Within the Hollow Crown feels like a Terry Pratchett – Michael J. Sullivan cross.

I like Terry Pratchett for his humour but not necessarily for his plotlines. It’s difficult to have a serious quest if all your characters act in such a ludicrous manner. Antoniazzi manages to strike a balance such that although the narrative tone is Pratchett-like, the story is more generic epic fantasy.

The Rone nobility do not know it yet, but they are about to be overrun by the Turin, indigenous tribesmen of the land the Rone stole hundreds of years ago. The tribesmen’s plan basically involves disrupting the Rone succession, which they know will cause bickering and infighting.

But is the succession really the true succession? Two scholars are about to make a discovery that could change everything.

There are some predictable elements of this story, but the characterisation is fantastic and the humour makes up for all flaws.

I’m going to give it a 4/5. Looking forward to reading the next instalment. Before I wrap up, here’s a taste of Antoniazzi’s style:

Corthos was a pirate.

At least, that’s what he told people. Usually pirates tried to pretend they weren’t pirates, to avoid trouble with the local constables. But for Corthos, his case was exactly the opposite. He hoped, dearly, that people would think he was a pirate. He wore an eye patch over his perfectly healthy left eye. He spoke with that particular brand of poor grammar that delineated his profession. For a short time, he even had a stuffed parrot strapped to his shoulder.

Corthos’ only regret was that he had never lost any limbs, and didn’t have any peg-legs or hook-hands to show off to the ladies at the pub.

And for most of his life, he was also lacking in one other respect. He didn’t have a boat.