Gambit of the Glass Crowns

Volume One of The Sundered Kingdoms Trilogy

Fiction - Fantasy - General
372 Pages
Reviewed on 08/02/2013
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Let me tell you a tale…
Illuminated by the flickering blue glow of a computer screen, Ethan Risso learned of his love for writing when he was barely old enough to reach the keyboard and his idea of a good story started with “Once upon a time…” and ended tidily with a “happily ever after.” Like most children, he had many an imaginary friend. Unlike most children, however, Ethan’s lived in the realm of the written word.
For nearly a decade, he spent his time reading as many books on the craft of writing he could find and writing four novels, none of which he would later allow to see the light of day. Always enamored with the romanticism of writing an epic world-encompassing series, he started writing what would become The Sundered Kingdom Trilogy in 2009. After dozens of pages of notes, he put pen to paper, only to find himself swept up in the journey along with his characters.
Today, Ethan continues to explore the realm of the page and has three projects in development: the second and third books of The Sundered Kingdoms Trilogy, due out in Q4 and Q2 of 2013 and ‘14 respectively, and a standalone fantasy novel.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite

Gambit of the Glass Crowns by Ethan Risso is Volume One of The Sundered Kingdoms Trilogy. Connor unwillingly becomes a herald of his era, due to the poisonous Féinmhuinín’s arrow that nearly killed him. Wars, tension between clans, political conspiracy as well as magic and romance -- Connor must find his destined path through all this.

Gambit of the Glass Crowns hits the ground running with the attack of Castle Cærwyn in Chapter I. The pace of the story is excellent. Political drama, magic, and other elements blend perfectly in this exciting fantasy tale. I appreciate the fact that a glossary for characters' names and backgrounds is provided in the beginning of the novel. It certainly helps to identify with the diverse set of characters. Ethan Risso brilliantly weaves the story with faultless prose and ensures each character receives enough attention and development as the novel progresses.

Volume One is, without doubt, a great start for the trilogy, and I genuinely think that Ethan Risso has sealed his place in the writing industry through his debut. The plot is unpredictable and multi-layered. Readers will definitely gravitate toward Connor in no time, and will support his endeavors and cheer every time he survives an ordeal. I'm also fascinated with the Meïnir and I cannot wait to see how Connor will adjust to his new role in Arlais.

All in all, I highly recommend this beautifully crafted fantasy to fellow readers and I look forward to Volume Two of The Sundered Kingdoms Trilogy.

Bil Howard

In Gambit of the Glass Crowns by Ethan Risso, Connor was meant to die at a tender young age when hit by a poisoned arrow. However, fate came to his rescue in the form of a priestess of Arlais. Now he must struggle through the ravages of a decades-long war, religious unrest, and political maneuvering. At the same time, an ambitious young queen and the bastard son of a duke position themselves to control not only their destiny, but the destiny of the kingdom of Dweömer. Each discovers how tenuous a hold upon the kingdom can be as they compete with the forces of a time that is passing while the kingdom begins to transition into a new era. Who will win out and what strength will they draw upon in order to fulfill their destiny?

Gambit of the Glass Crowns is set in a period and fantasy kingdom that will remind the reader of a royal kingdom in Northern medieval Europe. It is the first installment in an intriguing trilogy that is sure to attract a lot of attention from fantasy fiction readers. The plot is an intricately woven tale with enough twists, turns, and suspense to keep the reader turning pages to discover what will come next. The character detail and the emotional responses that they have as they wind their way throughout the story are one of the highlights of this work. This is the type of fantasy adventure that absorbs the reader into a dramatic and lifelike tale which becomes addictive. It is a must-read for those who thrive on the intimate details of a fantasy fiction novel involving numerous layers of suspense and intrigue. This is a great addition to the fantasy fiction enthusiast’s bookshelf.

Jack Magnus

Gambit of the Glass Crowns is the first book in The Sundered Kingdoms Trilogy by Ethan Risso. Connor is the nephew of the High King Alric of Caerwyn. He and his brother, Rhodri, have lived with Alric since their parents died and, when the story opens, they are the heirs to his throne. Their nursemaid, Ceridwen, is Meinir and a priestess of Arlais, a region where the Old Ways of the Meinir still thrive. Ceridwen taught her two charges much of the Meinir lore, including the uses of herbs for medicine and healing. Connor is adept at working with herbs and has his own garden at the castle. When we first meet Connor, Alric's castle is under siege during the clansmeet, a meeting of all the Hume lords of the neighboring kingdoms. Connor is wounded with an arrow that has been poisoned, and Ceridwen realizes that, without divine intervention, he will probably not survive the injury. Connor plans to journey to Arlais to be healed by Rhiannon, the high priestess.

Gambit of the Glass Crowns is an epic fantasy that will appeal to a broad range of readers. When we first meet Connor, he seems very sheltered and unsure of himself and is happiest when he's in his garden or mixing herbs to make tonics and salves. This first volume in Ethan Risso's Sundered Kingdoms Trilogy is also a coming-of-age story, and the reader shares in Connor's all-too-abrupt leap into adulthood as he tries to come to terms with his mortality. His friendship with the half-Meinir Gawaine is also a new experience for the sheltered teen.

Ethan Risso's Gambit of the Glass Crowns gives the reader much to ponder while awaiting the next volume in The Sundered Kingdoms Trilogy, an epic fantasy with much to recommend it.