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Blood of the Four

Review

Blood of the Four

The island kingdom of Quandis has long been ruled by the Crown and by its faith in the Four. Because the blood of the Four is understood to flow through the veins of the royal family, their rule has been absolute: a powerful governance on the throne underpinned by the strength of four mysterious deities. When Queen Lysandra’s addiction to the drug spiza debilitates her and makes her vulnerable to an unhealthy desire for magical power, she sets in motion events that upset the order of the kingdom and bring longstanding injustices into focus.

BLOOD OF THE FOUR by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon is a fantasy novel in the classic tradition: political intrigue, mighty magic and bloody battles in an inventively imagined world.

"BLOOD OF THE FOUR is a fun read. The partnership of Golden and Lebbon has resulted in a stylistically seamless narrative, allowing for the ideas and story to shine."

Princess Phela has grown up Whispering. Whispering is her uncanny ability to find the quiet and shadowy corners in which to hide and listen. It is during her Whisperings that she begins to realize that her mother is losing her mind. Queen Lysandra’s lust for power turns her against noble families in shocking ways, and in the upheaval Phela seizes the opportunity to rid the kingdom of her mother and her brother, heir to the throne. Yet Phela’s ascendancy, and her own thirst for the magic her mother could not control, continue to destroy Quandis. Phela, like Lysandra had before her, hopes to consolidate the power of both the throne and the religion in her own hands. Though the priests warn her and even try to sabotage her, she continues to test the limits of her body and mind, and the loyalty of her subjects, as she seeks to consume and contain the magic of the Four.

Also trying to gain command of the magic of the Four is Blane, a novice priest. Blane is a Bajuman, a member of a slave caste in Quandis society, but his religious training is one of the few paths available to him to overcome the status of his birth. Unfortunately, just as Blane gets close to the magic that he believes will help him throw off the shackles of slavery for his people, the newly named Queen Phela undertakes a violent campaign against the Bajuman. Though the situation seems dark and dire, Blane soon finds help from unexpected quarters. Arriving at the head of a naval fleet is his long-lost sister, Daria, and taking up arms against Phela are her sister, Princess Myrinne, and her outcasted noble love, Demos of Clan Kallistrate. What ensues is nothing short of a revolution for the rights of the Bajuman and a war to restore balance and justice in Quandis.

BLOOD OF THE FOUR is a fun read. The partnership of Golden and Lebbon has resulted in a stylistically seamless narrative, allowing for the ideas and story to shine. The themes of power and magic are expected, but the exploration of justice, rights and identity are great surprises here. The religion of the Four and the close protection of spiritual understanding and ritual by the priests are well rendered. The characters, placed in a wondrous world, still seem real and relatable as they become corrupted or work against corruption. The attention paid to gender makes the book refreshingly contemporary and adds important intellectual and cultural heft to an entertaining tale.

Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on March 23, 2018

Blood of the Four
by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon

  • Publication Date: March 6, 2018
  • Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Fiction
  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager
  • ISBN-10: 0062641387
  • ISBN-13: 9780062641380