The One Kingdom (The Swan’s War #1)

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This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot,, Booklikes & Librarything and linked at Goodreads & Mobileread by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title:        The One Kingdom
Series:     The Swan’s War #1
Author:   Sean Russell
Rating:    5 of 5 Stars
Genre:     Fantasy
Pages:      544
Format:   Digital Edition

 

 

Synopsis:

Magician’s don’t die. If they’re powerful enough, they can exist without going through Death’s Gate.

Hundreds of years ago, the children of the most powerful magician the world had ever known were each given a gift from their father. Their choices split the One Kingdom and resulted in death and devastation.

Now, the families of the Renne’s and the Wills have their own feud that could tear apart the fragile peace of the land. One of the Renne’s is determined to make the peace last while his family plots to assassinate him for such thoughts. The Wills plot to strengthen themselves through marriage with an outside family, the Innes. The Innes are being “guided” by a man who is much more than he appears and much more dangerous than they know.

At the same time, 3 young men from the Northern Vale take a trip down the river to buy horses. They come across a man name Alain and their misfortunes/adventures start. They come into contact with a Naga, the embodiment of the daughter of the magician.

The Naga, Alain and the Guide are all so much more than the people around them know. Can the land survive the return of the Children?

 

My Thoughts:

I went into this really wondering if I was going to like it as much as I did back in ’09. Thankfully, this lived up to my memories and my current expectations of a good book.

This is a slow book. It meanders like the river that much of the story takes place on. In many ways, the river itself is a character, at times benevolent, at other times very malevolent.

Besides being a slow book, it is also very character driven. The Valemen trio start out as the main characters, but Russell deftly moves from group to group, from individual to individual in such a way that I never felt either bored or wanting something else. There is a lot of description of landscapes and what surrounds the characters but for whatever reason I didn’t blow by it like I usually do in other books. I was able to sit back and take it in.

Where I have described Patricia McKillip’s writings as “silk”, Russell’s writing is like a river. Some times meandering, some times fast and furious, some times appearing calm, some times dragging you along a current you don’t even realize you are in. I felt like I was sitting in a boat going down a river while reading this. Why I was intrigued instead of bored, I do not know. But I loved this story.

I also like how Russell portrays magic. It is something dangerous, subtle and never good. It destroys those who use it and hurts those around them. It is not flashy fireballs or the calling forth of demon lords. It is influence, power, strength, persuaviness and the ability to bend others to your will. It is scary.

So another fantastic re-read. Definitely glad that I bought this in hardcover.

star50-custom-custom

 

bookstooge

  1. Review from 2009
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26 thoughts on “The One Kingdom (The Swan’s War #1)

  1. Ooh I love the sound of this one- definitely has me intrigued!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Plus it has great cover art.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nathan says:

    I thought I had read this one. I checked Goodreads though and find no hint. But it sounds familiar. I need to check my best friends shelf, maybe I borrowed it from him and his extensive collection.

    This is going to bug me now.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Manuel Antao says:

    5 stars! Uau! Never heard of it. And I thought I was well read…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      Russell is a little known author who appeared for about 10 books and then I haven’t heard anything more about him.

      It’s no surprise you haven’t heard of him. I’m not sure even how I came across him. My guess is my library…

      Like

  5. Manuel Antao says:

    No. It’ll be the first for me. Thanks for the tip.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like your comparison of this author’s writing to a river: it means that the story keep flowing, no matter the pace – and that’s a high compliment!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This sound great! I love character driven fantasy! I also can appreciate when the paces fluctuates in titles if it is done right. The approach to the magic system is very interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      In all of Russell’s books, the magic is very understated. It almost makes it frustrating to read about, but since he’s focused on his characters, the magic doesn’t detract from them. It simply enhances their good, or bad, qualities…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. That sounds really promising. I am surprised I haven’t heard of it before. Will go on my wishlist

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This sounds fantastic. Even if its slow-paced, it feels like it works in its favor. ++ it’s character-driven! Seems like everything is justified.

    The twist on the role of magic also makes this sound like a perfect read. Great review!

    – Lashaan

    Liked by 1 person

  10. […] most satisfying read was a tie between The One Kingdom and Dreams of Distant […]

    Like

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