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In Ken Liu’s “Grace of Kings,” it did not seem possible for Kuni and Mata to share power. They seemed to have no plan for power sharing and were amassing armies and allegiance in a way that made their clash inevitable. Yet the conflict that between the two faction is cast as the result of a betrayal.

Was there a betrayal or were the events at Thoco Pass merely an excuse for these rivals to pursue one another? Specifically, Mata seems to inflate a real insult into the justification for severing his relationship with Kuni and taking the empire for himself.

Was Mata’s trek to Pan analogous to Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon?

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