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Knife Sworn (Tower and Knife Trilogy #2)

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  332 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
After spending most of his life in captivity, Sarmin now sits upon the Throne of Cerana. But his reign is an uneasy one. And the emperor’s own heart is torn between two very different women: Mesema, a Windreader princess, and Grada, a lowborn untouchable with whom Sarmin shares a unique bond. In times past, a royal assassin known as the Emperor’s Knife served to defend the ...more
Hardcover, 346 pages
Published November 13th 2012 by Night Shade Books (first published October 24th 2012)
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(showing 1-30)
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Althea Ann
Nov 06, 2015 Althea Ann rated it really liked it
This is the aftermath...

The sequel to 'The Emperor's Knife' has a rather melancholy feel. It emphasizes how hard it can be to put together the pieces...

The Pattern Master whose evil magic threatened the Cerani Empire is defeated. Sarmin has been elevated to Emperor - all should be well, no? Well, no.
Sarmin is haunted by ghosts, including, perhaps, that of his brother, the former Emperor Beyon. What remains of Beyon's personality seems to be a burning jealousy. Can Sarmin continue to rule while h
Ranting Dragon
Nov 12, 2012 Ranting Dragon rated it really liked it
Shelves: stephan

One of my favorite reads of last year was Mazarkis Williams’s epic debut The Emperor’s Knife. Needless to say, when I was offered a review copy of Knife Sworn, I jumped at the opportunity. Knife Sworn continues the story of Sarmin, who had been locked up in a tower by his brother, the Emperor, for most of his life, and of Mesema, once a young foreign girl, brought to Nooria to marry Sarmin against her will. Like Williams’s writing, these characters have ma
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Nov 18, 2013 Mogsy (MMOGC) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

The Tower and Knife series continues with Knife Sworn, and the second book is as full of magic, intrigue and beauty as the first -- if not even more so! One might be tempted to stop with The Emperor's Knife, its story having wrapped up so nicely at the end after all, with Sarmin coming into his own and the Pattern Master vanquished forever. But trust me, you won't want to miss this.

The events at the end of The Emperor's Bl
Nov 13, 2012 Dragana rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: lovers of high fantasy or fantasy in middle-eastern setting
I read 'The Emperor's Knife' (first book in this trilogy) last week. If you have read my review, you probably noticed that although some concepts and ideas were very original, when you calculate all the flaws the book was just an average read to me.
So I tentatively started reading 'Knife Sworn'. After all this book would be a deal-breaker to me, it will decide if I will continue to read this series or give up.

I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the 'Knife Sworn'. It's surprising to s
Jessica Strider
Nov 13, 2012 Jessica Strider rated it it was amazing
Pros: tight storytelling, several interesting viewpoints, complex characters

Cons: no book one synopsis/reminders

A year as Emperor hasn't brought Sarmin or his empire peace. His army, under General Arigu at the command of the previous emperor, has attacked Fryth. In an attept to mitigate the army's evils, Sarmin invites a Fryth envoy to discuss peace between their nations.

Cuious about the gifts of concubines he has received, Sarmin sends the untouchable Grada to follow the slave caravans that tra
Mar 25, 2013 Neida rated it it was amazing
Wow!! As good or better than the first . I really enjoy this world setting. The magic system is original, characters old and new are engaging and the story is tight and fast paced. Hopefully we won't have to wait too long for the third book. A joy of a read!!!

Nov 10, 2012 Shaheen rated it really liked it
It was great to get back into the world that Mazarkis Williams has so skilfully created, and I am pleased to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Knife Sworn. This book is a lot more polished than its predecessor and the story flows more smoothly. The return of many of our favourite characters, and the introduction of some intriguing new ones, make Knife Sworn an interesting and engaging read.

It’s been a long time since I read Knife Sworn, and I dearly wish I’d had the time to re-read it. Williams begi
Milo (BOK)
”A fantastic, original and character-focused follow up that will satisfy readers of The Emperor’s Knife.” ~The Founding Fields

Warning! There are spoilers for the first novel in the trilogy, The Emperor’s Knife, which I strongly recommend that you read before reading this one.

The Emperor’s Knife, Mazarkis Williams’ debut, was an awesome read, so when I found out that Knife Sworn, the sequel – was available on NetGalley with some decent cover art, I jumped at the opportunity, and thankfully, I ha
Stretch's Books
Nov 09, 2014 Stretch's Books rated it really liked it
Shelves: epic-fantasy, magic
It has been at least a year since I read "The Emperor's Knife", and I found it a little difficult to catch up with what was going on in "Knife Sworn". However, after around 50 pages or so things begin to come back to me, and I found that I had become really immersed in Mazarkis Williams' world again. Believe me when I say this is not a bad thing. Not a bad thing at all.

While I was disappointed that some of the character viewpoints from the "The Emperor's Knife" did not make into "Knife" sworn,
Oct 15, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it
This is the second book in the Tower and Knife Trilogy. I got this book as a Goodreads giveaway. The book starts where book one left off, the Pattern Master is defeated and Sarmin has become Emperor. But all is not well in the Empire. Although the Pattern Master has been defeated the consequences of his curse remain. Sarmin must find a way to heal his Empire before he can bring it the peace he desires. And with no Knife to call he may not be able to reach his goal.

I received the first book in th
We reviewed The Emperor’s Knife, Book #1 in the Tower and Knife series by Mazarkis Williams, when it was published late last year. I’ve been anxiously awaiting Book #2 and it’s finally here. Knife Sworn picks up fairly soon after The Emperor’s Knife ended. For those of you who haven’t read Book #1, this series blends court intrigue, political conspiracy, thriller and fantasy into a world that’s absolutely fascinating. Read the rest of my review at
Jude Morrissey
Jul 09, 2013 Jude Morrissey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Wow! Like the first of the series, Knife Sworn was good fantasy, laced with political intrigue. I wondered how Williams would make the stories flow together, as the first novel wrapped up so nicely - she made it not only work, but work beautifully. I can't wait to read the third novel!
Nathan Washor
Feb 14, 2013 Nathan Washor rated it it was amazing
Mazarkis evokes an original tale in Knife Sworn. Characters are deep and complex. The world is filled with mysterious arcana that must be understood to save it from nullification. The writing is enchanting. Buy this book and enjoy!

More review to come, but I am on a deadline at work...
Jul 22, 2012 Michelle marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2012, crits, owned
This will be great.

That is my evaluation from the ~1/4 I read.

I'm excited and can't wait to read it. :)
originally posted at:

Last year when I got introduced to the line up of books from Jo Fletcher many titles had caught my attention and one of them was The Emperor's Knife by Mazarkis Williams. I am always a sucker when it comes down to an epic fantasy story that features magic, sword fighting, political intrigues and of course assassins. The story and the world that Mazarkis Williams started to build had some very cool idea's and the influences, middle eas
Jan 08, 2014 Mieneke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2014
Knife Sworn is the second book in the Tower & Knife series and the middle book of a trilogy. As such it had a tall order in front of it; it had to live up to the first book and keep the narrative going so there will be a strong draw back for the third book. And of course, it has to avoid middle-book-syndrome. And people wonder why writing that second book is harder than writing the first! So you'll be glad to know that Knife Sworn did the first and the second and was relatively successful at ...more
Eli Adelholm
Once again, I find myself having divided opinions.

The Emperor’s Knife could easily have been a stand-alone novel. In some ways, it might even have been better if it had been. But alas, the author decided to make a trilogy of the story begun in that first book.

While I am beyond excited at getter to know the amazing universe better, I do think that this sequel starts rather heavily dealing with the aftermaths of a finished story. It makes it a little tough to really get into it.

But once you are i
Sep 08, 2013 Josh rated it liked it
Review from Fixed on Fantasy.

Knife Sworn is the second installment in the Tower and Knife Trilogy after The Emperor's Knife (see my review - with spoilers - here).

What was frustrating earlier on quickly became a highlight for me in this novel - it was confusing as all hell. There's a lot to say about reading a story through the experience and perception of protagonists that are probably a little unhinged. As readers we take their word as gospel truth, especially after being privy to their intern
Mar 24, 2013 Cindy rated it really liked it
(There may be some minor spoilers in here)
Williams writes with the same magnificent prose as in The Emperor’s Knife. I really love her writing, it’s so complex, so deep, intimate and lyrical. For both The Emperor’s Knife and Knife-Sworn this is a big plus. But this isn’t a book you can read easily, due to the complexity Williams puts in her writing, you really have to keep your head in the game ‘cause otherwise a lot of information will get lost on you.

The book got off to a rather slow start, wi
T.O. Munro
Jan 02, 2014 T.O. Munro rated it it was amazing
Not just the first book I've finished in 2014, but the first fantasy book I've finished in a while.

I had been struggling my way through books by two different writers. Such towering figures within the genre that my travails of readership left me wondering "is it me?" So I turned at last to Knife Sworn book two in Mazarkis William's trilogy and found at last a book that could have me turning the pages in eagerness to see what happened next, yet still determined to make sure I caught every word.

Nov 26, 2013 Holly rated it really liked it
The Pattern-Master has been defeated. Sarmin now reigns as emperor of Cerana, with Mesema by his side. Together they will raise Mesema's son, secretly fathered by Beyon, Sarmin's brother. But all is not well in Cerana. The Many, now free of the Puzzle-Master's taint, are feeling lost, and the Longing drives some to suicide and others to a foreign religion. Sarmin himself has taken on a great burden: some former souls, freed of the Many but with nowhere else to go, have taken up residence within ...more
Libby Lanser
Dec 06, 2012 Libby Lanser rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Medieval fantasy fans, multicultural interests
Recommended to Libby by: Mazarkis Williams
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Monica Rodriguez
This is an intriguing story. I kept reading it more for the story and the writing, than for any sense of suspense. Beautifully written, with rich imagery, complex political intrigue, and fantastical settings, this is not your usual fantasy. Much of the plot is political, so it requires paying attention. There is a strong sense of mystery. The mythology surrounding the story is deep, though only hinted at.

The story makes few attempts to catch up the reader. It's nice, on the one hand, that it ju
May 17, 2015 Marius rated it it was ok
Shelves: ugh-bleh
Why do i continue reading this?
To say this series is twisted is an understatement.
The primary character is a weak ass emperor who can barely walk.
There is not one character in the book that doesn't have several screws loose, ok that's a lie, there is not one character that even comes close to sanity.
After the first book i was expecting that at least Sarmin would climb the stairs half way to sanity.
Nope, sure he doesn't talk with the paintings anymore(well he tries, but they don't answer).
And the
Jul 22, 2016 Bibliotropic rated it really liked it
(Full review here:

While definitely a strong novel with intelligent themes and masterful characterization, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed the previous one in the series. It has a great deal of potential and I’m looking forward to seeing where the rest of the story goes, though I think after my experience with Knife Sworn, I’ll make a point of rereading the series once more before picking up any future books, just to make sure that the autho
Jul 14, 2013 Gillian rated it really liked it
A good middle book for a trilogy, setting up what I expect to be dynamite finale. The characters continue to be compelling.
Sep 21, 2013 Brian rated it really liked it
loved it.. can't wait for the final novel.
Apr 24, 2014 Phil rated it liked it
Here's a extract from my review, full link:

When I finished The Emperor's Knife, I thought that it would have been complete as a standalone but I was confident enough in the author's skills with what I discovered in his debut to expect an intrigue worthy of a trilogy. I mention the intrigue specifically since it was the prime factor for which I enjoyed Williams' debut. The characters were not in rest though, Sarmin the young brothe
Ευθυμία Δεσποτάκη
Τελείωσα και το δεύτερο βιβλίο, το Knife Sworn.

Ο Γουίλλιαμς, φάνηκε να παίρνει στα σοβαρά τα σχόλια των αναγνωστών του και να προσαρμόζεται, γράφοντας το δεύτερο βιβλίο. Ένα από τα θέματα που είχε προκύψει ήταν ότι ενώ υπήρχαν σταθερά τέσσερις οπτικές γωνίες στην αφήγηση (για το πρώτο βιβλίο μιλάω) αυτές εναλλάσσονταν μέσα σε ένα κεφάλαιο, και μάλιστα κάποιες φορές με πολύ μικρές σκηνές, μισής σελίδας. Αυτό καταντούσε κουραστικό.

Στο δεύτερο βιβλίο, ακολουθώντας τις συμβουλές που του δόθηκαν (δεί
Oct 17, 2013 Nora rated it liked it
This book was less wonderful than the first of the series. I mean, still well-written, and the central conflict was good, but overall I felt much less invested for several reasons:

1) The pacing was flat-out wonky. I couldn't tell the order of events between perspectives -- one character will be doing something, then it'll cut to a second character over several days, and then when we return to the first they're just finishing that thing they were doing. And then when they meet up they've each jus
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Mazarkis Williams is a writer with roots in both the US and the UK, having worked in and been educated in both countries. Each year is divided between Boston and Bristol and a teleport booth is always top of the Christmas wish-list.

Mazarkis has degrees in history and physics, and a diverse set of interests accumulated while mispending a hectic youth. Cooking has always been a passion, and in addit
More about Mazarkis Williams...

Other Books in the Series

Tower and Knife Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Emperor's Knife (Tower and Knife Trilogy, #1)
  • The Tower Broken (Tower and Knife Trilogy, #3)

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