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Knife Sworn

(Tower and Knife Trilogy #2)

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  433 ratings  ·  40 reviews
The brother of a fallen emperor ascends to the throne of the Cerani Empire in the second installment of the Tower and Knife trilogy.

After a lifetime locked in his tower room, Sarmin has come into his own. He is the crowned emperor; he has wed Mesema of the horse tribes; the Pattern-Master is dead. Everything should be happy-ever-after.

But war ignites in the north, and in t
Hardcover, 346 pages
Published November 13th 2012 by Night Shade (first published October 24th 2012)
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Average rating 3.56  · 
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 ·  433 ratings  ·  40 reviews

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Althea Ann
Sep 09, 2015 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 10, 2012 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
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

After an impressive debut that created many expectations, Mazarkis Williams returns in Knife-Sworn, the second installment of the Tower & Knife trilogy, with another uniquely magical adventure, bringing us amidst a new threat that will shake the Cerani Empire, and managing also, through his wonderful characters, to take us even deeper into the secrets of this beautifully crafted world.

It’s been almost a year since the events that brought them against Helmar’s curse and cost them more than
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Aug 23, 2013 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
Oct 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: lovers of high fantasy or fantasy in middle-eastern setting
Shelves: fantasy, arabian
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 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
Jul 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-not-on-shelf
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
”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
Jan 16, 2013 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,
Jul 20, 2015 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
PopcornReads - MkNoah
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 ...more
Nathan Washor
Jun 03, 2012 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...
Jude Morrissey
Jul 05, 2013 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! ...more
Apr 14, 2012 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 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, fantasy
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 avo ...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 11, 2012 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
Jul 02, 2013 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
T.O. Munro
Jan 02, 2014 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.

Holly Scudero
Nov 26, 2013 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
Jun 02, 2012 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 T. 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 11, 2013 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 to the paintings anymore (well he tries, but they don't answer).
And the
Jul 14, 2013 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.
Aug 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
loved it.. can't wait for the final novel. ...more
Ria Bridges
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Continuing shortly after the point where The Emperor’s Knife left off, the Empire is in a state of uncertainty. Sarmin, his life spent in captivity and more than half mad, is now the Emperor. The Many, previously afflicted with the Pattern, are directionless, seeking the unity and certainty that they once felt through the Pattern-Master’s influence. A new religion rises. The Empire is under threat from a spreading emptiness from the previous Emperor’s tomb. Plots weave in and out, a tight set of ...more
Kevin Laslie
Feb 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
This is yet another series where something intrigued me enough to buy them all, but as I read them they are mediocre at best. The flow just doesn't suit me and at times I can only read about 10 pages before having to put it down. The story itself is pretty good, but I struggle with the way it was told. ...more
Aug 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Not as good as the first one.
Oct 21, 2012 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
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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

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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