The Skull Throne (The Demon Cycle)
by Peter V. Brett
Cover Artist: Larry Rostant
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Del Rey Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345531483
Date: 31 March 2015 List Price $28.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The Daylight War continues even as the war against the demons picks up steam. The fate of the potential Deliverer's, Arlen and Jardir, are unknown to most. The scramble for position and power begins as the children of Jardir try to take over even as Inevera tries to hold onto her position. The world is in chaos and the new moon is coming, and with it, the next demon attacks. Enemies will become allies as the fate of humanity is held in the balance.
Arlen and Jardir make a pact to forgo their other issues to take the war to the demons. In order to fight them, they need to find a way deep into the earth. There is a way, but it is fraught with danger.
In Evram's Bounty, once known as Fort Rizon, Inevera works to hold her people together and save her children. But she is not the only one with plans. Some want to come into their full power, others want to have Inevera's. Jardir and Inevera's two oldest sons, Jayan and Asome, vie to replace their father and sit on the Skull Throne. Inevera needs a plan to keep her sons from fighting, a foreign enemy is always good at uniting her people.
Those in the Hollow are in less turmoil, but they prepare for fights with both demons and Krasians. The expansion of the wards continues, making more of the Hollow safe. The leadership of Thamos is bringing both growth and prosperity. Rojer and his wives go to Fort Angiers to assist Leesha, but an old enemy will once again try to hurt Rojer.
Abban has discovered another long lost secret. The secret of a very powerful metal. His palace is growing as is his power. When Jardir goes missing though, he is at great risk from many enemies. He must find a way to make himself indispensable. He does, but his alliance will lead him into danger as part of the Daylight War.
This is the fourth main storyline novel in the Demon Cycle. As a later novel in the series, it is not the best starting point for new readers. There are also a few novellas set in the same universe that detail some of the characters that appear in the story. I have not read all of the novella's so I can't guarantee that they are reasonable entry points.
Briar, main character in the Messenger's Legacy novella, becomes a point of view character. I admit to having a special enjoyment of the Briar chapters as I first came into the series through his novella. I was able to follow the action and actually wanted to read more after this taste.
The world that Brett has created has a bit of a Middle Eastern feel to it. It isn't a direct correlation, but there are definitely some elements of the Krasians that feel like early Islam. I struggled for a while as the action seemed to be moving in only one direction. Then came a twist, well two twists, that will change the action going forward. I really don't know what to expect in the next volume of the series.
Brett does a good job of keeping the action rolling along. This series is similar to those of Django Wexler, Daniel Abraham, and Patrick Rothfuss. Fans of their series will find something to enjoy here as well.