1 December, 2022

LitStack Recs: Ship Fever: Stories & The Tyrant’s Law

The Tyrant’s LawTYRANT
Daniel Abraham

The adventure continues!

Yes, this is the third time I’ve recommended this series (The Dagger and the Coin), but this is also the third time that an installment of a series has not only met my expectations, but exceeded them.

Like I’ve said before, there are a lot of great fantasy trilogies and multi-book series out there.  They are well written and well imagined, with great characters and unique lands and viewpoints.  Most of them, however, are somewhat predictable in what will happen:  development, struggle, conflict, triumph.  Nothing wrong with that, and I enjoy many of them, immensely.

But this series goes beyond that.  It takes those beloved and fun to read tropes and steps around the expected, forays a bit deeper into the potential, and expands the story rather than elongates it.  Small quests are accomplished but then do not have the expected conclusion, not due to the quest itself but due to a more complete understanding of why the quest needed to be entered into in the first place.  Those expected resolutions that don’t occur then require adjusted attitudes and more complex reasoning on the part of the characters in the story, and in the readers.  We, along with now familiar names, learn to no longer look at things at face value.  And the different races and traditions that were introduced as “interesting” at the start of the series now have started to truly define themselves in a much larger historical and cultural context.  Yes!

And characters expand, as well.  They don’t just move their expertise (or quirk) from one book to the next, they learn and grow – but again, not necessarily it the ways we “expect” them to.  It’s like we’re really watching their growth as people unfold, rather than merely watching a crafted character “learn stuff”.

At first, I thought that The Dagger and the Coin series was going to be somewhat simplistic; an interesting take on a medieval world not unlike our own, but different from our own.  Quickly, I saw glimpses that it was going to do this “interesting take” in a somewhat novel manner (focusing on areas of civilization off the battlefield, for instance), but not so far off the grid that things just got weird.  Assumptions I had made at the start, while not debunked, per se, were simply not where the books started taking me – and I have thoroughly enjoyed the road-less-traveled journey.

If you had talked to me when  I first picked up Book One of the series, “The Dragon’s Path”, I would have admitted that I was somewhat resigned to reading four books (and counting – I’m not sure if the fourth book is the concluding one) circling around the same tale.  But now that I’ve finished the third book and am anxiously awaiting the fourth one to arrive from the library (a bit of wait on this one as it was only released on August 5, 2014), I’m hoping that there are many, many more books to come in this land I’ve embraced so keenly.

Lovers of epic fantasy, if you haven’t looked into Daniel Abraham’s The Dagger and the Coin series (“The Dragon’s Path”, “The King’s Blood”, “The Tyrant’s Law”), then don’t let another day pass before you check them out.  You’ll thank me.  You will.

—Sharon Browning