A Crown For Cold Silver
The lady vanishes. Then returns
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?