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A Crown for Cold Silver


A Crown for Cold Silver

It was all going so nicely, right up until the massacre.

As opening lines of a novel go, this one that sets off A CROWN FOR COLD SILVER will grab you. What follows is the details of a band of marauders taking over a quaint village and slaughtering the folk who live there. When they come to aged Zosia, wife of the mayor who was slain, they don’t expect the wrinkles that line her face to be wrinkles --- they are old battle scars, and she is the general who led her own mercenary army into battle 20 years prior. She dispatches her would-be captors and sets off to seek bloody vengeance and justice for those who lost their lives. To do so, she must reunite the Five Villains and pull down The Queen and The Pope who rule the Crimson Empire.

"[I]f you want an intriguing story, one full of larger-than-life heroes...then A CROWN FOR COLD SILVER is just what you’re looking for."

Zosia is fiendishly clever, brutally capable in combat and, though you might not expect it in a book as bleak as A CROWN FOR COLD SILVER, very funny. It is also a nice change of pace to see such an up-front protagonist who is not only female, but also in her 50s and starting to ache as she has grown older. Her view of the world is colored differently than someone of a 20-year-old persuasion.

Things don’t stay quite so simple as a revenge-to-set-the-wrongs-right kind of book. You see, The Queen, Indsorith, has quite a conflict of her own with the Church of the Burnished Chain. Oh, and there’s the rival empire causing unrest that requires her attention. And if that weren’t enough, Zosia has an imposter --- a younger, scantily clad warrior princess posing as the aged legend leading an outlaw army. Throwing all of these together can certainly stir up the hornet’s nest.

Alex Marshall, a pseudonym, has put together a compelling, entertaining and well-crafted series debut. The world-building is well done, and the characters are all clearly defined. One of the great achievements of A CROWN FOR COLD SILVER is how different characters react to the same event based on their own individual knowledge of the particulars of said event. Keep a notepad handy, though; there are a lot of characters to remember.

A CROWN FOR COLD SILVER is a success. It is a strong book. Admittedly, it will not be for everyone. It has moments of slowness that can lead readers to set the book down for a while before drifting back, but they should drift back because ultimately the story is one worth reading. And bearing the mantle of the grimdark side of fantasy --- one in which hope is an endangered species in a world beset by blood, war and deception --- well, some readers prefer a more lighthearted approach to their reading palette.

All told, though, if you want an intriguing story, one full of larger-than-life heroes --- male AND female --- and you don’t mind the political intrigues and power plays, and a world deep enough to explore for 600 pages and still want to know more, then A CROWN FOR COLD SILVER is just what you’re looking for.

Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard on June 5, 2015

A Crown for Cold Silver
by Alex Marshall

  • Publication Date: September 15, 2015
  • Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Fiction
  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit
  • ISBN-10: 0316379417
  • ISBN-13: 9780316379410