The Charnel Prince (Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Charnel Prince (Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone #2)

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  4,114 ratings  ·  99 reviews
When the legendary Briar King awoke from his slumber, a season of darkness and horror fell upon the Kingdom of Crotheny. Now countless breeds of unspeakable monsters roam the countryside. An epidemic of madness has transformed peaceful villagers from the wildlands into savage, flesh-eating fiends. In Eslen, King William has been murdered, Queen Muriele is stalked by treach...more
Paperback, 494 pages
Published October 25th 2005 by Del Rey (first published January 1st 2004)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Charnel Prince, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Charnel Prince

The Name of the Wind by Patrick RothfussHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. RowlingA Storm of Swords by George R.R. MartinHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
Best Fantasy Books of the 21st Century
414th out of 1,316 books — 4,718 voters
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienThe Name of the Wind by Patrick RothfussThe Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienMagician by Raymond E. FeistLegend by David Gemmell
Best Heroic Fantasy
272nd out of 417 books — 599 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Dirk Grobbelaar
I believe that The Kingdoms Of Thorn and Bone is one of the most criminally underrated works of fantasy around.
As far as I can discern, Greg Keyes hasn't exactly been a prolific writer, apart from some tie-in, or shared media, works for the likes of Star Wars and Babylon 5.
This series stands as his Magnum Opus.

Kingdoms is a seamless and close to perfect blend of old school charm and modern fantasy sensibilities. It is epic and grandiose, but it is also intimate and personal.
It is a fresh look on...more
Well, I feel some people are a bit harsh towards this book compared to the first one, yet, some people are also too generous in ratings. I did, however, give this four stars as I felt this was a 3.5 book, like his last one, and, the time before, I gave him a 3 star rating.

This isn't a five star novel. George R.R. Martin's A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE is a five star novel.

That said, it isn't fair to compare anyone to GRRM as he's top of the line and has been writing for over 30 years (i.e. varied in...more
Apr 30, 2008 Tracy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fantasy readers
Recommended to Tracy by: no one
Monsters, gruesome sacrifices, dark sorcery, swordsmen devoted to honor, and a young woman being driven into the arms of her potent destiny are set loose in The Charnel Prince by Greg Keyes. This second novel of his Kingdoms of Thorn and Born epic fantasy series benefits from the setting developed in the first book, and the characters are really allowed to blossom within the adventure.

For fantasy readers, Keyes delivers a complete bill of goods as he weaves multiple fantasy elements such as mag...more
The Briar King was a bit of a slog for me, but this book was such a good read, it made the slog completely worth it.

I absolutely loved the way the characters and storyline developed and one of my favorite characters in the series is Leoff, who was introduced here.

If you like pseudo-medieval geo-political fantasy (you know, princesses in peril, civil war, mystical monsters, evil monks and secret assassin guilds) you'll love this series. If like me, you feel this type of fantasy tends to be cliche...more
Going into this book, I was afraid the author wouldn't adequately develop the characters he introduced in the first novel. I was a little worried that he wouldn't be able to keep up the pace. I needn't have been concerned. It was very refreshing to read a story showing interesting character development without being hit over the head with it, as I've sometimes experienced in Orson Scott Card's writing. My criticism of the first book was that I didn't quite get deeply enough into the characters'...more
Lasairfiona Smith
Nov 27, 2007 Lasairfiona Smith rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those who enjoy a good series with a lot of action
The organization of this book is different from the first book. More of the main characters interact so the chapters aren't organized by character anymore. Keyes seems to be really getting into his writting groove. This isn't high literature but it is a fun read. The story seems to stumble a bit as we try and figure out who is good and who is evil. This changing of opinions should be written with a bit more umph but the main characters coming together gives the book the cohesion it needs. I am r...more
Aug 11, 2011 Andi added it
Shelves: fantasy
These are deep waters...

I stayed up until three in the morning to finish this, and had to talk myself out of going on to Blood Knight. Keyes delivers in this one. Although much of it is classic fantasy the writing is great, practical yet lyrical. His characters are fabulous, layered, flawed, and interesting.

The thing that keeps me so engaged is the political intrigue, mixed with the background of fantastical monsters and our motley group of heroes. When a composer is the one that delivers the mo...more
Just as with The Briar King, Keyes charges straight into the action and keeps it at full throttle throughout the entire book. Some scenes literally had me holding my breath in suspense, and others left me near tears. The characters we met before return and become even more developed, and those that are new seem like familiar friends.

It's been a while since I've been this fully engaged in a fantasy story. It's about damn time.
A worthy sequel to The Briar King, it retains all the attractive characteristics of the first book (depth, pace, mystery and welcome brevity for epic fantasy).

Cleanly resolves several plots lines from the first book, and raises a few new questions, while managing to provide something that feels like a "whole" book rather than a few hundred pages chopped out of the middle of a bigger book as so many middle books in series do.
♥ Unaeve ♥ Olga
What? This is the end already? How did i come to the end so fast?
"Benefits" of reading books on can get surprised when you come to the last page if yow wasn't monitoring the page numbers(or percent) -and I definitely wasn't because the last 30% of the book was a hell of a raid!

Good continuation of the story, the charcters become more likable as we get to know them more throughout this book. The story also gets better as we move through the book, things aren't as black and white as you believe they are.

I enjoyed it, and look forward to the next book and the series.
This isn't really a separate book, I think the whole series is one book that happened to be too thick to put in one cover. In a way, my review for The charnel prince is therefore about the same as my review for The briar king. The only difference is that by now I don't mind the shifts in POV any more. I mostly know the characters, and I know enough of the world not to get thrown, so it doesn't confuse me so much anymore. There are two new characters, one of which I really like (the composer) and...more
Sep 10, 2008 Valerie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Valerie by: sequelmania
Shelves: fantasy-sf
It seemed a long time between sequels! But this was almost as good as the first.
Nov 26, 2011 Rachel rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: American fans of Tolkien
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Althea Ann
This excellent fantasy series ("Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone") is very
reminiscent of George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire - except that
it's actually finished! (There's one more book in the series that I
haven't yet read.) It follows a similar format, structurally, and the
'feel' of the writing is very similar. The story itself, however, is
quite original - at least, more so than many fantasy epics. I mean,
it's still got Dark Forces and Bold Warriors and Beautiful Queens etc,
etc... but we want th...more
Eric Moreno
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Book: 9.5/10 - 2/19/11
Series: 5/10 - 3/21/11
This is another series that started out well but ended terribly. The first two books were excellent - great fantasy with interesting and detailed characters; a good plot with an interesting world with a big back story. It kind of reminded me of A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, but focusing on fewer characters with a less intricate plot. The third book was still solid, but there was less character and plot development...still interesting an...more
This is the second book in Keyes' epic-fantasy series. I'm not reading many of those kind of series anymore (too long, too similar, too boring, generally), but I've liked Keyes ever since reading 'Chosen of the Changeling'. So, a while ago I bought and read the first book in this series and wasn't disappointed. Took me a while to get round to reading this one, but once again: good read.

I rather like how Keyes takes traditional elements, almost clichéd characters even, yet manages to weave them i...more
by Ax
In crescendo

Questo secondo volume della Saga di Keyes mi è sembrato migliore del primo. L'approccio ai personaggi e alle vicende l'ho sentito più maturo, dimostrando di avere qualcosa di interessante da raccontare e scavando più in profondità nel mondo creato, anche se a mio avviso avrebbe potuto osare di più sul versante delle emozioni umane.
Una buona storia, molto scorrevole, in attesa di essere compresa più avanti, nei restanti libri (un paio).
This book built on the plot of the first one, expanded it, and made it better. I loved the introduction of Leoff, (he quickly became my favorite character, which wasn't easy considering that I already had a few in the top spot.) and the plot threads of the first book really get more depth and start to make more sense. I really started to hate the church, and my opinion of the Briar King became a little less certain. Aspar White and Winna still bored the crap out of me, but because the ending is...more
Shari  Mulluane
The Charnel Prince proved to be another captivating read. The tension remains high, the PoV switches were done smoothly, and the characters all develop in believable ways. One of the reasons, I believe, that this series is so popular, is the balance. There are many components to this story. Mystery, love, politics, humor, interesting world building, loyalty, betrayal, royal characters, and lowborn characters are all present in equal measure. Moreover, those are just examples, there are many them...more
Better than #1. I can't say how many things I liked in this one: the music/opera (which could have been a disaster but instead was charming), the climax (which was tense and dramatic and scary, as it should be), the mystery of the briar king and the motives of the church and the fanes and the fae-realm and the powers of Anne Dare, the slimy fascination of the undead prince.

It was all quite surprising. This isn't a Hollywood style block buster of a series, but it has crept up on me. The writing...more
Nov 14, 2009 Sarah rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jason
This was just as much fun as the first book. As before, Keyes was able to keep the suspense at full throttle throughout and gracefully juggle multiple characters (although, I have to say, with so many characters, sometimes the similar names get me confused). When I think of well-developed characters, I think of it as the book giving you enough context to understand them through and through. While this book does that, it also develops the characters over the course of the story - they come out th...more
3.5 stars

Book two of this series. Not as good as the first, though it did make me want to continue reading on, which I guess means it did its job, or at least earns a "decent" or "average" rating. Though I did like a couple parts more than average, therefore the 3.5.

I thought the beginning was kind of slow and that the characters weren't really amounting to much, except to run around the countryside. I enjoyed the plot twist with the secondary character who made a surprising return to the storyl...more
The pace of the plot picked up a bit in this novel, and made it more of an enjoyable read than the first book. The setting of this series is really fantastic, and I feel that overall this series is very underrated.
Robert Negut
Just great! The only problem is that there are some moments when characters just happen to pop in the right place, at the right time... But I suppose that can't be avoided, there are so many stories interwoven here that explaining those events as well would make the plot have to slow to a crawl. And I'd have liked the overheard dialogues in invented languages to be translated too.
Things are moving in a direction that could bother some, but that seemed very logical and even quite desirable for me...more
I felt a bit let down by the second installment in this series. A lot of the darker and more unique qualities that made me enjoy the first one so much seemed toned down here. There are some new characters and plots that when all put together stretch the novel a bit too thin. I felt like I never got to spend enough time with most of the characters, except maybe Anne, before the somewhat anti-climatic ending. Still pretty good, just feels like a stepping stone for the next volume.
I enjoyed this. Keyes takes all of his characters, throws in a few new ones, and shakes them up into a complicated mixture of plots. The mysteries that he's introduced are interesting, and the action is well done. If the fourth book was readily available, I'd jump right into the third; as it's not, I'm going to hold off for at least a few weeks to decrease the wait between books.

I'm glad I picked these ups. I wanted to read an adventurous fantasy, and I've found that in these.
Tony J
Aug 08, 2011 Tony J added it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
After tearing through Keyes' first title in the Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone series (The Briar King), I was thrilled to get my hands on the second installment. He didn't let me down. Not by a long shot. It has been a long time since a fantasy series so completely captured my attention. Keyes does an amazing job of fleshing out his world, while mixing political intrigue, character development, and mysticism. Definitely recommended for fans of fantasy fiction.
Doug Roberts
Although this sequel seemed more about politics than swords and/or sorcery, the characters had grown on me to the point where it was just as interesting. At times I wanted to scold Mr. Keyes for being too wordy - did I really need a lengthy lesson on the inner workings of music composition? There are deathless knights out there! - but in every case, I ended up happy for the tangent. I'll be moving on to the third in the the series, The Blood Knight.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Revelation (Rai-Kirah, #2)
  • The Other Lands (Acacia, #2)
  • Antiphon (Psalms of Isaak, #3)
  • A Cavern of Black Ice (Sword of Shadows, #1)
  • Traitor's Knot (Wars of Light & Shadow #7; Arc 3 - Alliance of Light, #4)
  • Lord of the Shadows (Second Sons Trilogy, #3)
  • Hidden Warrior (The Tamír Triad, #2)
  • The Judging Eye (Aspect-Emperor, #1)
  • Shadowrise (Shadowmarch, #3)
  • The One Kingdom (The Swans' War, #1)
  • A Betrayal in Winter (Long Price Quartet, #2)
  • The Virtu (Doctrine of Labyrinths, #2)
Gregory Keyes is a writer of science fiction and fantasy who has written both original and media-related novels under both the names J. Gregory Keyes and "Greg Keyes".

Greg Keyes was born in to a large, diverse, storytelling family. He received degrees in anthropology from Mississippi State and the University of George before becoming a fulltime writer.
He lives in Savannah, Georgia.
More about Greg Keyes...
The Briar King (Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, #1) Conquest (Edge of Victory, #1) (Star Wars: The New Jedi Order, #7) Rebirth (Edge of Victory, #2) (Star Wars: The New Jedi Order, #8) The Final Prophecy (Star Wars: New Jedi Order, #18) The Blood Knight (Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, #3)

Share This Book