The Providence of Fire : Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne

  • by Brian Staveley
  • Narrated by Simon Vance
  • Series: Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne
  • 23 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Brian Staveley's The Providence of Fire, the second novel in the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, a gripping new epic fantasy series in the tradition of Brandon Sanderson and George R. R. Martin.
The conspiracy to destroy the ruling family of the Annurian Empire is far from over.
Having learned the identity of her father's assassin, Adare flees the Dawn Palace in search of allies to challenge the coup against her family. Few trust her, but when she is believed to be touched by Intarra, patron goddess of the empire, the people rally to help her retake the capital city. As armies prepare to clash, the threat of invasion from barbarian hordes compels the rival forces to unite against their common enemy.
Unknown to Adare, her brother Valyn, renegade member of the empire's most elite fighting force, has allied with the invading nomads. The terrible choices each of them has made may make war between them inevitable.
Between Valyn and Adare is their brother Kaden, rightful heir to the Unhewn Throne, who has infiltrated the Annurian capital with the help of two strange companions. The knowledge they possess of the secret history that shapes these events could save Annur or destroy it.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Miscommunication driven plot ruined a good story

What was most disappointing about Brian Staveley’s story?

After the fantastic set up and world building of the first book, I expected better. Even in book one the portrayal of Adare was a tad misogynistic: an overly emotional woman with the self control of a seven year old. Her naïveté was believable then. But in book two it only gets worse. She apparently has virtually no self control in emotional events, and despite being smart and politically savvy enough to be the finance minister has all the character judgement of a rock. And despite having access to the best possible advisor in the world, and life changing events, has experienced zero character development.

Kaden and Valyn are more believable as characters, but with them the story advances solely through miscommunication. Apparently despite spending days or weeks with people they trust, they never get messages like "hey, that guy you want to talk to is an insane fanatic who will want to torture you for days."(Not that these other characters are believable either). Or they utterly fail to be able to express simple ideas to potential allies, such as "I did it all to save the emperor" and "that guy's a blood leech and I bet he's lying." It's all just more than I could handle.

Yes, the protagonists are basically kids, okay. But one of them was supposedly raised on politics at the center of power, but then has all the politics acumen of a white suburban teenager. And acts like a woman from a Dickens novel. The other two either refuse to share basic information for no apparent reason or aren't given critical and brain-dead obvious information except in the most obscure and circumcised terms.

And all of that leaves out the contradictions on fairly basic world building from the first book. For example, Kaden falls out of the vanyate (SP?) at the drop of a hat despite having to force himself out in the first book.

If the characters had been making honest mistakes on the tough choices in front of them, I would have been able to suspend my disbelief. But instead they learn nothing from the past and apparently don't get any information from the people who are supposed to be advising them.


What three words best describe Simon Vance’s performance?

Ponderous, deep, pleasant.


What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment. I like the characters, but their behavior doesn't match their personalities and the resulting plot it just not believable.


Any additional comments?

I was really looking forward to this book, but I couldn't even finish it, and I won't be buying the next one.

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- L. Sheldon Clark

A Big Step Back

I was so hopeful after the first book. This was going to be one of those series where I actually put books on pre-order. I really liked where it was going. And then this happened. I don't know if Staveley was rushed to publication, or if he was told to cram a lot more stuff into the book to keep it lively, but this book doesn't make much sense.

Oh, there are some redeeming pieces. Staveley can check most of the blocks that go along with your basic fantasy novels. He has good fights, readable banter, surprises, and colorful atmosphere. I don't want to give him zero credit. He does those parts pretty well.

His major problem is that his characters are broken in a way that makes the story not make sense. I am not saying that he writes damaged characters intentionally like an alcoholic who acts perversely yet humanly. No, his characters are constantly doing things for no reason or for reasons they know to be false or just completely stupid. Sure, the scenes and outcomes are more dramatic, and what they do may fit for that scene, but they don't make sense to the rest of the story. I get it that characters often act contrary to their interests, it can build drama. This is understandable and completely forgivable in stories. It happens in real life all the time, but when every major character makes decisions like the drunkest freshman at a college party just to make that individual scene as striking as it can be, their motivations in the larger narrative fall apart. That is the problem with this installment. The author gets dramatic scenes that don't make sense when you try to string them together.

As this could be the sophomore doldrums, I might swing back around for the third book. But I won't be waiting breathlessly. I could just as well give this series up.

I consistently enjoy Simon Vance's readings. This narration was also strong.
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- Benjamin "Likes to listen while doing chores; likes to write reviews while he should be doing chores."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-13-2015
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio