The Last Uncharted Sky (Tor trade paperback edition, August 2021). Cover by Thom Tenery
When an author completes a trilogy, we bake a cake at the Black Gate rooftop headquarters in Chicago. In the case of Curtis Craddock’s acclaimed Risen Kingdom trilogy, the confectionery celebration was unfairly delayed until I found a copy of the final volume, The Last Uncharted Sky, released in trade paperback in August.
It was Charles Stross who drew my attention to the opener, An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors, back in 2017 when he proclaimed it a “gaslight fantasy in the tradition of Alexander Dumas.” That’s not something I hear every day. The second, A Labyrinth of Scions and Sorcery, offered more tales of “adventure full of palace intrigue, mysterious ancient mechanisms, and aerial sailing ships!” (According to David D. Levine).
The closing volume was first published in hardcover in August 2020. Publishers Weekly called it a “triumphant finale to Craddock’s swashbuckling Risen Kingdoms trilogy… a spectacular series ender.” A truly satisfying and original modern fantasy trilogy is not an easy thing to find. This one reminded me of Howard Andrew Jones’ Ring-Sworn Trilogy; that alone was enough to pique my interest.
Here’s an excerpt from the starred review at Publishers Weekly.
The triumphant finale to Craddock’s swashbuckling Risen Kingdoms trilogy… takes the series to new heights. Musketeer Jean-Claude and sorcerer Isabelle, a newly minted airship captain serving l’Empire Celeste, launch a perilous expedition to the highest point of their world, into the Twilight Latitudes and through the Bittergale. The explorers hope to find a wrecked flagship rumored to contain “the treasure of a century in coin and plunder,” but they also have a less mercenary objective: the foundation of a new colony built on the principles of observation and experiment… Craddock’s superior worldbuilding sweats the small stuff, including juicy details that make this world feel lived-in. This is a spectacular series ender.
And here’s the previous two volumes.
An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors and A Labyrinth of Scions and Sorcery, Books 1 & 2. Covers by Thom Tenery
An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors (416 pages, $26.99 hardcover, $15.99 trade paperback, $9.99 digital, August 29, 2017)
A Labyrinth of Scions and Sorcery (416 pages, $27.99 in hardcover, $18.88 paperback, $14.99 digital, January 22, 2019)
The Last Uncharted Sky (444 pages, $32.50 in hardcover, $20.99 paperback, $12.99 digital, August 11, 2020)
All three were published by Tor. The covers are by Thom Tenery.