Empire of Grass by Tad Williams

(9.0/10) Their culture is a fascinating... there is an undercurrent of secrecy and intrigue.

Empire of Grass continues the epic story set in the massive world of Osten Ard. It’s fantasy at its finest because it is layered with so much history and lore. This is a world so detailed it could be real.

The very best of fantasy isn’t plain and simple; it isn’t light verses dark: its people fighting for survival in a world where only the most ruthless win. And this world is filled with cunning politicians and conniving backstabbers. There are so many motives, so many agendas and so many factions fighting for control. It’s no wonder Tad Williams has inspired so many great authors of fantasy to take up the pen. His work is, and continues to be, amongst the best of the genre. And as time has gone on it has only become more developed. History continues to be written as new factions rise.

“The world will be ours again, as it once was. We will go out form this empire of grass with our brave horseman and fight until the world bends its knee to the new Shan.”

For me, though, it’s all about the Norns: the ancient race of immortals that live in the frozen north. They have a bloody and dark history and want nothing more than to rid the world of all mortals. They will stop at nothing to get their goal. Nothing is too far, reanimating fallen heroes and sacrificing their own soldiers are necessary means. Their culture is a fascinating one and, as with all previous instalments, I find their chapters the most interesting because there is an undercurrent of secrecy and intrigue. Even high-ranking members don’t know what the Queen’s plans are; yet, they must continue to obey blindly.

There are numerous POVs across the story. High Magister Viyeki narrates much of the Norn side of the war. Eolair is captor to the rising Empire of Grass and witnesses the final stages of their full mobilisation to action and unification under one ruler. All in all, there is never a dull moment as each character brings something interesting to the story with their backgrounds and endgame. One of the most interesting for me is Jarnulf, a human hunter who plans on assassinating the Norn Queen, a dangerous path to walk.

Amid it all is the genuinely good-natured King Simon who is completely out of his depth. He does not possess the brutal nature that is necessary to control his subjects and force loyalty amongst his peers. He is surrounded by foes and his kingdom is about to fall unless he can work a miracle, forge new alliances, and put the pieces of a shattered realm back together. Simon has a lot to do and not much time to do it in. The next book will be explosive, I can just tell. Tad Williams has spent a lot of time building up the groundwork. I just wonder if Simon is up to the task that is coming his way or perhaps a new hero will step forward. Uncertain times ahead.

So, this is another solid instalment, if a little on the slow side in the beginning, but I have no doubt Tad William’s fans will be rewarded for their patience as this trilogy ends.

Review by

12+

Empire of Grass reader reviews

9/10 from 1 reviews

Write a reader review

There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?

Your rating out of 10

All reviews for Tad Williams's Last King of Osten Ard series

The Witchwood Crown

Last King of Osten Ard #1 written by Tad Williams

New York Times-bestselling Tad Williams’ ground-breaking epic fantasy saga of Osten Ard begins an exciting new cycle! • Volume One of The Last K [...]

Published: 2017

Our rating: 9.5 | positive reader reviews

12+

Empire of Grass

Last King of Osten Ard #2 written by Tad Williams

Set in Williams' New York Times bestselling fantasy world, the second book of The Last King of Osten Ard returns to the trials of King Simon and Queen [...]

Published: 2019

Our rating: 9.0 | positive reader reviews

12+

More tad williams reviews

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlepig

by Tad Williams

Bobby Dollar, Advocate Angel and perpetual thorn in the side of Heaven, is about to save the holidays for a very special someone. Or somewolf. Or maybe even some pig... Bob [...]

Series: A Bobby Dollar Novella
Published: 0000

Score: 80

Our rating: 8.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+

The Dirty Streets of Heaven

by Tad Williams

Sure, he takes the occasional trip to Heaven, but his job as an advocate - arguing the fate of the recently deceased - keeps him pretty busy on Earth, and he's more tha [...]

Series: Bobby Dollar: Book 1
Published: 2012

Score: 92

Our rating: 9.1 | 1 positive reader reviews

15+

Happy Hour in Hell

by Tad Williams

Bobby Dollar has a problem or four of epic proportions. Problem one: his best friend Sam has given him an angel's feather that also happens to be evidence of an unholy [...]

Series: Bobby Dollar: Book 2
Published: 2013

Score: 85

Our rating: 8.5 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+

Sleeping Late on Judgement Day

by Tad Williams

Bobby Dollar thinks he's seen it all - after all, he's been to Hell and back again. Literally. But he has another think coming. Sleeping Late on Judgement Day will [...]

Series: Bobby Dollar: Book 3
Published: 0000

Score: 70

Our rating: 7.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+

The Dragonbone Chair

by Tad Williams

A war fueled by the powers of dark sorcery is about to engulf the peaceful land of Osten Ard—for Prester John, the High King, lies dying. And with his death, the Stor [...]

Series: Memory Sorrow and Thorn: Book 1
Published: 1988

Score: 91

Our rating: 8.5 | 6 positive reader reviews

12+

The Stone of Farewell

by Tad Williams

Following a brutal civil war, Osten Ard has been crushed under the rule of the two villainous High Kings. A single hope remains: if the rebels can find the three swords of [...]

Series: Memory Sorrow and Thorn: Book 2
Published: 0000

Score: 89

Our rating: 8.8 | 1 positive reader reviews

12+

To Green Angel Tower

by Tad Williams

In order for the Storm King can cement his power over Osten Ard, he must find and defeat the rebel forces massing against him. But the rebels, led by the exiled Prince Josu [...]

Series: Memory Sorrow and Thorn: Book 3
Published: 0000

Score: 85

Our rating: 8.5 | 0 positive reader reviews

12+

The Heart of What Was Lost

by Tad Williams

The world was nearly destroyed, but now knows hope again. At the end of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, Ineluki the Storm King, an undead spirit of horrifying, demonic power, ca [...]

Series: Memory Sorrow and Thorn: Book 5
Published: 2017

Score: 70

Our rating: 7.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

12+

The Dragons of Ordinary Farm

by Tad Williams

Tyler and Lucinda have to spend summer with their Uncle Gideon, a farmer. They soon discover that Ordinary Farm is well, no ordinary farm. The bellowing in the barn comes n [...]

Series: NA
Published: 2010

Score: 73

Our rating: 7.1 | 2 positive reader reviews

9+

The Very Best of Tad Williams

by Tad Williams

Within these pages you will find such delightful and curious things as a strange storytelling vampire, two woefully-overmatched angels, a dragon in cahoots with a knight an [...]

Series: NA
Published: 2014

Score: 83

Our rating: 8.3 | 0 positive reader reviews

12+

Shadowmarch

by Tad Williams

At the uppermost edge of the northern kingdoms, towers shrouded in mist, lies Southmarch Castle. For hundreds of years it has remained hidden from the affairs of empire. No [...]

Series: Shadowmarch Quartet: Book 1
Published: 0000

Score: 87

Our rating: 8.7 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+

Shadowplay

by Tad Williams

Darkness has fallen on the lands of the sun as an army of misshapen fey spill out from beyond the Shadowline. At their head is Yasammez, dark creature of nightmare. A furti [...]

Series: Shadowmarch Quartet: Book 2
Published: 2007

Score: 98

Our rating: 9.8 | 0 positive reader reviews

15+

Books you may also enjoy

The Lord of the Rings

by JRR Tolkien

Sauron, the Dark Lord, has gathered to him all the Rings of Power - the means by which he intends to rule Middle-earth. All he lacks in his plans for dominion is the One Ri [...]

Series: NA
Published: 1954

Score: 239

Our rating: 10.0 | 141 positive reader reviews

12+

Homeland

by RA Salvatore

Drow ranger Drizzt Do’Urden, first introduced in The Icewind Dale Trilogy, quickly became one of the fantasy genre’s standout characters. But Homeland first rev [...]

Series: The Dark Elf Trilogy: Book 1
Published: 1990

Score: 103

Our rating: 9.5 | 8 positive reader reviews

12+

Dragonlance

by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Lifelong friends, they went their separate ways. Now they are together again, though each holds secrets from the others in his heart. They speak of a world shadowed with ru [...]

Series: Dragonlance
Published: 1984

Score: 95

Our rating: 9.5 | 0 positive reader reviews

12+

Exile

by RA Salvatore

As I became a creature of the empty tunnels, survival became easier and more difficult all at once. I gained in the physical skills and experience necessary to live on. I c [...]

Series: The Dark Elf Trilogy: Book 2
Published: 1990

Score: 91

Our rating: 9.0 | 1 positive reader reviews

12+