The Hands of the Emperor

Mary Anderson pointed to this book in the comments to yesterday’s post, as a novel in which nothing terrible happens.

Here’s the description:

An impulsive word can start a war.
A timely word can stop one.
A simple act of friendship can change the course of history.

Cliopher Mdang is the personal secretary of the Last Emperor of Astandalas, the Lord of Rising Stars, the Lord Magus of Zunidh, the Sun-on-Earth, the god.
He has spent more time with the Emperor of Astandalas than any other person.
He has never once touched his lord.
He has never called him by name.
He has never initiated a conversation.

One day Cliopher invites the Sun-on-Earth home to the proverbially remote Vangavaye-ve for a holiday.

The mere invitation could have seen Cliopher executed for blasphemy.
The acceptance upends the world.

This is a GREAT description. It is brief. It is intriguing. It suggests a story centered around a potentially wonderful relationship. It checks off just a few boxes for me, but it checks them off very thoroughly. This is not a little oh, friendship, how nice checkmark. It is a great, huge WHOA, LOOK AT THIS checkmark.

I am absolutely going to try this book. Probably really soon, right after I have finished my (really slow) re-read of the Touchstone trilogy.

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15 thoughts on “The Hands of the Emperor”

  1. That does sound intriguing. Also, for some reason Christmas/New Years and Touchstone books are an anual tradition with me, too ^^

  2. Oh and Tuyo and Nikoles are great! The only thing I missed were more active female characters :D.

  3. I have read the sample and got hooked, downloaded the whole thing.

    Oh, for short reads – when you want to go to bed/have no brain/no time, where nothing terrible happens, Thurber’s fairy tales, like the Thirteen Clocks.

  4. Pronounciation question: is inevitable said and accented as in-EH-vituhble or in-ee-VAI-tuhble?
    I’ve always thought the first, dad uses the second in hus reading aloud.

  5. Totally hooked by the Hands of the Emperor!! I think you’ll really like it too. Slow read, lots of details and complicated back story but the overall arc of the main protagonist is so endearing. Lots of weaving in of the “other” with political thinking and forms of government that reminded me of The Goblin Emperor.

  6. Loved the book so much I am now on book 4 of her Greenwing and Dart series. Wonderful suggestion. So soothing.

  7. I am so very pleased to see all your comments about this book! I look forward very much to starting it, but NOT UNTIL I HAVE FINISHED TARASHANA. The Touchstone trilogy is just right for while I am working on a project of my own. I really enjoy re-reading it, but I can put it down! Not sure I could put The Hands of the Emperor, or any other new-to-me book, down quite as easily.

  8. What can I say, Estara? A lot of female characters unfortunately got trimmed out when I revised TUYO and will, I hope and expect, make a reappearance in a later book. I would particularly like to bring back Aras’ daughter Selili and her own daughter. Not in book 3, though, sorry — although we will see more of Lalani in particular in that one.

  9. Yay for more books, and double yay for some females. I did love the strong alusions involving Nikoles grandmother, but I basically wanted to meet her more than him *cough*

    Also, am currently also reading The Hands of the Emperor (1st 3rd of the tome) and loving it, some legends of the world are included, but a lot is just hinted at and dealt with matter of factly by the characters, so left to my imagination to puzzle out.

    The first 50 pages had some weird mistakes left – not grammar or spelling but the occasional extra word that did not get trimmed out, but either that stopped or I completely stopped noticing because the story really gripped me.

  10. Addendum: I’m speaking about the Kindle edition of Hands of the Emperor here, no idea about the print versions.

  11. I’m tempted to write the grandmother’s story, Estara, but it would be a fundamentally sad story, so that kind of pushes me away from trying it.

  12. Understandable. I did like Nikoles a whole lot. If you decided to write a series turning Aras into a series of problem solving magical James Bond for his king (sans sex god vibes), I’d be buying that happily (as long as the crimes weren’t too tragically horrific).

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