The Justice of Kings – Richard Swan

The Justice of Kings by Richard Swan
Also by this author: The Tyranny of Faith, The Trials of Empire
Series: Empire of the Wolf #1
Published by Orbit on February 22, 2022
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy
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The Justice of Kings, the first in a new epic fantasy trilogy, follows the tale of Sir Konrad Vonvalt, an Emperor’s Justice – a detective, judge and executioner all in one. As he unravels a web of secrets and lies, Vonvalt discovers a plot that might destroy his order once and for all – and bring down the entire Empire. 
As an Emperor's Justice, Sir Konrad Vonvalt always has the last word. His duty is to uphold the law of the empire using whatever tools he has at his disposal: whether it's his blade, the arcane secrets passed down from Justice to Justice, or his wealth of knowledge of the laws of the empire. But usually his reputation as one of the most revered—and hated—Justices is enough to get most any job done. 
When Vonvalt investigates the murder of a noblewoman, he finds his authority being challenged like never before. As the simple case becomes more complex and convoluted, he begins to pull at the threads that unravel a conspiracy that could see an end to all Justices, and a beginning to lawless chaos across the empire. 

I admit, it took me far too long to read The Justice of Kings by Richard Swan. Fantasy is not a genre I can read often. Do I enjoy it? Absolutely, but I must pace myself, or I will mix up stories’ details. Was that imaginary religion in book A, or did book A feature the magical creature in the woods? I’ve been sitting on The Justice of Kings for over a year. I’ll be honest: At this point, I hesitate to try new fantasy authors. Often, I do not like how the female characters are portrayed, or I worry the language will be too strong. With The Justice of Kings, I have eaten my own words, as it is one of the best fantasy novels I have read in the recent past.

Is there language? Yes, but it is not on every page. I felt no need to skip every other word. The Justice of Kings reads like the first book of a series. Swan introduces his world and his characters flawlessly. Everything seems simple enough: Someone murdered a man’s wife, and Justice Sir Konrad Vonvalt takes it on himself to investigate. With Dubine Bressinger and Helena Sedanka at his side, he works to solve the mystery…and uncovers much more as the story continues. The Justice of Kings starts slow but ends dramatically, and I loved every minute of it. Vonvalt, Bressinger, and Helena all change throughout the novel. Character development is important to me, and Swan does not disappoint.

Bravo. The Justice of Kings by Richard Swan was a fantastic debut. Sophisticated and thorough, Swan answers every question a reader might have about his world. He does so, however, without blatantly explaining anything. It is not as if you’re sitting in a classroom, listening to a lecture. Rather, you’re studying a sculpture. You look at it from one angle, and you think you have the entire picture, but then you approach it from a different angle and discover something new. I loved how the novel was from Helena’s view, looking back on her younger days…and I cannot wait to experience more of her story.