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The Kings’ Assassin Book Reviews


Opening a new series, the author is preaching the gospel of the genre. There are loving touches of the classics evident in the narrative’s every layer, from the political intrigue of Frank Herbert’s Dune to the vigorously structured culture in Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern. The overarching theme
of the positive No. 7 versus the negative No. 9 lends Cannon’s world a cosmic drumbeat that the characters dance to—and though it seems cloying at first, readers should grow to appreciate it as essential to the author’s vast arrangement. After intensive (and successful) world building, Cannon switches into thriller gear, and magical forensics factor in, as in the line “The energies from the duel still whispered discord. Fierce energies had been flung across the room and had eventually slain his father….Burned tapestries and melted stone showed how fierce the fight had been.” Characters possess the vibrancy to add to, rather than vanish within, a complex plot. Melin, concerned about Briana, loses his patience and asks the cool Sillik, “So are you bedding her or not?” And while a fantasy thriller filled with secret sects of killers among the healers would be fabulous, Cannon doesn’t settle for that.
Sillik leaves Illicia to hunt for the king’s assassin, offering readers a broader scope. In the morally dank city of Colum, for example, the prince meets Renee, a charismatic, though guarded, woman battling injustice. Her appearance adds emotional depth to the finale while the epilogue is a triumph of
detailed maneuvering that should entice audiences back for the sequel.

A joyously embellished and tightly guided epic fantasy thriller.

-Kirkus Reviews

Book review by Maria A. Hughes

“Sillik had seen magic, felt the impression of battle, seen the face of an attacker, and felt betrayal.”

There’s nothing like returning home to a celebration, especially with a royal feast and a king who is very much alive. Unfortunately, Prince Sillik returns home on the night of the celebration to find out that his father, the king, has been murdered, killing the mood for Illicia’s inhabitants. After months of spending time alone in the wilderness, Sillik is suddenly thrust into court life, war, and a crown he thought he ran away from.

Prince Sillik’s journey from vagabond to reluctant king/hero is a classic tale in the fantasy genre. Unlike J. R. R. Tolkien’s Aragorn or Lloyd Alexander’s Taran, Prince Sillik has more to handle than just a crown he doesn’t want to accept or a war that needs to be fought and won. The prince has to also unravel who wanted his whole family dead (and almost succeeded). Cannon paints a believable hero who struggles with political life and requires the help of his father’s advisors. The story itself is intriguing, and the author does an excellent job of blending world-building details with exciting story elements that keep the reader’s attention. Early on in the story, the reader becomes aware of some of the characters involved in the assassination, and it would probably have been more interesting to keep all of the assassination elements a mystery, keeping the reader guessing for a little while longer. Overall, though, this is an engaging story that will appeal to readers of fantasy who enjoy war, dragons, a little bit of romance, and political intrigue.

BlueInk Review

The Kings’ Assassin
Ed Cannon
Xlibris, 442 pages, (paperback) $23.99, 9781984511683
(Reviewed: October, 2018)

The Kings’ Assassin, by Ed Cannon, is a sword-and-sorcery-style epic fantasy novel reminiscent of works from the 1980s.

Sillik is an itinerant prince whose homecoming to the city state of Illicia becomes his ascension to the throne after a series of royal assassinations and surviving one of his own. Now, in the wake of his father’s death, he seeks to uncover the conspiracy.

Principle among Sillik’s allies is Briana, the gorgeous, formidable Swordmaster of Illicia and his best friend (although there has always been the hint of something more) since childhood. When Sillik embarks on a solo mission to track down the source of the conspiracy, Briana must hold the kingdom together and, ultimately, lead it to war.

Meanwhile, Sillik’s attempts to find answers in the city of Colum pull him into the middle of a coup against Colum’s emperor. There, he rescues Renee, a beautiful, spirited young woman with secrets of her own, and discovers that their quests are intertwined. After surviving a coup, bandits, and dragons, Sillik and Renee join Briana at the dawn of war.

Role play gamers from the 1980s will recognize many of the classic tropes here. Characters fall into specific classes (warriors, healers, thieves, etc.), each complete with their own guild. Fans of authors like R.A. Salvatore, Raymond Feist, or Melanie Rawn will find much to love in Cannon’s epic tale. The mythology of Illicia and Cannon’s conception of the laws of magic feel fully formed and the characters are richly drawn.

The novel starts a bit slow, bogged down by description of land and history, and some will wish less resolution had been left for a sequel. But those flaws are minor in a novel that features palace intrigue, mystery, epic battles, mythical creatures, and a compelling love triangle.

For devotees of the genre, it’s worth waiting for Cannon’s satisfying story to build— just as it should be well worth the wait for the next installment.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.

Official Review: The Kings Death by Ed Cannon
Post by ZenaLei7

[Following is an official review of “The Kings Death” by Ed Cannon.]

The Kings Death, by Ed Cannon, is the second book of The Illician Chronicles series. I read and did a book review on the first book, The Kings Assassin, so I highly recommend that readers read the first book before reading this one. The author also uses both new and old characters and the story takes places directly after the events that happened in the first book, so new readers will be lost when reading this book.

Following the huge battle near the Falls of Theosa, Sillik and his companions are left trying to figure out their next move. As they are constantly attacked by fire wolves, huge ravens, wraiths, and other evil creatures, Sillik knows he has to gather the remaining magical objects as well as find a way to protect his allies before the nine dark masters unite. Back in the city of Illicia, Elizabet and Kenton have their hands tied up with Claudett, a healer whose actions in the past months have been questionable. Meanwhile, Lysander, Prince of Aceon, is having a frustrating time with his mother, the Queen of Aceon, who seems to go against everything that Lysander wants. As Sillik and his allies struggle to defeat the dark masters, more and more dark and powerful forces threaten to devastate their world.

For the most part, I thought this book was fast-paced and included a lot of characters, but I did not have a hard time keeping up with the names of the characters. The description of characters and settings were so detailed and easy to visualize that I felt like I was in the book. Some of the scenes surprised me because there were a couple of twists that I did not see coming.

Just like the first book, the characters were once again what I liked the most about this book. They were vibrant and full of life, and the interactions between each character helped to bring out their personalities. There were also a couple of new characters that were introduced, like Lysander as well as SiIlik’s cousin, Queen Josephine, the Queen of Salone. These new characters added more perspectives and helped to make the complicated plot more intriguing.

Overall, I would rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this sequel, and it went past my expectations. There were a couple of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, but they did not detract from the book. Since this is the second book of the series, I would highly recommend readers to read the first book before reading this one. I also recommend this book to readers who enjoy reading fantasy books filled with action and adventure.

BlueInk Review


The Kings Death
Ed Cannon
Pages: 558
Price: (hardcover) $34.99
ISBN: 9781796019872
Reviewed: July, 2019
Author Website: Visit »

The Kings Death continues the epic fantasy series begun in The Kings’ Assassin, picking up the story of Sillik, now the crown prince of Illicia, his fiance Renee, and his swordmaster Briana as they plunge into a war whose origins are as mysterious as they are far-reaching. With enemies sent by dark forces, and the heroes’ actions guided by gods, The Kings Death makes clear that the world as his protagonists know it hangs in the balance.

The Kings Death spirals further outward from the world described in The Kings’ Assassin, bringing in new characters and kingdoms who share at least as much time on the page as our familiar heroes. Prince Lysander of Aceon, a kingdom defended by warriors mounted on giant birds, is honor-bound to help Sillick, an old friend, and Jaqueline, Sillik’s cousin and wife of King Ametor of Salone. Salone is a key outpost in the war and home to a revered school of magic. There are many others: a plucky thief, an Illicia healer hiding from a rising coup, and a warrior turned against the kingdom after being enthralled by a demon, to name a few.

Where The Kings’ Assassin recounted an adventurous journey, here author Ed Cannon has set his heights higher, intertwining the excitement of battle with threads of court intrigue, political machinations, and hostile takeovers to weave a tapestry aiming for something closer to the scale of the Game of Thrones saga.

If there’s a complaint, it’s that The Kings Death can move slowly at times, bogged down by overextended dialogue sequences which, while faithfully conveying the characters and their motivations, nonetheless drag down the pace of the plot. Apart from that, however, The Kings Death delivers on the promise of its predecessor, and in some ways exceeds it. It has fierce warriors, underdogs, unexpected twists, an epic scale, and a world that feels fully imagined and palpably real, providing an enjoyable escape for any fan of high fantasy.

The US Review of Books

The Kings Death
by Ed Cannon
book review by Barbara Bamberger Scott

“Sillik here can see the truth of things before anyone I know.”

Prince Sillik, the youngest son of King Saldor of Illicia, is the prime mover in this action-packed fantasy. The father detects the boy’s special abilities early on. At age nine, Sillik produces fire with a wave of his hands and befriends a huge wild bird—the common means of transportation—after being prompted by the goddess Silvia. Sillik will act fearlessly, fighting and winning a war, while employing magic and his sharp wits against a consortium of evil beings. He will have an ally—Prince Lysander of Aceon, a cadre of warriors led by stalwart general Ramos, and two special supporters: his consort and someday wife, Renee, and Briana, a bold female warrior. When Saldor and his brothers are lost in the fray, Sillik assumes the Illician throne, even as his future enemies are being conjured from the souls of the conquered.

Author Cannon, in creating this second part of an envisioned trilogy, has clearly delved deeply into the genre his works typify, evoking inevitable comparisons to The Lord of the Rings and A Game of Thrones. There is an infusion of medieval realism here, making it easy for the reader to picture the settings and the action based on historical annals of costume, weaponry, and royal intrigue. This volume can be enjoyed as a stand-alone, though reference to the first book, The Kings’ Assassin, will amplify the current story. A strength of Cannon’s writing is his portrayal of well-rounded characters seen through their actions and lively dialogue. Another is his focus on notably strong women, such as Briana, Jacqueline, Renee, and Lysander’s frustratingly contentious mother, Queen of Aceon. True to the genre, many magical elements underpin the fast-moving plot. Cannon is doubtless building an enthusiastic fan base for his dynamic series that may aid in transmuting it to other media formats.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review