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The Traitor Son Cycle by Miles Cameron

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I just finished this a moment ago. Great book. The plot and characters were interesting and uncomplicated, though I would agree that we needed more engaging POVs. The Red Knight and Harmodius were the best, to me, while the Queen, Amicia, Mag, and Ranald had great potential without going as far as I wish they had.

As far as plot goes, I was having trouble seeing a trilogy until near the very end, but I suspect a reread will have me seeing signs that I missed along the way.

However, what really makes this book stand out is the excellent portrayal of medieval warfare alongside the magic system. The former was more authentic than almost anything else I've read and the latter, while apparently grounded in actual grimoires and medieval beliefs, was unique among fantasy novels as far as I know.

Will absolutely be picking up the sequel. 5/5.

Peterbound - I had some issues following the Nook version as well, so it's not just you. Part of the problem had to do with type errors.

Speaking of which, a big criticism of the book for me is that it needed better line editing. There is one point where the text indicates that Albinkirk is to the west of Lissen Carak, though in every other instance it seems that they traveled west from Albinkirk towards Lissen Carak. Later (spoilered):

When the king greets Ranald in the abbey's courtyard, the text incorrectly refers to them as brothers, and later still, during the band's trip to the Wyrm, Ranald is called "Ranulf" twice which confused the hell out of me before I realized it was a typo and not a new character.

A few discussion items:

What is the nature of the angel that appeared to Jean de Vrailly? Was it a Power as Thorn believes, or was it something else, not of the Wild? And what are its goals?

What did the IHS on the ring given to the Red Knight?

Where was the Red Knight's family during the battle and siege, since they are apparently charged with defending Alba from the Wild?

Edited by WrathOfTinyKittens

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I just finished this a moment ago. Great book. The plot and characters were interesting and uncomplicated, though I would agree that we needed more engaging POVs. The Red Knight and Harmodius were the best, to me, while the Queen, Amicia, Mag, and Ranald had great potential without going as far as I wish they had.

As far as plot goes, I was having trouble seeing a trilogy until near the very end, but I suspect a reread will have me seeing signs that I missed along the way.

However, what really makes this book stand out is the excellent portrayal of medieval warfare alongside the magic system. The former was more authentic than almost anything else I've read and the latter, while apparently grounded in actual grimoires and medieval beliefs, was unique among fantasy novels as far as I know.

I agree.

This should help explain relationships:

The Red Knight takes off from the stories of King Arthur. The Red Knight is Mordred, the son of Arthur and his half sister, Morgause, only this time the kid is a good guy even though, like the original Mordred, he was brought up by his pagan witch mother to kill the king. In L'Morte d'Arthur, Morgause married King Lot of Orkney and had four sons, one of whom was Gawain. Gawin is Gawain. Meanwhile, the King of Alba is Arthur, Desiderata is Guinevere, Jean de Vraily is Lancelot du Lac. The rest of the characters, as far as I can tell, are original.

Edited by Sand Snake No. 9

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I agree.

This should help explain relationships:

The Red Knight takes off from the stories of King Arthur. The Red Knight is Mordred, the son of Arthur and his half sister, Morgause, only this time the kid is a good guy even though, like the original Mordred, he was brought up by his pagan witch mother to kill the king. In L'Morte d'Arthur, Morgause married King Lot of Orkney and had four sons, one of whom was Gawain. Gawin is Gawain. Meanwhile, the King of Alba is Arthur, Desiderata is Guinevere, Jean de Vraily is Lancelot du Lac. The rest of the characters, as far as I can tell, are original.

SS,

Pretty sure we all got that reference. It's not like he was subtle with it.

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SS,

Pretty sure we all got that reference. It's not like he was subtle with it.

Upthread there did seem to be some questions about relationships and, in particular, what the Captain could have whispered to the King, that would be clarified by identifying the source material. But as long as you know, maybe you can tell me

is there a model for de Vraily's cousin Gaston in the Arthur stories?

I'm rather surprised that there isn't more discussion of this book; I thought it was a rip-roaring good story, I liked the premise

Mordred as the good guy; Lancelot as a crazy aristocrat

, and I really liked the magical system. Good work with the dragons, lol.

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I just finished this a moment ago. Great book. The plot and characters were interesting and uncomplicated, though I would agree that we needed more engaging POVs. The Red Knight and Harmodius were the best, to me, while the Queen, Amicia, Mag, and Ranald had great potential without going as far as I wish they had.

As far as plot goes, I was having trouble seeing a trilogy until near the very end, but I suspect a reread will have me seeing signs that I missed along the way.

However, what really makes this book stand out is the excellent portrayal of medieval warfare alongside the magic system. The former was more authentic than almost anything else I've read and the latter, while apparently grounded in actual grimoires and medieval beliefs, was unique among fantasy novels as far as I know.

Will absolutely be picking up the sequel. 5/5.

Peterbound - I had some issues following the Nook version as well, so it's not just you. Part of the problem had to do with type errors.

Speaking of which, a big criticism of the book for me is that it needed better line editing. There is one point where the text indicates that Albinkirk is to the west of Lissen Carak, though in every other instance it seems that they traveled west from Albinkirk towards Lissen Carak. Later (spoilered):

When the king greets Ranald in the abbey's courtyard, the text incorrectly refers to them as brothers, and later still, during the band's trip to the Wyrm, Ranald is called "Ranulf" twice which confused the hell out of me before I realized it was a typo and not a new character.

A few discussion items:

What is the nature of the angel that appeared to Jean de Vrailly? Was it a Power as Thorn believes, or was it something else, not of the Wild? And what are its goals?

What did the IHS on the ring given to the Red Knight?

Where was the Red Knight's family during the battle and siege, since they are apparently charged with defending Alba from the Wild?

I don't know the answers to the last two questions since they're not clear to me but the angel was a Wyrm, similar to the one that the Captain and Lachlan's met at the end. It looks like this particular Wyrm has plans himself, ones that aren't yet clear to all but plans that the Wyrm the company met is starting to plan against. The Wyrm are the true Powers of the Wild and it looks like they'll be the overarching enemy. It also looked like Thorn was manipulated by that particular dragon as well.

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About the ring:

IHS is a monogram for the name Jesus Christ. A ring engraved with IHS is something a nun, aka a "bride of Christ" might wear.

About Gawin's family;

Based on the source material, Gawin's family has divided loyalties. His mother, in particular, hates the king. That's my best guess as why they didn't appear. It might turn out that they were busy fighting on their own borders.

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This should help explain relationships:

The Red Knight takes off from the stories of King Arthur ... Jean de Vraily is Lancelot du Lac.

Jean de Vrailly is almost certainly also a callout to the historical Jean de Grailly, a noted Gascon knight from the Hundred Years War who was held up as a paragon of chivalry. This is also borne out by the use in the book of the title Captal (a title used in medieval Gascony) and more tenuously by the similarity of the name of de Vrailly's cousin Gaston to the 'Gascon'.

Edited by TempusFugit

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I'm just hoping the author doesn't follow the King Arthur legend too closely and am a little worried how Desiderata has played out so far. As I noted before, the only thing keeping the book from being truly great is the absence of a few more really engaging POVs; preferably, female ones. The book is not hurting for great male characters, and it has a lot of its bases covered with very good POVs handling different aspects of the story. The weak link, I think, is the court culture aspect to the story, with all the nobles and so on. Gawin is separated from that now and Jean de Vraily is too much a foreigner and alien figure to serve in that capacity. All this fell on Desiderata to fill that gap but her character arc was never strong enough to pull it together. Which is a shame because I do think the character has a lot of potential. I'm hoping she improves in the second book. And, really, it would only help if the author added a couple more female POVs -- Sauce and the Red Knight's mother sound swell to me.

Edited by Faint

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Jean de Vrailly is almost certainly also a callout to the historical Jean de Grailly, a noted Gascon knight from the Hundred Years War who was held up as a paragon of chivalry. This is also borne out by the use in the book of the title Captal (a title used in medieval Gascony) and more tenuously by the similarity of the name of de Vrailly's cousin Gaston to the 'Gascon'.

Interesting. Thank you.

I'm just hoping the author doesn't follow the King Arthur legend too closely and am a little worried how Desiderata has played out so far. As I noted before, the only thing keeping the book from being truly great is the absence of a few more really engaging POVs; preferably, female ones. The book is not hurting for great male characters, and it has a lot of its bases covered with very good POVs handling different aspects of the story. The weak link, I think, is the court culture aspect to the story, with all the nobles and so on. Gawin is separated from that now and Jean de Vraily is too much a foreigner and alien figure to serve in that capacity. All this fell on Desiderata to fill that gap but her character arc was never strong enough to pull it together. Which is a shame because I do think the character has a lot of potential. I'm hoping she improves in the second book. And, really, it would only help if the author added a couple more female POVs -- Sauce and the Red Knight's mother sound swell to me.

I don't think that we'll see Desiderata (whom I found rather irritating) in the next book because I don't think it will take place in Alba. I have great hopes for Maggie, however, who has power in her own right, and I assume that the Captain, being a healthy young man, will have one or more love interests in the future, preferably not with a sprite who dances around in her chemise at the least excuse. However, it appears from the author's website and facebook page that he's very interested in medieval warfare, and all those battle scenes don't leave much room women's roles.

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I actually didn't realize the Arthurian parallels, not being familiar with those stories in particular, so thanks for that info. And about the ring.

Are we sure the archangel is a Wyrm in particular? I would have to read that section again but although it is most likely a Power of the Wild (as opposed to a literal angel, which I never thought likely but seemed like an interesting idea), I didn't get the impression that all such Powers were dragons. In fact we have the example of the great golden bear who was a Power (if minor).

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I'm just hoping the author doesn't follow the King Arthur legend too closely

I think the story is going to expand a lot in the coming books ,we will get to see more of the world this series is set in ,at least according to what the author has mentioned -

The Red Knight is the first of a five book series set in an alternative medieval setting. I won’t say ‘Medieval European’ because Byzantine Greece, Islamic North and East Africa, Seljuk Turkey, as well as Iroquoian and Algonquin North America will all play their contributing roles

So,lot's of different cultures to be explored in future books.

The author has also mentioned that a new major character,Palabo,will appear in much of the series.You can read the short story,'THE MESSENGER', which is set in the city of Daar as-Salaam (not sure if this is the actual city in Tanzania or some alt. historical city) and features Palabo,the story takes place years before the events of ‘The Red Knight.’ -

http://www.traitorso.../the-messenger/

Edited by AncalagonTheBlack

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I think the story is going to expand a lot in the coming books ,we will get to see more of the world this series is set in ,at least according to what the author has mentioned -

So,lot's of different cultures to be explored in future books.

The author has also mentioned that a new major character,Palabo,will appear in much of the series.You can read the short story,'THE MESSENGER', which is set in the city of Daar as-Salaam (not sure if this is the actual city in Tanzania or some alt. historical city) and features Palabo,the story takes place years before the events of ‘The Red Knight.’ -

http://www.traitorso.../the-messenger/

Thanks, I enjoyed that, in fact I think the writing was bit better than in the Red Knight.

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New interview with the author -

NS: The Traitor Son Cycle has the makings of a truly epic fantasy series and The Red Knight sets the stage for great things to come. What can you tell us of the sequels?

MC: Book Two—already complete—is so far titled ‘The Fell Sword.’ A fell sword, in my world, is an item that can function in the real and in the aethereal, too. Such items are very rare and require—hmm—serious mojo to produce. In the ‘Fell Sword’ the Red Knight and his company go across the mountains to Morea and Thrake—those are the kingdoms to the east of Alba—to put down what appears to be a local rebellion and proves to be larger. In the process, the readers will get to see a little more of the meta-plot. The Red Knight will meet a beautiful princess. Jean de Vrailly will grow in power and worldly glory. Amicia will develop her own power while getting into a quarrel with the church that will have long term effects for everyone. Readers will meet the Faery Knight and the irks are developed as people and not ‘enemies’. The sides shift, and the stakes grow. You know—epic fantasy stuff.

In book three which I have tentatively titled ‘The Tournament of Fools’ we’ll see—you guessed it—a tournament. And the tournament will explode into a war. And the sides in the war will have been determined by the first two books, and yet, will, I think, surprise some readers. Personal relationships—like love—will cause characters to act against their own self-interests. Like real life—only with armour.

http://www.sfsignal....the-red-knight/

Edited by AncalagonTheBlack

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Pretty excited. The new book comes out this fall, right?

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Wait! Just started and already confused. A Judas Iscariot reference. Is this set in some faux divergent history and I was unaware? No map in kindle version (if there is one at all). If so it just wasnt expected from reviews I read.

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Wait! Just started and already confused. A Judas Iscariot reference. Is this set in some faux divergent history and I was unaware? No map in kindle version (if there is one at all). If so it just wasnt expected from reviews I read.

I'm not quite sure. I know they mentioned London once in the text, and that threw me for a loop. The use of Christianity, again, fucked me up.

The more I think about this book, the more I grow to dislike it.

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Wait! Just started and already confused. A Judas Iscariot reference. Is this set in some faux divergent history and I was unaware? No map in kindle version (if there is one at all). If so it just wasnt expected from reviews I read.

There are a few minor references to some historical events and/or people but it doesn't seem to have any present effect on the story. I suppose the author wanted to use Christianity as a concept so he was forced to import some of its history as well.

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Wait! Just started and already confused. A Judas Iscariot reference. Is this set in some faux divergent history and I was unaware? No map in kindle version (if there is one at all). If so it just wasnt expected from reviews I read.

Miles Cameron: I have a piece of paper to show that the very first thing I did when I got off the phone with Gillian Redfern at Gollanz after discussing what turned into The Red Knight was to make a map. Then I listed names down the side. I have it—when I’m famous I’ll auction it off.

The reasons you don’t have much more of a map are all complicated. Some have to do with the publishing process, and some have to do with my belief in keeping my world ‘real.’ Look at some medieval maps. They are startlingly inaccurate, and most of them are centered on Jerusalem, because every Christian assumed the Jerusalem was the center of the world. (A round world, a globe, by the way.). Look at Sir John de Mandeville’s travels.

And they don’t really show you ‘how’ to get somewhere. Nor do they suggest how hard it is. Accurate mapping is really for a different age. If I provide an accurate map–Who made that map? The Alban Satellite mapping service? Why should you have better maps then the main characters? (Gosh, I hope you know I’m smiling when I say these things).

OK, despite these pious mouthings, the next book will have a map. But I won’t guarantee its accuracy. I’ll only guarantee that the various nations will be, for the most part, in the correct relation to each other. Perhaps eventually I’ll release a truly accurate map, but probably only when the whole series is over.

Miles Cameron: From the very first conversation, I think we (Orbit/Gollanz and I) have planned that eventually we’d see the young Gabriel Muriens from childhood until the moment that he takes command of the Company. If the series works, and people like it, I’m pretty sure I’ll do that one. But before that? Well, eventually, I’ll do one on the Empress Livia… but the readers don’t know who she is yet… This world has nine thousand years of history. Let me say, for the record, that it is not our world. This world is very ancient, and people and irks have lived there a long time. And the world has many stories to—hide. And many to tell. Who knows? Eventually perhaps we’ll cover the Wall, or even the origins of human hermetic magic.

http://farbeyondreality.com/2013/01/25/author-interview-miles-cameron/

MC: I’ve been surprised (and pleased!) by the sheer amount of reader reaction, so the one set of words for potential readers is—it’s complicated. What may SEEM simple—like, for example, Christianity, or the juxtaposition of the sides—is not really simple. Even the way in which magic functions—isn’t all the way it appears.

http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2013/02/interview-with-miles-cameron-author-of-the-red-knight/

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Thank you for all the information. I'm already anticipating reading about this Empress Livia. The author has already noted her on several occasions; she must be quite a character.

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