The Justice of Kings (Empire of the Wolf #1) (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

It’s been awhile since I’ve read such a captivating fantasy novel that didn’t lean too heavily on world-building and exposition. The story allows the world to breathe and the reader to fall into the lore at a decent pace. The discourse on law versus religion is done well and the ending sets up a sequel nicely. I can’t wait to get my hands on Tyranny of Faith!

— Jesse


Action, intrigue, and magic collide in this epic fantasy following Sir Konrad Vonvalt, an Emperor's Justice, who is a detective, judge, and executioner all in one—but with rebellion and unrest building, these are dangerous times to be a Justice . . . 

The Empire of the Wolf simmers with unrest. Rebels, heretics, and powerful patricians all challenge the power of the Imperial throne. 

Only the Order of Justices stands in the way of chaos. Sir Konrad Vonvalt is the most feared Justice of all, upholding the law by way of his sharp mind, arcane powers, and skill as a swordsman. At his side stands Helena Sedanka, his talented protégé, orphaned by the wars that forged the Empire. 

When the pair investigates the murder of a provincial aristocrat, they unearth a conspiracy that stretches to the very top of Imperial society. As the stakes rise and become ever more personal, Vonvalt and Helena must make a choice: Will they abandon the laws they’ve sworn to uphold, in order to protect the Empire?

"Richard Swan's sophisticated take on the fantasy genre will leave readers hungry for more." –  Sebastien de Castell, author of Spellslinger

“A fantastic debut.” – Peter McLean, author of Priest of Bones

About the Author

Richard Swan was born in North Yorkshire and spent most of his early life on Royal Air Force bases. After studying law at the University of Manchester, Richard was Called to the Bar in 2011.   When he is not working, Richard can be found in Sydney with his wonderful wife Sophie, where they attempt to raise, with mixed results, their two very loud sons.

Praise For…

The Justice of Kings is equal parts heroic fantasy and murder mystery. Sir Konrad Vonvalt’s fierce intellect and arcane powers will make you long to follow in his footsteps, but it’s his young clerk, Helena who brings heart and dazzle to the story. Together they’re a formidable team, and Richard Swan’s sophisticated take on the fantasy genre will leave readers hungry for more.”—Sebastien de Castell, author of Spellslinger

"A stunning piece of modern fantasy writing."—RJ Barker, author of The Bone Ships

"The Justice of Kings is utterly compelling, thoroughly engrossing, and written with such skillful assurance I could barely put it down. The characters feel so real I swear I suffered every horror and hangover alongside them, and their world—though we see just the smallest portion of it here—feels vastly complex, poised on the brink of a disaster I can’t wait to watch unfold.”—Nicholas Eames, author of Kings of the Wyld

“A fascinating look at justice, vengeance and the law — great characters, compelling and wonderfully written. A brilliant debut and fantastic start to the series.”—James Islington, author of The Shadow of What Was Lost

"A marvelously detailed world with an engrossing adventure from a unique perspective."—K. S. Villoso, author of The Wolf of Oren-Yaro

"A fantastic debut."—Peter McLean, author of Priest of Bones

"Swan crafts a strong, dynamic character in Vonvalt . . . This promises good things from the series to come."—Publishers Weekly

“Murder mystery meets grimdark political fantasy in this first of a trilogy … An intriguingly dark deconstruction of a beloved mystery trope.”—Kirkus (starred review)

“The world of the Empire of the Wolf is a rich and interesting one … Readers will enjoy the world building, Sir Konrad and his crew, and the unique touches to a familiar fantasy tale.”—Booklist

"Richard Swan's expertise in the law and understanding of political complexities shine in this grim dark fantasy filled with just that. Prejudice, morality, and the law itself don't escape his keen examination and are laid bare to the reader within Empire of the Wolf."—R. R. Virdi, author of The First Binding

The Justice of Kings instantly claimed a place as one of my favourite reads of the year. With vivid characters, impeccable storytelling, and an eloquent voice, it combines so many elements I love – mystery, brooding war, necromancy and a cast of characters who felt so real, I was loathe to turn the final page. It was absolutely riveting, and I can’t wait to continue the series.”—H. M. Long, author of Hall of Smoke

Product Details
ISBN: 9780316361484
ISBN-10: 0316361488
Publisher: Orbit
Publication Date: August 23rd, 2022
Pages: 464
Language: English
Series: Empire of the Wolf