A Crown For Cold Sil­ver

The lady van­ishes. Then re­turns

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Rated / Books -

Re­lease Date: 16 April 646 pages | Hard­back Au­thor: Alex Mar­shall Pub­lisher: Or­bit A Crown for Cold Sil­ver is ap­par­ently “per­fect for fans of Scott Lynch and Joe Abercrombie”, but try to ig­nore the PR blurb; it has none of the keen wit of the for­mer and lacks the po­etic rhythm of the lat­ter. But that’s not to say that “Alex Mar­shall” doesn’t weave a strong tale in his/ her fan­tasy de­but, with el­e­ments of hu­mour, zippy dia­logue and mo­ments of grisly dark­ness.

It’s cer­tainly epic enough. Hav­ing faked her own death and re­tired to a quiet moun­tain vil­lage, leg­endary gen­eral Cobalt Zosia is forced back into ac­tion when her hus­band and friends are mur­dered by troops loyal to the Queen of the Crim­son Em­pire. Like any good fan­tasy hero­ine, Zosia swears vengeance and em­barks on a quest to seek out old co­horts, amass an army and bring down the Em­pire. The trou­ble is, Zosia is 20 years older and not every­body is pleased to see her.

With a nar­ra­tive that flits be­tween mul­ti­ple char­ac­ters, in­clud­ing Zosia, the rogu­ish ex- vil­lain Maroto and a “weird­born” war­rior nun, the story takes time to gather any mo­men­tum. It dil­ly­dal­lies with its world- build­ing, which will annoy any­one who craves a brisker pace.

You might end up putting the book down. But even if you don’t find all of the view­point char­ac­ters com­pelling ( and some aren’t), you’ll want to know what hap­pens to at least one of them. Dean Evans Ap­par­ently, “Alex Mar­shall is a pseu­do­nym for an ac­claimed au­thor who has pre­vi­ously pub­lished sev­eral nov­els.” But who?

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