Those Above

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A touch of class

Re­lease Date: 26 Fe­bru­ary

410 pages | Hard­back/ ebook Au­thor: Daniel Polan­sky Pub­lisher: Hod­der & Stoughton

Class is a con­cept that

epic fan­tasy of­ten avoids deal­ing with – af­ter all, why talk about real so­cial is­sues when there are quests to com­plete and dragons to fight? How­ever, one in­ter­est­ing side ef­fect of the re­cent darker strain of fan­tasy epics is that au­thors are in­creas­ingly en­gag­ing with po­lit­i­cal ideas, and the lat­est ex­am­ple is the grip­ping new novel from Daniel Polan­sky, au­thor of the ac­claimed Low Town tril­ogy.

This first of the Empty Throne se­ries, Those Above, is set in a world where most of hu­man­ity has spent the last 3,000 years un­der the rule of a group of near- im­mor­tal be­ings. All civil­i­sa­tion is now sub­ject to the needs of “Those Above”, but rum­blings of dis­con­tent and re­bel­lion are hap­pen­ing, and a num­ber of char­ac­ters find their fates in­ter­twined with their rulers – in­clud­ing a vi­o­lent young crim­i­nal, and the only war­rior to ever de­feat an im­mor­tal in sin­gle com­bat…

Polan­sky has pulled off a pol­ished fan­tasy thriller that’s very much in the Ge­orge RR Martin/ Joe Abercrombie vein, but has still given the book its own dis­tinc­tive style and voice, along­side plenty of evoca­tive world- build­ing. As with most open­ing vol­umes, much of Those Above is stage- set­ting for what’s to come, but the var­i­ous char­ac­ter con­flicts are al­ready in­trigu­ing, and there’s also some pow­er­ful sub­texts about so­cial bar­ri­ers be­tween the haves and the have- nots. If Polan­sky can keep ex­plor­ing this kind of rel­e­vant ma­te­rial, the Empty Throne looks set to be a fas­ci­nat­ing and provoca­tive saga. Saxon Bul­lock Also re­cently re­leased: “A Drink Be­fore We Die”, an ebook short story set in the world of Polan­sky’s Low Town tril­ogy.

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