Review: The Tyrant’s Law

Posted: February 11, 2014 by in Books We Love (5/5 single_star) Meta: Daniel Abraham, Epic Fantasy

After having only very recently lauded praises on Mr. Abraham for a great middle book in his urban fantasy series (EBR Review), I found it kind of humorous that I would now be writing a review for a great middle book in his epic fantasy series (no need to go anywhere for that review–you can just keep reading and find it presently). This guy keeps putting out quality books, and it’s no surprise that this is yet another in his growing list of entries to our Books We Love.

THE TYRANT’S LAW (Amazon) is the third book of The Dagger and The Coin epic fantasy series by Daniel Abraham. Halfway done now and though it seems like there is so much left to go, there are only two books left to come. This book picks up where the previous one in the series, KING’S BLOOD (EBR Review), left off,  and follows the same four characters.

Geder Palliako, Lord Regent of Imperial Antea is continuing his war against the fleeting goal of wide-spread peace and stability for the kingdom.  He’s sending his armies and bands of his Spider Priests to bring one nation after another beneath the banner of the spider goddess, spreading himself far beyond the point of thin. Yet despite his success and power, his weakness and driving desire to find true friendship allow him to be shifted by the many winds that are blowing.

Beneath Geder’s nose, living in the Antean capital city of Camnipol, Clara Kalliam has begun in earnest to try and manipulate the social and political strings with which she is so familiar and is yet now far-removed from after being ostracized from the court after her husband’s assassination attempt on the Lord Regent.

Cithrin bel Sarcour has become an official apprentice of the Medean Bank and is sent to a far off city to work beneath the tutelage of its Magistra and learn how the bank manages its dealings. Yardem Hane accompanies her in the absence of Captain Marcus Wester, and for a time they believe that Geder’s war will not reach them.  But they soon find they are wrong.

Marcus Wester accompanies Master Kit in his quest for a rumored poisoned sword in far-off Lyonea with which they mean to kill the goddess of the Spider Priests and terminate the domination that Master Kit is certain will otherwise come to pass.

Again, as in previous books of the series, character development is key to this story. It’s just one of the reasons I loved the book so much. Abraham handles each of these stories with a deft hand, showing the shaping and formation of the people each of these characters is becoming. Cithrin, as she grows more into the woman that she’s been pretending at for so long now, and in her fight against the inner demons of her past experiences and choices. Geder, as he is torn between wanting what is good and right for the future of Antea and handling the horrible weight and intoxicating power that comes with his position. He wants it all so badly, that it takes very little for those around him to manipulate him to their purposes. Clara, as she learns to control the world from within her new set of limitations and place in the Antean court. In a lesser-author’s hands, these character changes could easily have come off feeling weak and contrived. But not here. There is a breath and life to these characters that makes it all just seem…right. This is how it would have happened had it been real.

Purely fiction? Says who?

THE TYRANT'S LAW has solid writing, steady world-building, and great pacing. Every chapter accomplishes something of importance. This is fantasy done right.

Solid writing. Steady world-building. Great pacing. Each and every chapter accomplishes something important. All the boring parts of the story have been left out. Hooray! He gives us brick after sturdy brick in this wall, building to an ending that will change everything. I was completely unprepared for just how central Clara is becoming to the story. Or for what Captain Wester and Master Kit find in their travels. Or for the choice that Geder makes at the end that may very well begin the process of his eventual fall. Each piece of this puzzle elucidates more of what is really behind everything that has come before, all that is now, and all that will yet be. While along the way we learn just what The Dagger and The Coin really mean to this world that is painted vivid and replete with texture.

This is fantasy how it’s meant to be done, people. Take a word of advice from those that know. This is not a series to miss. Mr. Abraham is not an author to pass by. Buy his books. Be part of the reason that he gets to keep doing what he loves to do so that we can keep reading the stories that we love to read.

  • Recommended Age: 15+
  • Language: Not very much, but offerings from the full gamut are included
  • Violence: There is a war going on, so it's discussed quite a bit, low levels of violence, no gore
  • Sex: One high-level scene, general references, and some mild discussion


  • Mitch Myers says:

    Great book, great series. Love the relationship between Wester and Kit, and the meeting between Yardem and Wester was priceless.
    I'm not sold on Clara yet. She was a surprisingly large aspect of this book and i am still unsure why, she added little to the plot of this book and i can't see how she would need such a setup for the next books. At least i can say i wasn't clawing at my eyes when i saw her name at the top of the chapter the way Martin made me do with Cersai.

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