King’s Table- Travis Daniel Bow

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I haven’t read Thane, the first in the sure to at least be trilogy, so I can confidently report that King’s Table works very well as a standalone. This is fantasy fare that exists in some timeless parallel space between the invention of advanced metallic crafts and the end of the tyranny of kings, in a sort of fantasy “middle-ages”. I believe it is reasonable to put this book in a “Game of Thrones” category genre, if that makes any sense to those familiar with Bow’s writing as everyone apart from me sees to be familiar with George Martin’s. This book is definitely suitable to all those competent enough and or likely to read it, in other words without containing passages of Games of Thrones ‘adult fantasy’.
Bow is a more than competent writer with the skills to see through an interesting and complex plot. The two more than often go unmatched. My only criticism is that some of the timelines between different threads of the story were difficult for me to match, though that really didn’t trip my enjoyment. I was particularly attracted by Bow’s ability to write convincing fantasy without sudden recourse to strings of left of centre ‘magic’ technologies to rescue characters from cul-de-sacs in the story. This is a full length novel which maintains plenty of tension even when the plot becomes centred on military manoeuvres rather than character interaction. The story requires one to memorise quiet a lot, as some characters almost disappear between the chapters in which they are highlighted. So it probably doesn’t pay to leave the book too long between readings. This is epic fantasy, with big visions in a vast vista running in parallel with the affairs of individuals. The character hopping is generally from chapter to chapter, so there can’t really be too much structural criticism, but perhaps an index of characters and their main relationships would help especially for those that haven’t recently read book one.
I didn’t notice very often as I was immersed in the drama, but there are some strange word choices at times that raise an eyebrow. There is nothing so incoherent that it is going to hinder most people’s enjoyment, but I felt that another line edit would have picked up many unintended sillies.
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