The Justice of Kings (Empire of the Wolf #1) (Hardcover)
The King is a busy man, trying to serve the whole kingdom. But it is very hard to keep track of all the little towns and villages outside the capital's walls. Enter the King's Justice. A Justice resembles a tax-collector, traveling to the far reaches of the kingdom, making sure the King's laws (instead of taxes) are being upheld. A Justice has full authority and acts as judge, jury, and even executioner - all rolled into one. This is the story of Justice Sir Konrad Vonvalt and the murder of a Highborn woman in a small town on the outskirts of the Kingdom. While he is away there is treason in the capital, and the King is in danger.
Unlike the typical fantasy book, there is very little magic in the world of The Justice of Kings, but what it lacks in magic it makes up tenfold in worldbuilding and character development. Can Sir Konrad find who murdered the woman in time to make it back and help his King? Could the murder be a plot to keep the Justice away from the capital?
This debut from Richard Swan is the ideal book for someone who loves fantasy, mystery, and adventure. This stunner is already a contender for my favorite book of 2022. Pair it with Age of Ash to start the year off perfectly.
Action, intrigue, and magic collide in this epic fantasy following Sir Konrad Vonvalt, an Emperor's Justice, who is a detective, judge, and executioner all in one—but with rebellion and unrest building, these are dangerous times to be a Justice . . .
The Empire of the Wolf simmers with unrest. Rebels, heretics, and powerful patricians all challenge the power of the Imperial throne.
Only the Order of Justices stands in the way of chaos. Sir Konrad Vonvalt is the most feared Justice of all, upholding the law by way of his sharp mind, arcane powers, and skill as a swordsman. At his side stands Helena Sedanka, his talented protégé, orphaned by the wars that forged the Empire.
When the pair investigates the murder of a provincial aristocrat, they unearth a conspiracy that stretches to the very top of Imperial society. As the stakes rise and become ever more personal, Vonvalt and Helena must make a choice: Will they abandon the laws they’ve sworn to uphold, in order to protect the Empire?
"Richard Swan's sophisticated take on the fantasy genre will leave readers hungry for more." – Sebastien de Castell, author of Spellslinger
“A fantastic debut.” – Peter McLean, author of Priest of Bones
When he is not working, Richard can be found in London with his wonderful wife Sophie, where they attempt to raise, with mixed results, their two very loud sons.
"A stunning piece of modern fantasy writing."—RJ Barker, author of The Bone Ships
"The Justice of Kings is utterly compelling, thoroughly engrossing, and written with such skillful assurance I could barely put it down. The characters feel so real I swear I suffered every horror and hangover alongside them, and their world—though we see just the smallest portion of it here—feels vastly complex, poised on the brink of a disaster I can’t wait to watch unfold.”—Nicholas Eames, author of Kings of the Wyld
“A fascinating look at justice, vengeance and the law — great characters, compelling and wonderfully written. A brilliant debut and fantastic start to the series.”—James Islington, author of The Shadow of What Was Lost
"A marvelously detailed world with an engrossing adventure from a unique perspective."—K. S. Villoso, author of The Wolf of Oren-Yaro
"A fantastic debut."—Peter McLean, author of Priest of Bones
"Swan crafts a strong, dynamic character in Vonvalt . . . This promises good things from the series to come."—Publishers Weekly
“Murder mystery meets grimdark political fantasy in this first of a trilogy … An intriguingly dark deconstruction of a beloved mystery trope.”—Kirkus (starred review)
“The world of the Empire of the Wolf is a rich and interesting one … Readers will enjoy the world building, Sir Konrad and his crew, and the unique touches to a familiar fantasy tale.”—Booklist
"Richard Swan's expertise in the law and understanding of political complexities shine in this grim dark fantasy filled with just that. Prejudice, morality, and the law itself don't escape his keen examination and are laid bare to the reader within Empire of the Wolf."—R. R. Virdi, author of The First Binding
“The Justice of Kings instantly claimed a place as one of my favourite reads of the year. With vivid characters, impeccable storytelling, and an eloquent voice, it combines so many elements I love – mystery, brooding war, necromancy and a cast of characters who felt so real, I was loathe to turn the final page. It was absolutely riveting, and I can’t wait to continue the series.”—H. M. Long, author of Hall of Smoke