The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone

This might surprise you, but I don’t really read fantasy fiction. You might have gleaned otherwise from the slew of Terry Pratchett and JK Rowling books on my shelf, but those are two of the most widely-read authors in Britain. I’m not much of a reader lately, but my go-to fare is more of the Michael Crichton variety. I enjoy clean, efficient, unobtrusive prose – which also explains the few Stephen King books that share that shelf.

So that’s the real reason for the Greg Keyes novels, which came recommended from a friend. When I heard he was writing the Elder Scrolls spin-off books, I instantly understood why he’d been chosen, since his world and Bethesda’s are so similar as to seem interchangeable. What they share is a mundane sense of the magical – its presence is as low-key and matter-of-fact as the sci-fi in Battlestar Galactica. What’s kept in the foreground is the real drama of a highly-charged political situation, and the carnage of its graphically-described battle scenes. In that, it’s closer to one of the many dramatisations of the Tudor royals than your usual Elves-and-sorcery nonsense.  Continue reading