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Greg Keyes

(1963- )
Greg Keyes earned a B.A. in anthropology from Mississippi State University and a master’s degree from the University of Georgia, where he did course work for a Ph.D. He lives in Savannah and enjoys cooking, fencing, the company of his family and friends and lazy Savannah nights. There are maps and excerpts at Greg Keyeswebsite.

Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone

Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone — (2002-2008) Publisher: Two thousand years ago, the Born Queen defeated the Skasloi lords, freeing humans from the bitter yoke of slavery. But now monstrous creatures roam the land — and destinies become inextricably entangled in a drama of power and seduction. The king’s woodsman, a rebellious girl, a young priest, a roguish adventurer, and a young man made suddenly into a knight — all face malevolent forces that shake the foundations of the kingdom, even as the Briar King, legendary harbinger of death, awakens from his slumber. At the heart of this many-layered tale is Anne Dare, youngest daughter of the royal family… upon whom the fate of her world may depend.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsGreg Keyes Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone: The Briar King, The Charnal Prince, The Blood Knight, The Born QueenGreg Keyes Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone: The Briar King, The Charnal Prince, The Blood Knight, The Born QueenGreg Keyes Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone: The Briar King, The Charnal Prince, The Blood Knight, The Born Queen

The Briar King: A dark rose among thorns

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The Briar King by Greg Keyes

The Briar King is the first novel in the (planned) fantasy quartet, Kingdoms of Thorn & Bone by Greg Keyes. The gist of my review is this: The Briar King is perhaps the first wonderful fantasy book of the 21st century and worthy of a place beside A Game of Thrones (George Martin) and Assassin's Apprentice (Robin Hobb) on your shelf reserved for engaging, well-written, mature, contemporary fantasy. It is, in a word, a keeper.

The Briar King opens with one of (if not the) best preludes in fantasy, whi... Read More

The Charnel Prince: Flawed but moves story along

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The Charnel Prince by Greg Keyes

The Charnel Prince succeeds in what should be the immediate and least of goals for second books in series — it moves the plot along. The book is well-paced, moving quickly through various storylines and transitioning nicely from one point-of-view to another. The shifts occur smoothly and repeatedly act to increase suspense (some may tire of the tactic; it never really bothered me). The different stories are mostly well-balanced, each carrying its own weight in terms of plot and character. Though I'd say one is noticeably weaker than the others, it doesn't act as much of a drag on the book as a whole.

There is no "recap" of The Briar King, but Greg Keyes does a nice job of refreshing the reader's memory without being too obvious and without slowing the book down with a lot of early expo... Read More

The Blood Knight: Solid if uneven “bridge” book in the series

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The Blood Knight by Greg Keyes

Anyone who reads a lot of fantasy knows by now to come with some trepidation to any sort of "bridge" book — the second book in a trilogy or the 2nd or 3rd book in longer series. Too often they simply exist to get us from the exciting stuff that got us hooked in book one to the exciting stuff that will wow us in the conclusion. Other times they read like they simply exist because the author can sell a trilogy more easily than a standalone or a simple sequel and so plot events are stretched out so thinly they almost snap.

The Blood Knight, for the most part, avoids the pitfalls of the bridge book. The strength of the book is the same as earlier ones — the reader is never quite sure of just who the "bad guy" is here. Greg Keyes gives us a broad enough viewpoint here so that we're always on shifting ground. The cha... Read More

The Born Queen: End of a strong second-tier fantasy series

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The Born Queen by Greg Keyes

The Born Queen is the concluding (and how often do we get to say that when reviewing a fantasy novel?) book in Greg Keyes’ four-book series, Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone. And it does actually conclude the series without any sort of sly wink-wink, nod-nod to a new series rising like the undead from the killed-off plot. For that alone, he should be given lots of credit, along with actually finishing a series in a decent amount of time and space.

But of course, one hopes to aspire to get more from a book than “well, now it’s over” (how far have we fallen though that it’s almost enough to say that?). On that level, The Born Queen mostly succeeds, though not completely.

To be honest, I haven’t been completel... Read More

Footsteps in the Sky: a multi-layered, rewarding read

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Footsteps in the Sky by Greg Keyes

Footsteps in the Sky, by Greg Keyes, is on one level a wholly enjoyable science fiction action story that offers up a whole bunch of fun surface action involving laser rifles, fusion-powered seedships, augmented humans, AIs, rebellious space colonies, and the like. You can read it for those elements alone and have yourself a good time. But the novel offers much more, as Keyes builds onto the surface elements an evocative, deeply felt exploration of identity, compassion, faith, community, and of just what it means to be human, much of it through the prism of the Hopi culture/belief system, presented here in detailed, respectful, and often touching manner and presented as well in a fashion that could clearly stand as an analogue to modern-day conflicts with... Read More

Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword & Sorcery

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Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword & Sorcery edited by Jonathan Strahan & Lou Anders

Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword & Sorcery is a book I’ve been eagerly anticipating ever since it was first announced in 2009. I was particularly excited about the anthology’s impressive list of contributors which includes several authors I enjoy reading like Glen Cook, Greg Keyes, Scott Lynch, Joe Abercrombie, Garth Nix, Tim Lebbon, Read More

More books by Greg Keyes

Children of the Changeling — (1996-1997) Publisher: The River flowed through all the land, deep and unstoppable, a god in his own right. His head was in the mountains; his arms embraced the outlands; his body lay at the core of all the civilized realms; and his legs stretched on to the distant sea. Dark and sluggish, he rolled unchallenged, dreaming his own invincible might and glory into stark reality. Everywhere he touched, the River God held dominion. And in Nhol, the fabled city at the heart of the world, an emperor ruled as the living aspect of the god, presiding over the splendors and intrigues of a prosperous land and a glittering court. Hezhi was an imperial princess; her blood carried the seeds of the River’s power. When her favorite cousin disappeared, Hezhi searched throughout the sumptuous palace with its ghosts and priests, giants and courtiers, and frightening creatures of wizardry. And the magic within her began to grow; soon it must attract dangerous attention. Hezhi’s anxious quest ripened into a desperate fight for her own life — a battle she could not hope to win alone. Small wonder that the princess wished for a hero. And far away, a hero’s journey began…

Greg Keyes Children of the Changeling 1. The Waterborn 2. The BlackgodGreg Keyes Children of the Changeling 1. The Waterborn 2. The Blackgod


The Age of Unreason — (1998-2001) Publisher: A dazzling quest whose outcome will raise humanity to unparalleled heights of glory — or ring down a curtain of endless night… 1681: When Sir Isaac Newton turns his restless mind to the ancient art of alchemy, he unleashes Philosopher’s Mercury, a primal source of matter and a key to manipulating the four elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Now, as France and England battle for its control, Louis XIV calls for a new weapon — a mysterious device known only as Newton’s Cannon. Half a world away, a young apprentice named Benjamin Franklin stumbles across a dangerous secret. Pursued by a deadly enemy — half scientist, half sorcerer — Ben makes his fugitive way to England. Only Newton himself can help him now. But who will help Sir Isaac? For he was not the first to unleash the Philosopher’s Mercury. Others were there before him. Creatures as scornful of science as they are of mankind. And burning to be rid of both…

Greg Keyes Age of Unreason 1. Newton's Cannon 2. A Calculus of Angels 3. Empire of Unreason 4. The Shadows of GodGreg Keyes Age of Unreason 1. Newton's Cannon 2. A Calculus of Angels 3. Empire of Unreason 4. The Shadows of GodGreg Keyes Age of Unreason 1. Newton's Cannon 2. A Calculus of Angels 3. Empire of Unreason 4. The Shadows of GodGreg Keyes Age of Unreason 1. Newton's Cannon 2. A Calculus of Angels 3. Empire of Unreason 4. The Shadows of God


The Elder Scrolls — (2009-2011) The Elder Scrolls novels are based on the RPG The Elder Scrolls. Publisher: Four decades after the Oblivion Crisis, Tamriel is threatened anew by an ancient and all-consuming evil. It is Umbriel, a floating city that casts a terrifying shadow — for wherever it falls, people die and rise again. And it is in Umbriel’s shadow that a great adventure begins, and a group of unlikely heroes meet. A legendary prince with a secret. A spy on the trail of a vast conspiracy. A mage obsessed with his desire for revenge. And Annaig, a young girl in whose hands the fate of Tamriel may rest… Based on the award-winning The Elder Scrolls, The Infernal City is the first of two exhilarating novels following events that continue the story from The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, named 2006 Game of the Year.

Greg Keyes RPG The Elder Scrolls 1. The Infernal CityGreg Keyes RPG The Elder Scrolls 1. The Infernal City 2. Lord of Souls


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