Great and terrible changes are coming to the lands. Beasts thought only to be legends have been seen, bringing death and ruin, and some say that the Briar King has awakened. The Briar King by Greg Keyes is the opening book in a four part epic fantasy saga, The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, which follows in the footsteps of J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula K. LeGuin, and others.
It is the year 2,223 in the age of Everon, and it has been two millennia since humanity threw off its bondage to the Skasloi lords. Young Anne Dare, the princess of Crotheny is just starting to be aware of life outside of her childish fancies, while grizzled Aspar White, the King’s Holter is obsessed by the changes he observes in the King’s Forest. Young squire Neil MeqVren comes to the capital of Eslen hoping to earn his spurs and become a knight, only to find himself in the center of a maelstrom of political and religious intrigue and violence. Finally, there is Brother Stephen, traveling alone through the King’s Forest to his new abbey home only to begin to discover that the great evil that can fester in the heart of humanity is far closer than he ever dreamed of. All of these people are tied together to the future of this world, as is the Briar King, and all will be challenged beyond what they know in order to save all that is dear to them.
The Briar King is a well crafted, character driven tale that handles the questions of humanity versus nature, personal desires versus the greater necessity, and of course good versus evil.