A Valentine’s Gift for Lovers of Fantasy Intrigue: The Tyranny of Faith by Richard Swan

A Valentine’s Gift for Lovers of Fantasy Intrigue: The Tyranny of Faith by Richard Swan

The Justice of Kings and The Tyranny of Faith (Orbit, 2022 and 2023). Covers by Martina Fackova

When I wrote about Richard Swan’s debut fantasy novel The Justice of Kings back in October, I got an enthusiastic response. Wayne Ligon called it “My favorite fantasy this year, so far!” and BG blogger Sarah Avery said,

I’m a sucker for fantasy novels that care about the rule of law. I loved Sebastian de Castell’s Greatcoats series, about badass itinerant magistrates in a recently failed state, to no end. This one looks likely to scratch the same itch.

Hot on the heels of The Justice of Kings comes The Tyranny of Faith, due from Orbit on Valentine’s Day. Kirkus Reviews tells us, “While The Justice of Kings was pretty dark, this volume gets even grittier.” I know that’s just what you bloodthirsty lot were dying to hear.

The Justice of Kings had many fans, and I wasn’t too surprised to see Sebastien de Castell right in the front rank. Here’s his take.

The Justice of Kings is equal parts heroic fantasy and murder mystery. Sir Konrad Vonvalt’s fierce intellect and arcane powers will make you long to follow in his footsteps, but it’s his young clerk, Helena who brings heart and dazzle to the story. Together they’re a formidable team, and Richard Swan’s sophisticated take on the fantasy genre will leave readers hungry for more.

The Tyranny of Faith follows Sir Konrad Vonvalt and Helena’s adventures as things turn even darker in the Imperium. Here’s an excerpt from that Kirkus piece.

Imperial Justice Sir Konrad Vonvalt; his clerk (and the novel’s narrator), Helena Sedanka; and their two companions have traveled to Sova, capital of the Empire of the Wolf. There they intend to confront the traitorous Justices of the Magistratum, who have been sharing their secret magical knowledge with zealous priest Patria Bartholomew Claver, and gain the emperor’s assistance in going after Claver, who is currently raising an army and may have designs on the throne. But their efforts are stymied by the suspiciously timed kidnapping of the Emperor’s grandson, which Sir Konrad is ordered to investigate, and the debilitating illness afflicting Sir Konrad, the result of a hex cast by Claver. As Sir Konrad and his compatriots seek to solve a mystery, discover a cure, and find allies against Claver in an increasingly complex and treacherous political landscape, Helena battles both her feelings for Sir Konrad and her repugnance for some of his recent ruthless actions… This book travels even further beyond the traveling investigator/justice dealer mold of Tremayne’s Sister Fidelma and van Gulik’s Judge Dee series and more squarely into territory reminiscent of Andrzej Sapkowksi’s Hussite trilogy, another complex and dark historical fantasy series inspired by medieval state-military-church political conflicts.

Read the whole thing here.

Here’s the details on both books.

The Justice of Kings (432 pages, $28 hardcover/$17.99 trade/$13.99 digital, February 22, 2022) — cover by Martina Fackova
The Tyranny of Faith (560 pages, $29 hardcover/$18.99 trade/$14.99 digital, February 14, 2023) — cover by Martina Fackova

No word yet on a third volume, but given the popularity of the first one, we can expect to see more.

See all our coverage of the best new fantasy series here.

Notify of

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
pete johnsen

Hell yes! Loved that first book and was JUST trying to think of it again today so the timing is perfect, many thanks. I’m gonna go pre order this sucker right after this. Thanks for the brain nudge John!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x