as long-hidden powers make their move?

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‘A vividly imagined story of conspiracy and empire’
Col Buchanan

‘Machiavellian politics on multiple levels, an intriguing world of magic, and three protagonists whose personal journeys will keep the reader impatiently waiting for the next book!’
Richard A. Knaak 

‘A complex and fast-moving fantasy set in a world where treachery and intrigue are everywhere, accomplished through ferocious brutality, subtle intrigues, and everything in between’
L. E. Modesitt Jr.


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‘I too finished it over the weekend. I thought it was great, gripping, super fast-paced and great characterization’ 

‘I thought the quality of the writing was fantastic and it is the best kind of fantasy, a visceral, fast-paced adventure, full of excitement and intrigue, passion and despair, blood and guts, far-flung landscapes and protagonists you root for -- after reading only two pages of this, I turned to my boyfriend and said “Wow. This is really good!”’

‘I started reading this over the weekend and am really enjoying it . . . great characters and keeps you engaged' Nathalie

‘Finished over the weekend, which in itself I suppose is a good sign! The world has obviously been built with care and thought put into it … a fast-paced, exciting adventure, particularly towards the end’