The Stone in the Skull

The Stone in the Skull

Book - 2017
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Hugo Award-winning author Elizabeth Bear returns to her critically acclaimed epic fantasy world of the Eternal Sky with a brand new trilogy.

Best SFF Books 2017-- The Guardian
Kirkus Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2017
The Verge Recommended Fantasy for 2017
Locus 2017 Recommended Reading List

The Stone in the Skull , the first volume in her new trilogy, takes readers over the dangerous mountain passes of the Steles of the Sky and south into the Lotus Kingdoms.

The Gage is a brass automaton created by a wizard of Messaline around the core of a human being. His wizard is long dead, and he works as a mercenary. He is carrying a message from the most powerful sorcerer of Messaline to the Rajni of the Lotus Kingdom. With him is The Dead Man, a bitter survivor of the body guard of the deposed Uthman Caliphate, protecting the message and the Gage. They are friends, of a peculiar sort.

They are walking into a dynastic war between the rulers of the shattered bits of a once great Empire.

The Lotus Kingdoms
#1 The Stone in the Skull

The Eternal Sky Trilogy
#1 Range of Ghosts
#2 Shattered Pillars
#3 Steles of the Sky

Publisher: New York :, Tor,, 2017
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780765380135
Branch Call Number: FIC Bear
Characteristics: 366 pages : map


From the critics

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May 26, 2019

I will read more of Elizabeth Bear based on this book. I liked it enough to pre-order the sequel.

It is not fast paced. The gradual progression of things was difficult at times. On the other hand it`s a book where everything feels thoroughly considered and deliberate. The world feels like a real place and the cultures feel like real cultures. It is all crafted and well planned. The characters become increasingly compelling in the course of the book, and the suspense of the undercurrent of impending doom drew me in almost without me realizing it. I appreciated it took the themes of purpose and identity seriously and made them part of the story.
It was slow overall but the action scenes were well done.
The Gage was a great discovery. As far as non-human android/robot type characters go he is one of my favourites.

JessicaGma Jul 10, 2018

I really liked this story about the Dead Man and the Gage, but also all the backstory on the kingdoms in the area because you know war is happening at any moment. I didn't find it slow moving and liked the female characters quite a bit. The romance maybe wasn't terribly organic, but hey, when you're a rajni, you can't be picky. Looking forward to more adventures of the Gage and the Dead Man

Mar 09, 2018

This book is extremely slow. I read a few chapters and couldn't continue. Too many words.

Nov 27, 2017

There is two problems with this book:
1. There is no climax what so ever. This entire book does not have a three act structure at all. It is completely one act. All set up no pay off.
2. There is a physical romantic relationship between two main characters that occurs in the middle of the book with no build up at all. It's just BAM. The author uses it as justification to nail the main characters to a conflict neither of them are invested in. It's shoddy and just...disappointing.

On a high note, the world building is great, I did enjoy the two male characters. I thought they were interesting. The female characters weren't bad...they were just boring and rather passive heroes.

Over all it was disappointing. Leave it be and find something else to read.

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