Series: Greatcoats #4
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books (June 6, 2017)
Length: 400 pages
My Rating: 5 stars
Few series transcend their genre, bring readers of differing tastes together to brave dangers along behind its heroes. But when one does, this saga finds itself held up as an all-time great; descriptive terms such as the matchless, the peerless, the unparalleled pinnacle of the genre, and other even more flowery terms thrown around. At the end of the day though, what brands a series as a timeless classic is how it is remembered going forward, especially how many of its fans continue to recommend it to new reader for years and decades to come. Sebastien de Castell’s Greatcoats series now among that small, heralded group of fantasy sagas for me personally. Tyrant’s Throne delivering the finishing touches to propel it into the best swashbuckling fantasy ever written; Falcio val Mond and comrades able to proudly parade among the elites of the genre. And I for one will be trumpeting its praises for as long as I draw breath.
As the concluding chapter in the Greatcoats series, Tyrant’s Throne immediately takes off with the daring do, wisecracking laughs and twisted, political machinations it has become known for. The wedding of two Tristian royals lending itself to yet another rousing dose of Castell action with our leading man pronouncing proudly the most memorable lines since Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride:
My name, your lordship, is Falcio val Mond. . . I am the First Cantor of the Greatcoats, also called the King’s Heart. You might not know it yet . . . but you are having a very bad day.
As our viewpoint character, Falcio Val Mond has guided readers from the grim depths of Traitor’s Blade through the frantic trials of Knight’s Shadow to the gloomy despair of Saint’s Blood. His constant soul searching, self-induced delusions, unflinching devotion, and unfailing determination the constant pole around which the seething pool of vile politics, horrid sacrifices, and grim deeds revolve in the quest to place King Paelis’ daughter Aline on the throne of Tristia. Yet, now, when he is so close to completing his last mission for his beloved king, circumstances grow even worse for Falcio.
First, there is a war brewing with the Avareans. Second, there is a final showdown with the horrible Trin, who has done nothing but torment our hero at every turn. And, third, Falcio finds any unexpected enemy — his own self. His demons come to torment him; his most cherished memories turned into horrid illusions of the truth; the very foundation of his life as a Greatcoat rocked by the revelations he must confront. The terrible spiraling of events and choices threatening to send our hero into an abyss of despair from which even he cannot ascend.
But as always, Falcio is not cowed by any threat. His single-minded faith in his beloved ideals causing him to move ever forward, even when he makes terrible mistakes. Our hero able to stand proudly before his innumerable, more powerful foes at the worst of moments and flippantly declare, “Everyone hush now . . . I’m about to be impressive.”
And he is. No matter the trial, the grief, the torment, or the disillusion, Falcio val Mond is a man of ideal, a warrior of principle, who will not give in to the forces dragging him down. He is the King’s Heart, and such a man can never be defeated!
I have to say I really didn’t believe there was anything left for Sebastien de Castell to throw at Falcio after three books. He has been tortured (mentally and emotionally), seen his dreams shattered more than a few times, and faced the death of all he loved seemingly at every turn. But I was wrong yet again, for Tyrant’s Throne plunges our hero into even greater fires of adversity, forcing him to take a long look at himself and his beliefs before raising the more refined version of my favorite Greatcoat like a blazing phoenix. It is harsh, painful to read at times, but it is such a perfect ending to our hero’s journey that I cannot now imagine Falcio and the Greatcoats’ story ending any other way.
Mixed into the exquisite flagellation, Sebastien de Castell still dazzles with his ability to deliver swashbuckling action, amazing camaraderie, funny moments, and classic heroics. His narrative finding the perfect balance between every emotion, tugging your heart strings one way and another; each twist in the plot spanning the spectrum from crushing despair to soaring excitement. Tyrant’s Throne giving its frequent readers everything they could have ever hoped for in a finale, leaving one awed yet heartbroken that it had to finally come to an end.
Since my return to the fantasy genre about four years ago, Sebastien de Castell is among my favorites authors; his Greatcoats series listed among my most beloved fantasy series ever, resting proudly next to those of Tolkien, Donaldson, and many more. And while Tyrant’s Throne is a fitting ending to this adventure, I dearly hope it will not be our last visit to the colorful world of Falcio and friends. This place having too many fascinating stories yet to tell. But until then, I will cherish my memories of my adventures riding and fighting alongside Falcio and the Greatcoats, proclaiming to all the villains of the world that “THE GREATCOATS ARE COMING!”
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank them for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.