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A Crown for Cold Silver (The Crimson Empire #1)

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  1,493 Ratings  ·  296 Reviews
An outstanding, game-changing epic fantasy debut featuring an unforgettable female warrior.


Twenty years ago, feared general Cobalt Zosia led her five villainous captains and mercenary army into battle, wrestling monsters and toppling an empire. When there were no more titles to win and no more worlds to conq
Hardcover, 656 pages
Published April 14th 2015 by Orbit
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Linzi I'm listening to it now. Made by Hachette, narrated by Angele Masters it's on Audible.
I wasn't sure about the narrator at the beginning but she…more
I'm listening to it now. Made by Hachette, narrated by Angele Masters it's on Audible.
I wasn't sure about the narrator at the beginning but she actually does an excellent job once she gets her head around all the weird names :)(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jan 06, 2016 Bookwraiths rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, library, grimdark
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.

Immediately after finishing this novel, I rated it 3.5 star. Now, after mulling it over for a few weeks, I'm downgrading that to a 2.5 star rating for reasons to be explained.

A Crown for Cold Silver was a book seemingly tailor made for my tastes; a grimdark-esque, epic fantasy which throws you directly into a complex story, demanding that you quickly acclimate yourself to the setting and characters, as multiple points of view are used to create a rich, new wor
Althea Ann
Dec 09, 2015 Althea Ann rated it really liked it
Looking for the next big fat epic fantasy? 'A Crown For Cold Silver' just might fit the bill. It looks like 'Alex Marshall' is a pseudonym, so I'm not sure if this is actually a debut - if it is, it's a very good one.

Twenty years ago, the revolutionary warrior Zosia, known as Cold Cobalt, with the help of her Five Villains, managed to engineer a coup and install herself as Queen of the Crimson Empire. However, Zosia was better at fighting than ruling. Her idealistic plans for social reform and
May 27, 2015 Kaora rated it really liked it
Shelves: good-fantasy
Once every other individual responsible for this travesty has been dealt with, after every single one of them has been paid a visit, then I'll find you, whenever you go, wherever you hide, and I will deal with you at my leisure.

Twenty years ago a woman named Cobalt Zosia led her five captains and her army, toppling an empire only to be defeated in a duel and thrown to her "death". After disappearing suddenly her peace is broken, when a rogue army destroys her village and she barely escapes with
Dec 14, 2015 Brad rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
So, a middle aged female Heavy Metal Rocker comes out of early retirement and decides to Bring Back The Band. She wants to Tear The House Down, with a passion and verve that seems very unlikely for a woman of her age... or so everyone thinks. The stage is set, a bunch of aging rockers fill the stage, but there's a twist: the auditorium had come for a Christian Rock Band with obvious religious tones. The battle commences!

This is what the story IS, assuming there's no actual music involved.

The mi
Camly Nguyen
Apr 10, 2015 Camly Nguyen rated it did not like it
DNF 33%
I can't do this anymore. Reading the everyday life of a handicapped snail would be faster than this. Hell, even reading The Lies of Locke Lamora would be faster than this shit.

Summary: When Zosia's whole village is murdered by Captain Hjortt and his team, she kills them singlehandedly and runs away to seek revenge. But Zosia's isn't the strong and powerful lady she was twenty years ago. During those years, she has married and abdicated her place on the throne and stopped her training. Al
Alex Ristea
Apr 05, 2015 Alex Ristea rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
It feels weird giving three stars to a book I didn't finish, but let me explain...

A Crown for Cold Silver is a grimdark book that doesn't take itself too seriously. Think more along the lines of Nicomo Cosca than Eddard Stark. It's often funny and constantly plays with your expectations.

The good news is that it has excellent female representation and agency. I wouldn't say it's a hardcore feminist book, but it does a lot better in this regard than most fantasy on the market. It reminds me of Kam
Dec 09, 2015 Allison rated it it was amazing
So yeah.

I went into this warily. A lot of ~mercenary fantasy~ nowadays is so try-hard and often fails to be casually humorous/clever and blithely bloody. wariness was completely unjustified. I had as swell a time reading this as I did any of the early Black Company volumes or God's War or Best Served Cold. The world-building could have been done lazily and I still would have enjoyed this for the characters and dialogue. The world-building, however, was also pretty damn awesome. Some f
Django Wexler
Dec 08, 2014 Django Wexler rated it it was amazing
Got an early read of this thanks to the generous people at Orbit, and it's great. Dark, funny, brutal. Very much recommended.
Jan 05, 2016 Terence rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-review
Famed General Cobalt Zosia led her army into battle and overthrew an empire twenty years ago. Once there was nothing else to accomplish or conquer, she retired and faded into legend.

Now Zosia's husband and village were destroyed for no reason. She heads out to avenge her loved ones.

A Crown for Cold Silver quickly proved it was not a book for me. The writing style felt dull and uninspired. The characters were hardly believable and I didn't have any clue of what was happening in the world. I enjoy

needed a few days so my impressions settle a bit. i was overwhelmed by the end of this. good kind of overwhelmed. i was awed:) it blew my mind:))

you can read for your self what this book is about, im going to talk more about some of the happy thoughts it gave me.

itty bitty spider sitting by the door, and a colorful centipede crawling on the floor and a scorpion who got there by accident.
i can guarantee you if you read the book, you'll understand and your never see bugs in the same lig
May 06, 2015 Matthew rated it really liked it
Crazy.. familiar yet so different.. very fun read.. full review to come.
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
I've picked up this book three different times and tried to read it. It just doesn't catch my attention. DNF no rating.
Fantasy Review Barn

Sure, you hear it all the time. ‘Trope bending’ fantasy, as if just the act of bending tropes is noticeable and hasn’t been done almost since any kind of trend in fantasy was noticed. I am guilty of it. I enjoy a fresh take on an old tale after all. So I will forgive you if you roll your eyes as I go on about yet another ‘trope bending’ fantasy. “I don’t care,” you may be saying. “I just want to know if A Crown for Cold Silver is a good book. The answer to that is unequivocal
Aug 10, 2015 Lisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, epic-fantasy
There may be a lot to keep track of, but I love the "attitude" or tone of this book. Some great humor through out. Full Review to come.
Feb 17, 2015 Liviu marked it as tried-but-not-for-me
very boring and uninteresting beginning which tries to imitate Joe Abercrombie so much that it reads like a parody - browsing ahead, looks to get better, so will see but the book is far from the hype

read more here and there and then the ending and nothing hooked me so I doubt I will try again or read more in this series; I see what the author wants to do but the prose/characters just did not work for me
Mar 12, 2015 Kurestin rated it really liked it
The beginning 75% of this book was AMAZING. It would build up to so many tropes that annoy me in this type of "veterans come back for revenge" fantasy, and then totally demolish them in a way that was extremely enjoyable to read. The characters were lively and genuinely fun to follow, and the world just feels fantastically built. I'm interested in their past, their future, and even in what happened thousands of years ago to lead up to this point. The main character (well, it's very much an ...more
Blodeuedd Finland
Mar 06, 2016 Blodeuedd Finland rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
An older woman as one of the main POVs, I did like that. Older women can kick ass in fantasy too, and with older I do mean oooolder. Not not 30s, oooolder. A former rebel, villain, general, queen..hey now I am thinking of Xena, if she has stopped while she was on top and faked her death. And married and lived the small village life.

But for all those cool things I did not particularly like Zosia, because, well I just did not. I did not dislike her either

Then there was this princess who went all t
Jan 28, 2016 Joel rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks, hard-copy
Full review on my blog, Total Inability To Connect.

Hardcover provided by Orbit for review purposes - thanks Orbit! You know the way to my heart is hardcover books :)

A Crown for Cold Silver is the first book in a new series by Alex Marshall, an 'acclaimed author who has previously published several novels in different genres' but is now operating under a pseudonym. A little of the KJ Parker/Tom Holt situation.

Crown is a schizophrenic novel - it's all over the place, not really sure what it wants
Stephanie  G
Apr 13, 2015 Stephanie G rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars

Zosia, once a famous general who led a rebel army against the Crimson Empire and won, traded the crown for her lover and a small village where she planned to live out the rest of her life. That is until her husband is beheaded by the Fifteenth’s Colonel. Zosia swears revenge and sets out (kind of) to find her famous five captains, known as villains, but instead discovers that another woman is raising her banners and claiming herself as Cobalt Zosia and is accompanied by her captains.

Brandon Forsyth
Feb 12, 2015 Brandon Forsyth rated it really liked it
A fun mix of Seven Samurai and Game of Thrones, 'A Crown for Cold Silver' will fill in nicely for fans waiting for George R.R. Martin. The ruthless bloodletting is here, but so is the impressive world building and the compelling characters. I loved the political and religious machinations that drive so many of the protagonists. Be warned, though, that this is harder fantasy: if you're not prepared for the scene where a Saruman/Gandalf character literally eats a demon, it may surprise you. Can't ...more
Feb 09, 2015 Andrew marked it as abandoned
Why I abandoned it - in one sentence: Because life is too short to wait, and wait, and wait for the author to explain this world.

I probably would have given it: two stars
Apr 02, 2015 Angie rated it liked it
The plot for this book was creative. I liked the idea of the main character and her captains being older instead of very young. However, having said that, I, unfortunately, had a difficult time connecting with any of the characters. Perhaps if the story would have started at an earlier point in time, it would have been easier for me to do so. Or it could have been that the author changed points of view frequently, I didn't feel that I had the chance to really get to know Zosia better or even any ...more
Jun 02, 2015 Meave rated it really liked it
It's a great story! It just drags a bit, and when one of the big reveals came so late in the book that I realized the story wasn't going to finish in one volume, I got angry, because why does everything have to be a series? Can't anyone finish a story in one novel? I'm willing to read the next book, but if Alex Marshall Song of Ice and Fires me into reading like 50 books about these characters, where everyone starts out separated and finally come together in the last quarter only to have them al ...more
May 12, 2015 Bibliotropic rated it really liked it
(Full review here:

From drugbugs to massive battles, Marshall manages to achieve something wonderful with A Crown For Cold Silver. It’s a doorstopper of a book but it fairly flies by, and it’s hard to not get pulled into the rich and detailed world and the intricate plot that gets woven through it. It’s satisfying, it’s entertaining, and the humour is sharp and damn near perfect. If you’re looking for something new with action and intrigue aplenty, then l
Oct 25, 2015 Lila rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy

I have a lot of feelings and a lot to say about this book, but only half of that is tied to actual story.

A Crown for Cold Silver was heavily promoted as second coming new epic fantasy that "pushes the boundaries".
Not to tarnish its good sides in any way, but I am hung on that part simply because ACfCS is not a genre-bender I was promised I'll get.
Let's get more specific:

- the selling point of this novel is main character. A middle-aged, legendary female warrior on a quest for revenge. Admittedl
May 26, 2015 Christopher rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 01, 2015 Mark rated it liked it
A confusing book of 3 halves, yep its that.

Only good thing is the strong female leads in the book.
Mar 04, 2015 Justin rated it really liked it
Erikson and Hurley with Scalzi's prose style.
Ian Wood
Apr 02, 2015 Ian Wood rated it did not like it
This is the complete review as it appears at my blog dedicated to reading, writing (no 'rithmatic!), movies, & TV. Blog reviews often contain links which are not reproduced here, nor will updates or modifications to the blog review be replicated here. Graphic and children's reviews on the blog typically feature two or three images from the book's interior, which are not reproduced here.

Note that I don't really do stars. To me a book is either worth reading or it isn't. I can't rate it three-
Nov 01, 2015 Brina rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Auf "Blut aus Silber", dem ersten Band der "Crimson Empire"-Reihe, habe ich mich besonders gefreut, denn das Buch wurde vom Verlag sehr ausführlich beworben, sodass ich einfach nur neugierig werden konnte. Hier habe ich mich auf eine phantastische Geschichte mit einer wunderbar ausgeklügelten und ereignisreichen Welt gefreut und tja... leider war es dann doch ganz anders.

Ich wollte das Buch wirklich mögen, denn die Welt, die einem zunächst präsentiert wird, klang sehr interessant und spannend, d
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Alex Marshall is a pseudonym for an acclaimed author who has previously published several novels in different genres. - See more at:
More about Alex Marshall...

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The Crimson Empire (2 books)
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