The key To The Grave

Rated 4.25/5 based on 4 reviews
My name is Sumto. I have met the enemies of the city and prevailed, admittedly as much by luck as judgement. I could not have garnered the little success I can boast had I been alone: there is Sapphire, an assassin in the employ of my father; Meran, my former slave; and there is Jocasta, a sorceress of unexpected skill and strength. They all seem to care about me more than I probably deserve. More

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Words: 105,340
Language: English
ISBN: 9781452346427
About Chris Northern

In between bouts of writing, Chris Northern does other things. He says he has no hobbies of his own, but is more than happy to go do things that other people enjoy. Exploring caves, wondering around castles and hiking are just a few examples. Swimming is pretty much out, though. No gills, no swimming. Boats are okay, just so long as they work. He does not get seasick. Or airsick.

Chris Northern lives wherever he happens to be and will move at the drop of a hat. Any hat. To anywhere. Though if it is cold he will likely not stay long. Just long enough to drive a 4X4 over a glacier, maybe.

He is often to be found eying the horizon; shortly thereafter, he is often found to be gone.

Chris Northern writes Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Concealed Kingdoms (Fantasy)

The King's Ward
The Heir Reluctant

The Price of Freedom (quartet of fantasy novels)

The Last King's Amulet
The Key To The Grave
The Invisible Hand
All The King's Bastards

Dancing with Darwin (A collection of related Science Fiction stories)Also Available Individually

Rapture Ready
Headed Home
Evolving Environment
Dangerous Delusions

Young Adult SF

Loser´s Flight

Also in Series: The Price of Freedom

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Review by: Carol on April 10, 2012 :
Sumto continues the adventure begun in The Last King's Amulet. This book closes off many of the threads left in the previous book although the series continues. Lots of action with good characters.
(reviewed 2 years after purchase)

Review by: Guy Antibes on Aug. 25, 2011 :
The character Sumto is well conceived. There is a magic system that still seems to be developing with the 'stones' of power and the spirit magic of those outside the city.

However, the political considerations begin to drag in this volume and is a millstone to the next volume (Invisible Hand). The action is good. There are sufficient twists, but I'd rather get into the story rather be relentlessly pummeled over the head with economic theory (that I agree with, by the way).
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)

Review by: Gordon Tait on Aug. 25, 2011 :
Great book. At this price a must read for fantasy fans.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)

Review by: Nichola Marshall on July 15, 2011 : (no rating)
Yet again another fantastical read! Can't wait for book 3, 4, 5...., you get the picture. If you enjoy fantasy, magic, fighting, the living dead, then you will definitely enjoy this, although it is a must to read 'The Last Kings Amulet' first - which is equally as good. Thanks Chris for another great read!
(reviewed 64 days after purchase)

Review by: Maureen Gill on Nov. 15, 2010 :
Although I thoroughly enjoyed this book's prequel ("The Last King's Amulet") and recommended it highly, I did suggest that it ended too abruptly. Upon hindsight, and having now had the pleasure of reading "The Key to the Grave," I think it would have been more accurate to say "The Last King's Amulet" was something akin to a great Chinese dinner: thoroughly delicious but for some reason not totally satisfying. My hunger pains have now been fully satiated! "The Key to the Grave" is the equivalent of a 7-course feast and "The Last King's Amulet" was but a teasing appetizer to whet the appetite. Taken together, one has no grounds for any complaints and should be fully satisfied. I strongly encourage the author to merge both books into one because neither is well served without the other (my fear would be that "The Key to the Grave" might not be as well received as it deserves if read without the advantage of first having read TLKA.). I praised Chris Northern for his character development in TLKA but it's in this sequel that he really demonstrates the fullness of his talent for characterization and nuanced development. Sumto, as I said before in my earlier review of the first book, was redeemed by his self-awareness, among other things, but in "The Key to the Grave" he matures even more beautifully. In this book we see Sumto's earlier sardonic wit and hedonism ripen into a mature and well reasoned pragmatism as his irresponsible preference for the easy way out is replaced by a warrior's commitment to values beyond one's own immediate self-interest. In this sequel, Sumto's amorality is replaced with a moral awareness (in one example he denounces slavery in a world clearly not yet having gone through such enlightenment) and his innate cleverness is morphed into a richly nuanced intellectualism and wisdom. I especially enjoyed how Sumto respected and then came to deeply love Jocasta and, in the end, found it remarkable that after fighting so savagely for her he had the wisdom and reserve to allow her to claim a far different destiny than the one his own dream envisioned. This ending left me somewhat conflicted because the feminist in me wanted to applaud Jocasta on one level while the romantic in me wanted to kick her in the butt and ask her what the hell she was doing... and do you know why? Because (and this is telling) by then I had fallen in love with Sumto and thought Jocasta was making a grave mistake. To me this is the proof of Northern's success -- having first found Sumto somewhat shallow and juvenile I now found him quite manly in all the best ways and in that regard he became attractive to me. Perhaps in the next book (which I would encourage the author to write) we'll learn more about Jocasta's reasoning and whether it was wise. I hope so anyway because as full as this meal made me, I could still be talked into dessert. (Maureen Gill, author of "January Moon")

[PS to Northern: I'd still like to see you write historical fiction!]
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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