Cover Artist: Richard Anderson
I really like this cover, especially for a character-centric design. It looks like a Chris McGrath / Stephan Martiniere mash-up and it's hard to go wrong from there.
But lets not let a pretty cover get in the way of a good story. One of the more recent hyped-up fantasies, John R. Fultz's Seven Princes, also had an Richard Anderson cover - arguably an even better one. Unfortunately, the content between the covers didn't make as much of a splash as Orbit was anticipating.
What about the book itself?
Per Tor.com "The Emperor’s Blades follows siblings Valyn, Kaden, and Adare, who are in different parts of the world when they learn about the assassination of their father, the Emperor. All of them are in danger of being the next targets, and all of them are caught in the maelstrom of conspiracy, intrigue, treachery, and magic that sweeps through Staveley’s auspicious debut novel."
And the expanded summary:
"When the emperor of Annur is murdered, his children must fight to uncover the conspiracy—and the ancient enemy—that effected his death.It will be interesting to find out if The Emperor's Blades will be able to live up to the quality of the cover it bears. See for yourself on Jan 14, 2014.
Kaden, the heir apparent, was for eight years sequestered in a remote mountain monastery, where he learned the inscrutable discipline of monks devoted to the Blank God. Their rituals hold the key to an ancient power which Kaden must master before it’s too late. When an imperial delegation arrives to usher him back to the capital for his coronation, he has learned just enough to realize that they are not what they seem—and enough, perhaps, to successfully fight back.
Meanwhile, in the capital, his sister Adare, master politician and Minister of Finance, struggles against the religious conspiracy that seems to be responsible for the emperor’s murder. Amid murky politics, she’s determined to have justice—but she may be condemning the wrong man.
Their brother Valyn is struggling to stay alive. He knew his training to join the Kettral— deadly warriors who fly massive birds into battle—would be arduous. But after a number of strange apparent accidents, and the last desperate warning of a dying guard, he’s convinced his father’s murderers are trying to kill him, and then his brother. He must escape north to warn Kaden—if he can first survive the brutal final test of the Kettral."