When nature decides to strike back against humanity she's not going to discriminate between those who think they are friends of the earth and those who don't give a damn. She's not that choosy in anything she does. No matter what anyone says about the storms being God's verdict on anyone's behaviour, one has nothing to do with the other. If they did, don't you think that most capital cities in this world would have been decimated thousands of times over in the last ten years alone? Talk about dens of iniquity...
In The Charnel Prince, book two of his saga The Kingdom Of Thorn And Bone, Greg Keyes continues where he left off in book one, The Briar King, with a description of what could happen when just such circumstances come to pass. What could trigger such a severe reaction on the part of the natural world? Is it only because of human intrusion into places they shouldn't have been? Or is there something deeper and fouler at work?
What is the mysterious connection between the ruling Dare family of the Crotheny Empire, the forces of the ancient world, and the power of the Briar King? Whose power is behind the human face that is seeking to ensure a female Dare does not obtain the throne after the emperor is murdered? Are they in league with the Briar King, or are they what he has returned to fight against?
With the murder of all her sisters on the same night as the death of the Emperor, Anne Dare has become the only living female with a claim to the throne, which in the eyes of many makes her life forfeit. Knowing that her life is in danger, but not knowing why or that her father is dead, Anne has been trying to make her way home with the aid of two new friends, Cazio and z'Acatto, a young hot-headed swordsman and his fencing master, and her maid Austra.
While the idea of seeking passage on board a ship seems a good way to avoid the roads and potential pursuit by her assassins (including some who appear unable to be killed even when they are relieved of their heads, although that does render them harmless as they can only lay about and twitch after that), the difficulty of raising the necessary money to buy passage is an unexpected hardship. Being raised a princess does not prepare one for life as a scullery maid, which is the only work Anne is skilled enough to obtain.