Sending off sagas with new novels
By Caroline Ho, Arts Editor
The most painful thing about reading a novel series—aside from the heartbreak we get when our favourite characters die tragically—is waiting for the next book to be published, especially if it’s been years since the last installment. However, it also makes the satisfaction all the sweeter when the last book is finally released and all those plot threads are resolved. Hopefully, that resolution happens in these upcoming series finishers. Warning: Spoilers ahead for the earlier books of all of these series.
Assassin’s Fate (The Fitz and the Fool, Book 3)
This is the last volume in Robin Hobb’s latest trilogy, but it also comes after three other trilogies, one quartet, and a novella all set in Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings—counting the first two novels of The Fitz and the Fool, that’s 16 preceding books, starting with Assassin’s Apprentice (1995). Plenty of time to get in a full re-read before Assassin’s Fate comes out in May 2017.
The Fitz and the Fool stars FitzChivalry Farseer, the tragic and agonizingly sympathetic hero of many of Hobb’s other Elderlings books. Once assassin and advisor to kings, adept user of Wit and Skill Magic, and condemned traitor to the crown, Fitz is now happily married to his childhood sweetheart Molly and living a comfortable middle-aged life on his estate at Withywoods, until his tumultuous past catches up with him again. After so many books of character development, it shouldn’t be surprising that Hobb manages to make readers even more emotionally invested with each new book, but it means we’ve had a lot of anticipation and anxiety built up over Fitz’s fate.
Tyrant’s Throne (The Greatcoats, Book 4)
Sebastien de Castell’s take on the Three Musketeers trope comes to a conclusion this April. It’s full of witty dialogue, it’s grim and down-to-earth when it needs to be, and not once throughout the last three books has this fast-paced, swashbuckling adventure slackened in fun.
Falcio val Mond is the First Cantor of the Greatcoats, the fallen-from-grace magistrate force of the country of Tristia. De Castell’s first three books saw Falcio and his fellow Greatcoats restore the daughter of a king to her birthright, defy countless corrupt dukes, fight dozens of duels, take down armies of knights, go up against a God and an evil priesthood, and come alarmingly near death at least once every 50 pages. The series is bolstered by the obvious fencing expertise of de Castell and the clever quips of his characters. Tyrant’s Throne promises a grand conclusion to this spry sword-fighting-filled story.
The Fall of Dragons (The Traitor Son Cycle, Book 5)
The Traitor Son Cycle is probably one of the most realistic medieval high fantasy series out there, even with the substantial presence of magic, supernatural creatures (the Wild), and, of course, dragons. Author Miles Cameron is a trained historian and spent years as an officer in the US Navy, and his knowledge of the Middle Ages and warfare is abundantly apparent in his writing, as he describes the logistics and military tactics of medieval armies with mastery.
The Fall of Dragons, set to come out in October, is expected to weave together all the conflicts of previous volumes in a campaign that spans multiple regions of Cameron’s culturally rich version of Europe. Protagonist Gabriel Muriens, known as the Red Knight (the name of the first novel), has gone from mercenary captain to Queen’s champion to duke to emperor, but he’s just one of many players in a millennia-old battle, with ancient powers on all sides. With an atmosphere both historical and fantastical, an intricate magic system, and charming touches of romance, it will be both thrilling and devastating to say goodbye to this gritty and engrossing world.