A Conspiracy of Truths

A Conspiracy of Truths

In a bleak, far-northern land, a wandering storyteller is arrested on charges of witchcraft. Though Chant protests his innocence, he is condemned not only as a witch, but a spy. His only chance to save himself rests with the skills he has honed for decades – tell a good story, catch and hold their attention, or die.But the attention he catches is that of the five elected r...

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Title:A Conspiracy of Truths
Author:Alexandra Rowland
Rating:

A Conspiracy of Truths Reviews

  • Abi Walton

    What a wonderful book. I have wanted to read this Novel for ages and was so excited when it arrived on my doorstep. This book is beautiful! It's about the power of storytelling and how magical tales are. Our protagonist, Chant, is an old travelling storyteller who earns his way through his knowledge of people, myth and legend.

    I read Rowland's "In The End" and instantly knew I was going to adore "A Conspiracy of Truths. Rowland's writing style is lyrical, fascinating and driven by characterisati

    What a wonderful book. I have wanted to read this Novel for ages and was so excited when it arrived on my doorstep. This book is beautiful! It's about the power of storytelling and how magical tales are. Our protagonist, Chant, is an old travelling storyteller who earns his way through his knowledge of people, myth and legend.

    I read Rowland's "In The End" and instantly knew I was going to adore "A Conspiracy of Truths. Rowland's writing style is lyrical, fascinating and driven by characterisation which I have always loved. The Worldbuilding is captivating and Beautiful and has left me desperately wanting more. I cannot wait to see where Rowland takes this series (?). I am left desperately wanting to see more of these characters and wondering if maybe Ylfing will be our next protagonist as he becomes his own traveller and Chant?

  • Felicia Davin

    This is a fantasy novel about the power of storytelling--the main character, Chant, is a wandering storyteller who gets wrongfully arrested and then sets about bringing down the government of the entire country from inside his prison cell. The narration is wry and engaging, the characters are complex and real, and I loved all of the embedded tales. The worldbuilding in this book is absolutely superb.

    Also, one of the embedded tales has a central plot point about historical phonology, and that won

    This is a fantasy novel about the power of storytelling--the main character, Chant, is a wandering storyteller who gets wrongfully arrested and then sets about bringing down the government of the entire country from inside his prison cell. The narration is wry and engaging, the characters are complex and real, and I loved all of the embedded tales. The worldbuilding in this book is absolutely superb.

    Also, one of the embedded tales has a central plot point about historical phonology, and that won my nerd heart forever.

  • Katie Lawrence

    Just brilliantly done. I'll post my finished review when I am able, but goodness if you enjoy folklore, political intrigue, watching the power of stories in action, sarcastic narrators, definitely give this a go.

  • Alyshondra

    Ok. This book.

    You know when you are tootling along, enjoying a book, appreciating the craft and the snarkiness when all of a sudden you realize that this book has worked it’s way inside of you to be written on your bones? It happens slowly, without noticing, and then you just have to stop for a minute and take a breath and appreciate how this book is now just a part of you.

    That is A Conspiracy of Truth for me.

    The stories Chant (and others!) tell are amazing. We get a feel for the whole wide wo

    Ok. This book.

    You know when you are tootling along, enjoying a book, appreciating the craft and the snarkiness when all of a sudden you realize that this book has worked it’s way inside of you to be written on your bones? It happens slowly, without noticing, and then you just have to stop for a minute and take a breath and appreciate how this book is now just a part of you.

    That is A Conspiracy of Truth for me.

    The stories Chant (and others!) tell are amazing. We get a feel for the whole wide world, even though it’s set in this one city. There are legends and creation myths and silly joke tales and tales with poetry and riddles. Everyone tells with a different voice. My favorite (can I even pick?) is the creation myth.

    The range of female characters in this is just FANTASTIC. Women are all sorts of people, and it is SO GOOD.

    ALSO: Visible galaxy and two moons in the sky. I swoon for thought-out astronomy.

    NOT TO MENTION the actual cinnamon roll too good and pure for this world. Still mad we have to wait ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY THREE PAGES to meet him.

    The author created fanfic style tags that you can see on their website:

    . This delights me, and I want more authors to do this please.

    There is SO MUCH MORE, but I want you to experience it yourself. Go and read.

    I got an ARC, cause I am very lucky.

  • Jennifer Mace

    Take one desperate, curmudgeonly old storyteller on trial for witchcraft. Add one undermotivated and deeply unimpressed lawyer who just wants to go home to her wives and husband. Pepper with a sprinkling of paranoid, trigger-happy nominally-elected fantasy despots and stir vigorously with the aide of some, shall we say, 'creative' storytelling. Garnish with the softest, most precious apprentice to never deserve the disaster about to befall him and everyone he cares about - and now you have A Con

    Take one desperate, curmudgeonly old storyteller on trial for witchcraft. Add one undermotivated and deeply unimpressed lawyer who just wants to go home to her wives and husband. Pepper with a sprinkling of paranoid, trigger-happy nominally-elected fantasy despots and stir vigorously with the aide of some, shall we say, 'creative' storytelling. Garnish with the softest, most precious apprentice to never deserve the disaster about to befall him and everyone he cares about - and now you have A Conspiracy of Truths.

    I can't possibly convey the gems hidden between these covers - go read the sample pages, and you'll get a glimpse of what I mean. Chant's voice is incorrigible and impossible to put down. His foes are, by turns, ridiculous and terrifying. The consequences of his actions are chilling and the way his stories spiral out of his control is a terrifying reflection of our own society. The stories themselves are perfect jewels of fairytale, at once alien and somehow deeply familiar. And every single character has a heart and a core that leaps off the page.

    Put your hours in Rowland's hands. You won't regret it.

  • Lauren James

    An old man is trapped in prison, accused of witchcraft. An old man who has spent his life learning how to tell stories, and manipulate perceptions. An old man who will do anything to get free. An old man, who single-handedley manages to take down an entire government from a prison cell.....

  • Kathy

    is a story about people and what makes them tick. And it's a story about stories. And it's a story about stories that tell you what makes people tick. And if you love stories (I mean, you're reading

    , aren't you?)

    .

    Admittedly, the book wasn't quite what I was expecting. I went into it anticipating something similar to

    and

    --something whimsical and fantastical--and it took me a while to adju

    is a story about people and what makes them tick. And it's a story about stories. And it's a story about stories that tell you what makes people tick. And if you love stories (I mean, you're reading

    , aren't you?)

    .

    Admittedly, the book wasn't quite what I was expecting. I went into it anticipating something similar to

    and

    --something whimsical and fantastical--and it took me a while to adjust to the fact that

    is an entirely different beast.

    That's not to say there

    stories within stories in this book (or that they're not fantastical). We get more than a dozen of them and they serve many purposes: they're used to educate a person on a subject, to deceive and coerce, or to simply pass the time. But the book is less about the stories themselves and more about their...anatomy. The shape of them. While the content of the stories are important, they're not quite as important as what they say about the storyteller and the story

    How they're told, how they're interpreted, how they're reacted to--all of that can tell you so much of a person and

    the beauty of stories.

    and the idea that people--

    people--are pattern finders. The way we look for meaning in chaos, draw through random dots, seeing pictures and creating stories out of them. And sometimes such stories have the power to upturn nations.

    Okay, enough vague gushing. Let's get to the meat of it.

    Our story begins when Chant--our illustrious, elderly, cantankerous storyteller--gets arrested and charged with witchcraft, espionage, and brazen impertinence while passing through Nuryevet, a country where polyamory is the norm, the government divided into five Queens and Kings, and nearly everything requires the signing of paperwork (including visits to the brothel).

    Chant soon discovers that Nureyviet is rotten to the core with all manner of corruption--assassinations, nepotism, bribery. Things he wouldn't normally give a toss about, but with his neck on the line and his execution date drawing near, he realizes that to save himself he must first save this country from itself. What can a 70-year old man do from the confines of a cell, you may ask? Well, Chant isn't without allies. In his corner he's got one very reluctant but talented advocate; one kindhearted, though a tad naive, apprentice; said apprentice's boyfriend (who has

    beautiful handwriting); and of course, the greatest weapon at his disposal--his stories.

    . While undoubtedly entertaining, I found his fiery personality somewhat exhausting in the beginning. But then he started growing on me, and at some point he went from grating on my nerves to pulling at my heartstrings and plastering a grin on my face. I don't know

    it happened, but I do know

    . It's his love of stories and understanding of the human heart that ultimately won me over, and by the end I would have happily fought Ylfing for the apprentice position.

    Speaking of which,

    . The teenager's sweet and unassuming personality contrasts so wonderfully with Chant's grumpy cynicism, and despite all of Chant's "I don't care" attitude, the love shared between them is palpable. Their scenes range from hilarious to intellectually provocative to tear-jerking and I would gladly read five more books about their adventures.

    Aside from Ylfing, most of the side characters in the story are women. Diverse women. Women who are flawed and decidedly not

    . Women who stand up for what they believe is right even if it means losing everything else. Soldiers, lawyers, politicians, mothers--Rowland gives a platform for all, which is so gratifying to see in a fantasy novel.

    The side characters also serve as Chant's eyes and ears. A story has no right to be this entertaining when its narrator spends most of his time locked up in cells, but at

    . These characters constantly come and go carrying news and stories and just the sheer magnetism of their personalities, and you soon forget that you barely know what this country even looks like.

    Plot-wise, it's a lot more politics-heavy than I'd expected. You get thrown a lot of names and info from the get-go and it took me a good 1/3 of the book to get settled into it. But from then on I was fully hooked. I'm pretty sure my initial disengagement has to do with my shoddy memory and lack of note-taking, so a word of advice: write notes on the key political players as they come up.

    There are books that make you ponder the nature of humans. There are books that have you on the edge of your seat, brows furrowed and biting your nails. And there are books that leaves you smiling and feeling good about the world. And

    book? This book manages all three.

  • Mike

    4.0 out of 5 stars

    Based on the book cover and description alone, I was expecting this to be a deadly serious high fantasy tale. What greeted me instead was an unexpectedly delightful story featuring a wonderfully eccentric narrator named Chant.

    Chant is an irascible traveling raconteur with a sharp tongue who tells stories to anyone who lends a year (and some who don’t). These stories are presented as interludes interspersed throughout the book — most come from Chant’s voice, but some are tales t

    4.0 out of 5 stars

    Based on the book cover and description alone, I was expecting this to be a deadly serious high fantasy tale. What greeted me instead was an unexpectedly delightful story featuring a wonderfully eccentric narrator named Chant.

    Chant is an irascible traveling raconteur with a sharp tongue who tells stories to anyone who lends a year (and some who don’t). These stories are presented as interludes interspersed throughout the book — most come from Chant’s voice, but some are tales told to him from others. Each story is complete with Chant’s internal monologue criticizing haphazard storytelling techniques or adding footnotes and flair to his own words. Chant presents as an omniscient presence who understands so much about the world but he struggles to grapple with his own emotions. He would rather believe that he’s having a heart attack than feeling excited or that his face is sweating rather than tearing up. It’s a fun personality quirk that adds some depth to what could’ve been a straightforward, one-note character.

    I wasn’t consistently sucked into the overall plot nor did I always understand the court hierarchies and politics at play, but this is The Chant Show, pure and simple — the story flowed beautifully from him and out into the world.

    When writing a book

    a gifted storyteller, it helps to

    a gifted storyteller. Luckily, author Alexandra Rowland shows a knack for spinning a charming and heartwarming yarn. 

     is an impressive and enchanting novel that was a joy to read. I hope to read Rowland’s subsequent works and perhaps more about Chant’s past and future adventures, as well.

    See this review and others at

    .

  • Freya Marske

    I got to sink my teeth into an ARC of this one courtesy of (disclaimer) MY DEAR FRIEND ALEX, who has written a joyfully layered and frequently hilarious story about stories. And about storytellers. And about the power of narrative to alter reality, and what happens when one person wielding that power out of sheer survival instinct sets off a chain of events that takes apart a nation.

    The sheer amount of imagination and attention to worldbuilding detail in this made me want to weep with jealousy,

    I got to sink my teeth into an ARC of this one courtesy of (disclaimer) MY DEAR FRIEND ALEX, who has written a joyfully layered and frequently hilarious story about stories. And about storytellers. And about the power of narrative to alter reality, and what happens when one person wielding that power out of sheer survival instinct sets off a chain of events that takes apart a nation.

    The sheer amount of imagination and attention to worldbuilding detail in this made me want to weep with jealousy, and the style of narration is so irreverent and fun (and unreliable) that it pulled me along effortlessly. I had a great time listening to Chant spin me this particular tale, and I suspect you will too.

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