The Girl on the Liar’s Throne is the third and final instalment of Den Patrick’s Erebus sequence which began with The Boy with the Porcelain Blade and continued in The Boy Who Wept Blood. Needless to say, you’ll get so much more out of these novels if you read them all, and in order. I’ll give a brief synopsis, but won’t say too much, as I’d hate to spoil this wonderful series for you.
The Erebus sequence is set in the darkly gothic Landfall, and much of the action occurs in and around the capital, Demesne. Within the capital, there are a small handful of “orfano” – mysterious orphans of unknown origin who, by the King’s decree, are taken in by the leading families to be trained and educated as any of their own noble born children would be. Strangely disfigured, the orfano always stand apart, alienated by their unusual appearance and unknown heritage.
Three resilient orfano – Lucien, Dino and Anea – have, throughout the series, sought to bring about change (and peace) to the nation, and yet political intrigue and the mysterious Erebus may undo all of their hard work and ruin the nation. In this final novel, we find out whether or not our intrepid orfano have what it takes to beat the corruption that has marred Landfall, and to bring about the changes they’ve sought for so long.
There is so much to these novels, and The Girl on the Liar’s Throne in particular, and I’d love to explain the incredibly taut plot line in this novel further, but I hate spoilers, so I won’t go into any more detail in terms of a synopsis. But, this novel is my favourite of the three as all of the various threads are brought together, and everything comes to a head.
Whilst a definite trilogy rather than an interconnected set of standalone novels, one aspect of the series that I’ve particularly enjoyed is the shift in focus in each novel. The Boy with the Porcelain Blade is very much Lucien’s story, whilst in The Boy Who Wept Blood, Dino steps to the fore and Lucien, still present, takes on more of a supporting role. In The Girl on the Liar’s Throne, the focus shifts away from the boys to Anea, the Silent Queen. Each of the orfano has their own special skills, seemingly to balance out their afflictions, and in Anea this has materialised as an enhanced intelligence. Far from the innocent young girl we met in the first novel, the young woman here is a shrewd politician, more than capable of dealing with the political intrigue that plagues Demesne as the leading families seek power and influence and everything that brings.
Throughout the Erebus Sequence, Patrick’s world building has been superb. This was necessarily a focus of book one, as he seeks to establish the gothic Italian Renaissance vibe that is carried so well throughout the series. For me, the setting is one of the more original aspects of the story – many other similar novels have comparable settings falling under a different title, interchangeable and forgettable, yet Landfall and Demesne in particular are wholly original.
Similarly, I loved the very individual characteristics of each of the protagonists. Each has had their own unique voice, and has developed in their own way as the series has progressed. The more minor characters have also had full back stories provided. They are not all entirely likeable, yet this only improves the story in my mind.
The Erebus Sequence is a wonderful addition to the genre, and I can’t wait to see what Patrick goes on to do next.