I'm trying to remember the name of an adult fantasy series I read recently and would appreciate any help. Some things I remember (all from very near the beginning so as to avoid spoilers) are:

  • three royal siblings are separated - a brother is in a monastery (name begins with K), another brother training as an elite soldier (name begins with V), and sister remaining in capital (name perhaps begins with A)
    • the siblings have glowing eyes
    • the main religion in the capital is based around light/fire
    • the royal "palace" is a huge spire coming from the ground
  • the soldiers fly on warrior birds in squadrons called Wings and are training on a remote island
  • the monastery is in a desert, worshipping a "blank" god
  • their father, the emperor, dies and chaos ensues across the land

Target audience is definitely adult - they don't shy away from the gore of battle and deal with adult themes including sexual assault. I don't know when they were published, but if there were three then the first must have been at least 4yrs ago.

  • 2
    Welcome to the site :) You've got some pretty good info in the question already, but it might help you to have a look at this page if you haven't already, and see how many items on that list you can tick off. The more you give us the better and/or faster your answer will come
    – Au101
    May 5, 2017 at 2:07
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    Thanks for the advice - I'm not sure I can add much more, however! It was always a long shot...
    – U W
    May 5, 2017 at 7:38
  • Pretty sure this isn't it (As nothing else matches) but, the bit about soldiers flying on birds however reminds me of a movie titled Epic
    – Aegon
    May 5, 2017 at 7:48
  • Ha, no, they're adult books. Nice film, though!
    – U W
    May 5, 2017 at 7:50

1 Answer 1


I think I got it. Is it Chronicle of The Unhewn Throne series by Brian Staveley?

TLDR; version

  1. Three Siblings; Kaden, Valyn and their sister Adare.
  2. Their father, the Emperor has been murdered.
  3. Kaden lives in a monastery with monks of the Blank God.
  4. Valyn trains with an Elite unit of troops (The Kettral) which uses black hawks as their mounts. Their HQ is located in Qirin Islands.
  5. Adare lives in the capital.
  6. The Imperial House claims descent from the goddess Intarra and cites this heritage as the reason for their blazing eyes. While All Emperors have such eyes, not all of the princelings have them. Kaden is heir to the throne because of possessing such eyes, despite being younger than Valyn.
  7. Four books in the series; The Emperor's Blades (2014), The Providence of Fire (2015), The Last Mortal Bond (2016). Fourth one, Skullsworn was published 2017 and is available on Amazon (Shout out to Eshier for pointing it out).
  8. There is an order of Courtesans called leina.

Long Version

This is what Goodreads.com says about The Emperor's Blades (Book 1 of the series):

The Emperor has been murdered, leaving the Annurian Empire in turmoil. Now his progeny must bury their grief and prepare to unmask a conspiracy.

His son Valyn, training for the empire’s deadliest fighting force, hears the news an ocean away. He expected a challenge, but after several ‘accidents’ and a dying soldier’s warning, he realizes his life is also in danger. Yet before Valyn can take action, he must survive the mercenaries’ brutal final initiation.

Meanwhile, the Emperor’s daughter, Minister Adare, hunts her father’s murderer in the capital itself. Court politics can be fatal, but she needs justice.

And Kaden, heir to an empire, studies in a remote monastery. Here, the Blank God’s disciples teach their harsh ways – which Kaden must master to unlock their ancient powers. When an imperial delegation arrives, he’s learnt enough to perceive evil intent. But will this keep him alive, as long-hidden powers make their move?

As for the eyes:

"Valyn [is older], by one year. It's a really common mistake. Kaden is heir to the throne for his eyes, not his age."

Also, the Publisher's page confirms existence of birds used by the Elite troops:

In The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley, the emperor of Annur is dead, slain by enemies unknown. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. But each of them also has a life-path on which their father set them, destinies entangled with both ancient enemies and inscrutable gods.

Kaden, the heir to the Unhewn Throne, has spent eight years sequestered in a remote mountain monastery, learning the enigmatic discipline of monks devoted to the Blank God. Their rituals hold the key to an ancient power he must master before it's too late.

An ocean away, Valyn endures the brutal training of the Kettral, elite soldiers who fly into battle on gigantic black hawks. But before he can set out to save Kaden, Valyn must survive one horrific final test.

At the heart of the empire, Minister Adare, elevated to her station by one of the emperor's final acts, is determined to prove herself to her people. But Adare also believes she knows who murdered her father, and she will stop at nothing—and risk everything—to see that justice is meted out.

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    Amazing, thank you! Also good news that there's a 4th on its way..
    – U W
    May 5, 2017 at 11:05
  • @Serenthia Amazon says the 4th one came out last week (at least in the US)
    – eshier
    May 5, 2017 at 13:59
  • @eshier Huh! The Publisher's page maintains that "It is forthcoming".
    – Aegon
    May 5, 2017 at 14:00
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    @Aegon I went looking since the series sounded interesting. Had a recent pub date for the fourth book. Luckily also had a note for me that I bought the first one years ago and just hadn't gotten around to reading it.
    – eshier
    May 5, 2017 at 14:07

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