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The Prince's Man

(The Five Kingdoms #1)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  158 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Rustam Chalice, hedonist, dance tutor and spy, loves his life, never better than when he's bedding a gorgeous woman. So when the kingdom he serves is threatened from within, he leaps into action.

Only trouble is, the spy master, Prince Halnashead, teams him up with an untouchable aristocratic assassin who despises him.

And to make matters worse, she's the most beautiful wo
Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 444 pages
Published July 29th 2013 by Deborah Jay
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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  158 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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Sep 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
This exciting and enchanting novel is very approachably written. Jay follows the basic format of a fantasy tale but he story itself is extremely unique. You can’t help but get caught up in the amazing world that Jay presents to her readers. At times I felt like I was watching a reel, I was so caught up in Jay’s descriptions of each and every scene. Not only that, but this novel is extremely well written and edited, allowing you to flow seamlessly into this world. Jay neither talks up nor down to ...more
Mae Clair
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
One of the best fantasy novels I have read in ages, The Prince’s Man combines court intrigue, nefarious plots, and dazzling realms. Rustam (Rusty) Chalice is a debonair dance master who lives a double life as a spy in the service of his prince, while also frequenting the beds of highborn ladies.

His life takes a turn when he is forced to team with Dart, the court’s royal assassin—a woman—with the goal of transporting a sickly elf across hostile, mountainous territory. Through the arduous journey
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Deborah Jay's The Prince's Man (Amazon Digital Services 2014) is a beautifully told epic of noble people, magic, elves, and vicious trolls. Rusty is a bon vivant male companion to wealthy women and undercover spy in the service of his king. To save the kingdom, he partners with a woman--something that just isn't done in this fantastical world--and together they rescue a captured elf in the hope it will garner the assistance of his kinsmen. As they travel the long journey required to return him t ...more
K.S. Marsden
Jul 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Tyr-en is one of the Five Kingdoms, and prides itself on being the most educated and civilised. But even in a country run by noble Families (all ranked by land and wealth), not everybody is acting honestly.
The closest relative to King Marten, Prince Halnashead, is in charge of security and recruits those best at playing the game of subterfuge. Two of his best agents are Charmer and Dart must work together to discover who is behind a plot to usurp the throne.
Rustam, also known as Charmer (no furt
Nov 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Saving his kingdom seemed that simple choice – until he uncovered his heritage

Classic medieval fantasy with an unusual sinister sleuth ‘twist’!

Book 1: in the five kingdoms series is a sensational creation that blends together sweeping epic fantasy with a thoroughly modern edge to it. The mix of spellbinding romance with a dark mystery, made me feel like I was reading a Robin Hobb novel - -and yet something quite different. Amid this packed tale of deadly politics, secret assassins and old magi
A.C. Flory
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure what I was expecting when I started reading 'The Prince's Man', but the reality blew me away. The story is a grown up fantasy reminiscent of Robin Hobb's Farseer series [which I also happen to love]. You'll find Machiavellian politics, intrigue, loyalty, a hint of love, and a cast of characters you can relate to. Yes, they have their flaws, but don't we all?

To my mind, watching the characters change and grow is at least half the fun. The other half is getting to know the world in w
D. Peach
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this entertaining and skillfully-written fantasy novel. I was particularly taken with the tight narrative, not a wasted scene or conversation, every word counting as the story unfolded. This contributed to a quick pace and complimented the well-considered plot that comes together with a satisfying ending. Though the first in a series, The Prince’s Man can also be read as a stand-alone.

All that good stuff, and then there’s more… the characters are fabulous, deeply flawed and
Emma Faragher
Jul 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in political manoeuvring and epic fantasy
I know, I know. I never give 5 stars to anything, but I finished this book and went immediately to “Where’s the next one”. Which of course, there isn’t. The one I read was an advanced reader’s copy I got in exchange for an honest review, but I assure you that I will definitely be watching this author so that I can snap up whatever else she comes out with!

Back to the book. The Prince’s man is set in a fantasy world where mankind has been trying to survive on a new land for a hundred years and mor
Rhoda D'Ettore
Dec 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Reminiscent of Game of Thrones, this delightful fantasy will hold your attention from beginning to end. Although I do not normally enjoy fantasy, I picked it because someone compared it to GOT. This author has an amazing career ahead of her as her characters are well drawn, the story moves quickly and the plot and sub plots are compelling.

There are no grammatical or punctuation errors, and the writing style draws the reader in.
Thank you Ms. Jay for writing such an awesome work!
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
now i am hooked. This was such a great, easy and creative book. i was hooked after the first page.

The characters were easy to fall in love with and follow, along with the story. the author made the mental visions so easy and vivid of the surroundings and the characters actions felt so real.

i would highly recommend this author and this book.
InD'tale Magazine

This is a diverting, character-driven fantasy book.

Read full review in the 2014 February issue of InD’tale Magazine.
Colleen Chesebro
“The Prince’s Man,” begins with an introduction to the young Risada, as she listens in on a conversation between her parents. There’s trouble between the different houses in the kingdom, and Risada’s mother believes there is a spy in their midst. An assassin hiding in the shadows of the room steps forth and murders both her mother and father. From that day forward, Risada vows revenge on whoever killed her parents.

Twenty years later, the game is revealed when Rustam Chalice, an undercover spy in
Alan T
Dec 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Risada, Rustam, Anasala, Halnashead, Iain, Elwaes,

Risada witnessed her parents assassination, but escaped with her baby brother, Iain. She and Rustam have rescued Elwaes, an elf, from Lord Melcard and his doctor, adviser, and torturerer. Risada, Rustam, & Elwaes escape Melcard across the mountains, seeking to reach the kingdom of Kishran and hoping to receive aid to prevent the fall of Tyr-en to a usurper.

Characterization & plotting are excellent.

Characterization and plotting are excellent.
Bruce Retallack
Dec 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-sf
I have to admit I wasn't expecting a lot from this novel, but I was very pleasantly surprised. Jay does a great job of twisting a lot of fantasy tropes on their head and populating the book with a lot of well-drawn and fascinating characters. The plot twists and revelations were beautifully placed and carefully foreshadowed, even if they did come as a surprise.
A great story with characters you actually do care about and root for.
Liz C
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an enjoyable easy read. Good characters, decent story.
Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ecopy
Fast paced fantasy

Really enjoyed these characters. The story sucks you into their lives and doesn’t let you go. I am looking forward to the second book.
Apr 09, 2021 rated it liked it
Got this cheap off Book Bub. It wasn’t bad but not good enough to purchase any more of the books. Luckily this one had enough resolution that there isn’t any need to.
May 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
For me, it was easy and nice reading, the characters are presented clearly and the history has a good argument.
Jun 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
Great story line, very exciting, believable. Worth Six Stars.
Crystin McDaniel
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Rustam Chalice is one of the best players in the political game that permeates Tyr-en society. A simple Dance Master, he uses his good looks and charm to ferret out vital information and state secrets from the ladies of nobility, letting his pretty face hide the competent swordsman and ruthless spy underneath. When the stability of the monarchy is threatened, the kingdom’s spymaster sends Rustam undercover with Lady Risada: a beautiful yet deadly assassin who despises him. Their mission reveals ...more
Adrienne Woods
Jan 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Review on 30/01

I was given a copy from the author for my honest opinion.

I like fantasy, everyone knows me, knows that. So when Mrs Jay asked me to read The Prince’s Man for my honest opinion, I couldn’t say no.
In the beginning I did struggle to get into this one. We get introduced to so many people with funny names, (the only thing I don’t like about fantasy, are the weird names the author use, I can never seem to remember them and I always get confused with wh
Jessie Stevens
Dec 10, 2015 rated it really liked it

This book was solid.

Solid in the sense that it was, and I quote from, having relative firmness, coherence of particles, or persistence of form, as matter that is not liquid or gaseous.

This newly created world is firm, there are no gaps or jumps of reasoning. One creature, idea, magic or bit of history flows right into the next. Characters that appear substantial at the beginning of the book do nothing but grow and evolve as their backstory unfolds behind them.

This is solidl
Nov 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book introduces you to young Risada and her baby brother Iain, helplessly witnessing their parents die by the hand of an intruder. Growing up her one goal is to avenge her parents. Rustam does not know his father, his mother vanished when he was little. They both live in one of the Five Kingdoms: Tyr-en.

With The Prince's Man, Deborah Jay has created a steady-paced thrilling fantasy with many interesting characters. I automatically fell in love with Nightstalker, not being sure what to think
Nathan Curtis
Nov 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a very enjoyable book. It's nice to see something a little different when it comes to fantasy novels and this fit the bill quite nicely. The Prince's Man is first and foremost the story of Rustam Chalice, the kingdom's top spy, and Risada Delgado vas Domn, its top assassin. For a large portion of the book, they are at each others throats, sometimes literally. The book really starts to pick up when they rescue Elwaes, an elf held captive.
Probably my favorite thing about this book was th
Kasey Cocoa
Apr 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: review-requested
The writing is fairly well done with few distractions. The plot is intriguing and certainly interesting once you get past the first 1/3 or so of the book. The characters feel fleshed out and develop a sort of connection with the reader. I like the idea for the book, I just did not enjoy the enormous wealth of information and set-up at the very start. There is so much to absorb and learn all at once it makes for a struggle to keep reading. Once past that point, the rest of the book is an enjoyabl ...more
Denae Christine
Oct 05, 2016 added it
Shelves: dnf
DNF at 10%

I tried. I read other reviews that said the MC grows and learns, but I just couldn't get past him being a womanizer. The book started with a few hints, that he spends nights with the ladies, that he uses wives to get secrets about their husbands, but it soon grew more explicit.

I loved the culture idea with the houses and that a noble's rank depends on how much land they own. The "game" and intrigue seemed like they were going to be exciting and complicated, too.
Toni Michelle-Editor
Mar 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Princes Man was a gift from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Enchanting and exciting….full of action! The beginning was a bit hard to get into but after a few chapters, I was hooked. This fantasy novel is worth reading. But be warned…the ending kinda leaves you hanging….so if you hate cliffhangers, you might get a bit upset.
Aug 23, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I put this down after just a little bit. The job of Rustam consisted largely of seducing married women to get their secrets. After a description of him kissing one such women in places that I would rather not read about, I put the book down.
Toni Mari
May 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a fun, upbeat kind of read with strong likable characters.
Apr 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
This isn't usually what I would reach for when I want to read a book but I thought I would like to just have a go at something I'm not used to. The book was very well written and the characters where well developed. It took me a bit of time to get into it at first I don't know why but once the story line started to pick up I found it difficult to put down. I look forward to reading the others in the series and recommend that you should read this. I really enjoyed it. ...more

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Deborah Jay writes fast-paced fantasy adventures featuring quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.
Living mostly on the UK South coast, she has already invested in her ultimate retirement plan – a farmhouse in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands where she retreats to write when she can find time. Her taste for the good things in life is kept in check by

Other books in the series

The Five Kingdoms (3 books)
  • The Prince's Son (The Five Kingdoms, #2)
  • The Prince’s Protégé (The Five Kingdoms, #3)

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