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The Starless Crown


The Starless Crown

THE STARLESS CROWN is the story that James Rollins was born to write. For decades, readers have been thrilled by his incredible adventures, especially those in his Sigma Force books. Now, after mastering the white-knuckled thriller and even dabbling a bit in the supernatural, Rollins boldly goes where he has never gone before --- a full-blown epic fantasy novel.

In what promises to be the first entry in his Moonfall series, THE STARLESS CROWN is a work of speculative fiction of the highest order. The result of eight years of arduous work, it propels us into another realm. Our guide through this strange world is a gifted student named Nyx. Early on, we see her contemplating the Crown of the Urth and watching the Urth as it completes its circuit around the sun. She dreams of life beyond the Crown and the wild things that may exist for her there.

"There is much to savor in THE STARLESS CROWN. It feels like a novel that wants to be read in one sitting, even though the total page count approaches 600."

Nyx will find out only too soon as she is forced to flee. Condemned to death for the witchery of her visions of a doomed future, she has no choice but to venture out into the unknown. Nyx sees the sky literally falling upon her in these lucid visions, and it seems so frighteningly real. She finds herself having to team up with a strange band of outcasts just for the sake of survival. As Rollins peels back the layers of these characters --- a broken soldier, a drunken prince and a thief who escapes from prison chains --- we learn that they all have secrets and are running from something. Their various enemies, old and new, are hunting them down at seemingly every turn.

This harsh world has a plethora of creatures, my personal favorites being the giant man-eating bats that harken to Rollins’ work as a vet. It’s almost as if he daydreamed about them while treating a sick pet. In order to save her world, Nyx realizes that she must bond with these strangers, who have their own vested interest in stopping the end of the world themselves and possibly claiming the elusive and esteemed Starless Crown. Rollins shows off his limitless imagination with so many juicy and amazing people, places and things that it would be a crime to spoil any of it.

There is much to savor in THE STARLESS CROWN. It feels like a novel that wants to be read in one sitting, even though the total page count approaches 600. Rollins mentions in the Acknowledgments how the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, Augusten Burroughs, George R.R. Martin and Terry Brooks influenced him. Ironically, he dedicates the novel to Brooks, whose creativity inspires him. It is worth pointing out that Rollins previously wrote books in the fantasy genre under the pseudonym James Clemens. Hopefully, this will spur readers to seek out these rare novels as they eagerly await the next Moonfall epic.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on January 7, 2022

The Starless Crown
by James Rollins

  • Publication Date: January 10, 2023
  • Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Fiction
  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books
  • ISBN-10: 1250766710
  • ISBN-13: 9781250766717