Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Born Queen-Greg Keyes

The Born Queen
Greg Keyes
Del Rey, Mar 25 2008, $26.00
ISBN: 9780345440693

Following the murder of her father and incarceration of her mother by her undead Uncle Robert, all looked lost for self-exiled Princess Anne Dare and her Kingdom of Crotheny especially since the demonic race abetted by Robert has returned to overrun the land. Yet perseverance, strong allies, and inner strength prevail with Anne, a descendent of the great Queen Virgenya Dare who has succeeded in taking the throne.

However winning the throne is not the same as ruling. She needs time to learn how to be a queen to all her subjects while learning to use her eldritch skills, but time is not what she has. Enemies still plot to replace the independent tyro with a puppet Briar King while she remains inexperienced and assumed weak. Allies in a common cause against the same enemy are no longer friends and cannot be depended upon for help. Worse the Church leader Hespero manipulating prophecy sanctions a holy war that allows the powerful neighboring Hansa to invade; at the same time the Sarnwood Witch plots to replace the Dare with a new Briar King by ordering the holter Aspar White to do his job or else suffer for failing in his geas to her. Queen Anne’s only hope for her people rests with finding the lost journal of her ancestor as Robert remains at large and the Kept Skashoi Lord survived his recent defeat and has a scheme to destroy her too as the veil between life and death continues to be shredded.

The final The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone fantasy thriller (see THE BRIAR KING, THE BLOOD KNIGHT and THE CHARNEL PRINCE) is an exciting ending that ties the major loose ends into an engaging finish. There are numerous subplots as plotters work to destroy THE BORN QUEEN with none concerned with secondary consequences that will devastate a world. Although the characters and the setting are out of the quest fantasy guidebook, sub-genre fans will still acknowledge that Greg Keyes has written a great ending to a strong tale.

Harriet Klausner

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