Bastard King, The: Book One Scepter of Mercy

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9780451459671: Bastard King, The: Book One Scepter of Mercy
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Since the loss of the Scepter of Mercy, the kingdom of Avornis has been threatened by its magic-wielding neighbors, until King Lanius and King Grus risk everything to bring the missing scepter home. Reprint.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Set in the kingdom of Avornis, Chernenko's debut fantasy uses simple language and straightforward narrative to chronicle the rise of two extraordinary men-Lanius, the bastard son of a king, and Grus, a royal navy captain of humble origin. Due to an irregular succession and his anomalous status, the young Lanius finds his life ruled by a series of regents, including his mother and later Grus, who serves as the more powerful joint king. Meanwhile, Grus has become a general, fighting both the warlike Thervings and the Menteshe, who are vassals of the Banished One. A former God thrown out of heaven by the other Gods, the evil Banished One seeks to subject all to his will. Indirectly in his control is the talisman known as the Scepter of Mercy, once the property of the Avornis kings, which he can't wield but which others could use to defeat him. Each new king of Avornis has pledged to do all he can to get the scepter back, but its powers and appearance are uncertain and it's not until the end that both Lanius and Grus determine to follow through on the pledge, paving the way for future installments. The explicit details of Lanius's sexual coming-of-age should resonate with older young adults.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

With this book, Chernenko launches the Sceptre of Mercy, a series that promises to be more saga than soggy. Said ruling rod, missing for centuries, is eagerly sought by the Banished One, who was cast from heaven and wants to use the thing to reclaim his godhood. Naturally, woe betides mortals who get in his way. Lanius, only surviving son of the late King Mergus of Avornis, is, as the child of the king's seventh wife, technically a bastard, and therefore only the puppet ruler of a clique of nobles whose demeanor recalls medieval Scotland. His best, indeed sole, ally is Grus, a leader of the royal navy, which is Avornis' only line of defense against the ambitions of the Banished One. Of necessity, this alliance tries to outflank intrigues by the nobles and ends up literally and figuratively at sea, with not even survival, let alone victory, ensured at book's end. Intelligent if not original in most respects, the yarn doesn't take itself too seriously, and the seafaring portions of it are well handled. Roland Green
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9780451459145: The Bastard King: Scepter of Mercy, Book One (The Scepter of Mercy, Bk. 1)

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ISBN 10:  0451459148 ISBN 13:  9780451459145
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