Crown of Stars (series)
Cover of the first edition of King's Dragon
- King's Dragon (1997)
- Prince of Dogs (1998)
- The Burning Stone (1999)
- Child of Flame (2000)
- The Gathering Storm (2003)
- In the Ruins (2005)
- Crown of Stars (2006)
Crown of Stars is set in Novaria, a continent heavily inspired by medieval Europe. Over the course of the novels it is revealed that 2,700 years prior to the present a war erupted between humanity and a race of elf-like beings called the Ashioi. Human sorcerers were able to banish the Ashioi homeland to another plane of existence, but in doing so unleashed a vast cataclysm upon the world that devastated much of humankind. Humanity recovered, initially under the rule of the mighty Dariyan Empire, and later under its successor states, guided by the wisdom of the Daisanite Church (which is heavily influenced by Christianity).
The story opens with the kingdoms of Wender and Varre, unified under the rule of King Henry, threatened by both external and internal threats. Sabella, Henry's elder half-sister, is fomenting rebellion against his rule in Varre, whilst the inhuman Eika have invaded from the north, raiding the north coast and threatening the city of Gent. In King Henry's court there is intrigue brewing as Henry has not chosen an heir from his three legitimate children, and it is well known that he favours his bastard son Sanglant, who by the law cannot inherit the throne.
The series follows the fortunes of two young people, Alain and Liath, as they are drawn into this web of intrigue, eventually learning that the banished Ashioi homeland is being drawn back to Earth, but its return will spark a cataclysm as great as the one that accompanied its departure.
Crown of Stars is heavily influenced by real history, particularly that of Europe in the early medieval period. In an interview Kate Elliott acknowledged that many of the cultures in her world are drawn directly from real-world sources:
Alba = Britain, Salia = France, Varre = The Low Countries, Wendar = Germany, North Mark = Denmark, Eikaland = Norway & Sweden, Polenie = Poland, Salavii = Slavs, Ungria = Hungary, Karrone = Switzerland, Darre = Rome, Aosta = Italy, Arethousa = Byzantium, Quman = assorted steppe tribes (Tartars etc.) or the Golden Horde, Hessi merchants = Jewish traders, Ashioi = Aztecs, Kartiako = Carthage, Jinna = Persia.
The writing of the series
Elliott had long been a major fan of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and had planned to write a similar long epic fantasy, but decided to do something a bit different first by writing science fiction, most successfully in the Jaran universe. During this time she planned her epic fantasy storyline and drew on real-life history for inspiration. After deciding to take a break from the Jaran series, she began work on Crown of Stars.
The series was originally envisaged as a trilogy, with a sequel trilogy to follow. This expanded to four volumes, and then Elliott chose to split the fourth volume in two after difficulties emerged in the writing process. The series then expanded to six volumes. However, after completion of the sixth volume the publishers decided that at 430,000 words it was too large to be published in one volume, so it was split into two books published four months apart. Thus the series became seven books long.
- Interview with Kate Elliott conducted at Chronicles Network (April 2005).