THE KING IS DEAD. LONG LIVE THE PEOPLE
by D.P. Woolliscroft
So far, their journey had been through a pie shop run by a man called Dibbler ―
D.P Woolliscroft, Kingshold
Mareth is a bard, a serial under achiever, a professional drunk, and general disappointment to his father. Despite this, Mareth has one thing going for him. He can smell opportunity. The King is dead and an election for the new Lord Protector has been called. If he plays his cards right, if he can sing a story that will put the right person in that chair, his future fame and drinking money is all but assured. But, alas, it turns out Mareth has a conscience after all.
Neenahwi is the daughter to Jyuth, the ancient wizard who founded the Kingdom of Edland and she is not happy. It’s not just that her father was the one who killed the King, or that he didn’t tell her about his plans. She’s not happy because her father is leaving, slinking off into retirement and now she has to clean up his mess.
Alana is a servant at the palace and the unfortunate soul to draw the short straw to attend to Jyuth. Alana knows that intelligence and curiosity aren’t valued in someone of her station, but sometimes she can’t help herself and so finds herself drawn into the Wizard’s schemes, and worst of all, coming up with her own plans.
Chance brings this unlikely band together to battle through civil unrest, assassinations, political machinations, pirates and monsters, all for a common cause that they know, deep down, has no chance of succeeding – bringing hope to the people of Kingshold.
The novel Kingshold by self-published author, D.P Woolliscroft and is the first offering of the Wildfire Cycle series. If I could describe Kingshold in a few lines, it would be a beautiful but complicated tapestry. It is written in the vein of dark and intricate fantasy, much like the Malazan series or The Darkness That Comes Before. There are magic and fantasy aspects in Kingshold, but they come second to the political and societal maneuvers of the characters. Because of the breadth and scope of the worldbuilding, the first 200 pages of the story are on the slow side. I don’t fault the author for this. He had a lot of history and territory to layout for the reader. Subsequently, I would think later books in the series, Tales of Kinghold and Ioth, City of Lights, require much less narrative exposition and worldbuilding to get going. If you stick with the story and let Woollenscroft build a foundation for the politics and intrigue to sit in, you are rewarded with a well crafted and entertaining political fantasy story.
Kingshold is a place that has been riotously turned on its head. The king and queen of the city have been murdered, their heads set upon pikes. The governing body is in chaos. It is a vacuum that wants to be filled by the vainglorious and social climbers. Jyuth, the ancient wizard that had guided the court for centuries, is guilty of the regicide. Tired of bad kings and queens, he sets out the rules for a new election.
The people will vote on a new leader.
Anyone can vote as long as you can put in the 1000 coins to earn a spot at the voting table. This causes the disenfranchisement of many would-be voters; only the rich and elite get a say. And with that thought, the race to the crown proceeds. There are death, back-stabbing, pay-offs, propaganda, and riots. Everything you would come to expect in a situation like that.
Dear Duke, you must have misheard me. The monarchy has been abolished. No more kings or queens, princes or princesses. I believe Jyuth dearly loved your brother, but now he refers to all kings and queens as arsewipes. So, no more throne for you to go after, I believe, and if you disagree with that, then it’s best to bring it up directly with the wizard. I’m sure Percival here could go and find him―
D.P Woolliscroft, Kingshold
Kingshold is entirely character-driven once the settings are set for the story. Most of it revolves around Mareth, the bard. Mareth is a man with stars in his eyes and the intelligence to help shape the future of Kingshold. Jyuth is the great wizard that set about starting this tumultuous election in the first place. Both of these characters’ machinations shape the kingdom’s future.
Another one of the real strengths of the story is the humour. This isn’t a powerful laugh-out-loud type story. But Woolliscroft does a great job in injecting a bit of lightheartedness into conversations that lift the dialog and keeps the pacing from getting stodgy. I appreciated that as a reader, and it was an excellent counterpoint to the dark political intrigue and backstabbing.
The engaging and detailed political plots, along with the humor and gorgeous worldbuilding, made this a treat to read. I look forward to tackling the next book in the series.
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Where to find it?
I received a copy of this from The Write Reads as part of the book tour.
About the Author
Born in Derby in England, on the day before mid-summers day, David Peter Woolliscroft was very nearly magical. If only his dear old mum could have held on for another day. But magic called out to him over the years, with a many a book being devoured for its arcane properties. David studied Accounting at Cardiff University where numbers weaved their own kind of magic and he has since been a successful business leader in the intervening twenty years.
Adventures have been had. More books devoured and then one day, David had read enough where the ideas he had kept bottled up needed a release valve. And thus, rising out of the self doubt like a phoenix at a clicky keyboard, a writer was born. Kingshold is David’s debut novel and Tales of Kingshold, companion short stories to the novel, are flooding onto the page as fast as David can write them. You can get an keep up to date on all new releases, and get an exclusive Tale of Kingshold, at www.dpwoolliscroft.com.
He is married to his wife Haneen and has a daughter Liberty, who all live with their mini golden doodle Rosie in Princeton NJ. David is one of the few crabs to escape the crab pot.
Where to Find Them
Twitter – @dpwoolliscroft
Thanks for sharing, what’s the best book you’ve read so far in 2020?
Ohhhh hard question. I have read quite a bit of stellar fantasy/graphic novels this year but probably Riot Baby, Blacksad, or Misery.