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.