Stephen Donaldson devoted many years to his epic creation, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. Now he is back with an all new novella - 40,000 words of richly imagined fantasy with beautiful world building and intense characterisation. The perfect listen for existing fans and new listeners alike.
A man on a horse, confident in his powers but alone, rides a long and lonely road through rain-soaked woods. But he is on a path that he knows, and he is bringing much-needed justice with him. Four guards stop him. But not for long.
Stephen Donaldson has clearly loved the opportunity to create an all new fantasy, and this audiobook is a timely reminder of the power of his storytelling, which has inspired a generation of listeners and authors alike.
©2015 Stephen Donaldson (P)2016 Orion Publishing Group Limited
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“The Kings Justice” is a fantasy novella of sorcerers, elemental forces, and good versus evil.
It begins with the enigmatic, cloaked figure who calls himself “Black” arriving at a small town settlement called “Settler’s Crossways.” He’s driven by a burning purpose that draws him on, a need to ensure that a terrible war between elemental forces is not repeated. He can smell evil, and Settler’s Crossway’s reeks of it. He gradually learns of the brutal murder of a small boy that has left the community stunned and reeling. What has this to do with his wider mission? Is someone or something attempting to conjure monstrous new elemental forces? What is the nature of “The King’s Justice” that the townsfolk have called for and how can Black deliver it?
This book is a rock hard diamond of compact storytelling. Not one word is superfluous, each syllable drives the story forward with a terrible urgency. In 119 pages it’s a masterclass in concentrated world-building. Donaldson’s Kingdom of elemental wars, Sorcerers, “Shapers” and “Shaped men” focused on a small community visited by a terrible evil has complete narrative integrity. Black is a familiar genre figure, the driven, cloaked and armed loner as an agent of justice. But the difference here is that he is a “shaped man,” covered with glyphs and sigils that can summon the elemental magic he strives to keep in balance in his world.
The tale’s examination of wider themes of good and evil does not stop at cliche. They are powerful and transcendent. The evil here is not just a fuming Dark Lord, but crimes of the most appalling violence that unfortunately we are all to familiar with in our own world. Donaldson writes compellingly of the effect of these crimes on those most closely affected, such as a grieving father. The powers of goodness are described are not twee or completely overshadowed by the evil as in some current popular fantasy series, but compelling and redemptive. Donaldson starts by having a his hero describe a reductive worldview where the world and all its elemental forces are all there is,(substitute these forces for science and our world and you’ll get the idea), and then transcends it as Black and those around him experience much more.
This is narrated by the excellent Scott Brick. His reading has a contained, driven passion that completely suits the tale.
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