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Publisher's Summary

Can the youngest son of a noble house save his family from a plot generations in the making?

Crispin Marlowe grew up in his brother’s shadow, but Hadrian is gone, and his grandmother - the Duchess of Delos - is dying. 

Answering her summons, Crispin takes off on what should be a routine flight to the ducal palace from the castle at Devil’s Rest. But he is flying into a trap. There are whispers of treachery among the duchess’s many daughters, rumors of hidden knives in the planet’s court...if he can even make it there. 

With no one coming to save him and only his sister, Sabine, and a few injured guardsmen to protect him, House Marlowe’s least famous son must make his heroic stand, and contend not only the foes arrayed against his house, but with the cultists who dwell in the mountains above his family’s ancestral home....

©2020 Christopher Ruocchio (P)2020 Recorded Books

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  • Gaman
  • 20-04-2020

More Than Game of Dune

This was a great read. Picasso once said that good artists borrow, but great artists steal. Ruocchio steals from Dune and GoT in the way that Herbert stole from Heinlein, or GGRM stole from Stan Lee (or Tolkien); he appropriates and extends the literary grammar he has inherited.
In this pullout of the Sun Eater series, we explore the consequences of a devastating war between great houses far in the future. As in GoT, there are often unexpected consequences to war, because you can’t kill them all, and the losers stay angry long after the winners have forgotten the brutality that led to their victory. But, unlike the original Dune, where character was mostly a function of class, here, class is a function of character.
Ruocchio understands that the most satisfying stories involve characters challenging their own limits. His books also bring us the joy of having minor characters emerge as fully formed, with independent motivations. Ruocchio is next big thing in SciFi, and the Sun Eater series more than fills the void created while waiting for both the new Dune movie, and WoW.

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  • Pam W
  • 19-04-2020

Unexpected treat!

What an unexpected treat!
Absolutely loved this little novel, while waiting on "Demon in White" to hit the shelves.
It delivered a good insight to the character of Crispin and his idealization of Hadrian, gone but never far from his thoughts.
Crispin always feeling the lesser of his brother and even younger sister Sabine, breaks free to shine in his own right, with the unfolding of his true self.
Samuel Roukin gave another great presentation. Perfect narration for this series.

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  • Nickolas X. P. Sharps
  • 21-04-2020

A Great Sun Eater Side Story

Obviously Ruocchio didn't write this story for me but it sure felt that way reading it! I'm a big fan of the Sun Eater series, I liked Empire of Silence and I LOVED Howling Dark. Oddly enough my favorite character in EoS was Hadrian's little brother, Crispin. He wasn't a HUGE part of the book and he wasn't the most sympathetic character of all time but I actually connected with him better than I did with Hadrian at the time (Howling Dark made me a much bigger Hadrian fan). I never expected Crispin would get his very own side story but here we have it! I wouldn't recommend The Lesser Devil as a standalone. You could read it as such and appreciate the action but you'd be missing out on a lot but reading it as part of the larger series is a real treat though. Seeing how Crispin has developed since his big brother disappeared and watching him have his own adventure was a great experience (made all the better by Samuel Roukin's narration on the audiobook).

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  • Gulo Granville
  • 07-01-2021

A solid little story in the Sun Eater universe!

I've been trying to spread my reading out until the fourth Sun Eater Book is released in 2022- The Lesser Devil is more of the same solid world building and unflinching storytelling that I've come to expect and love from Christopher Ruocchio, and Samuel Roukin always gives you a great performance!

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  • Dave.Dolan
  • 29-04-2020

Story was weak for the series

I wanted more of this universe and more of the characters while I wait for book three of the main sun eater to come out. It was disappointing. The performance was first rate, as is par for this narrator. I just felt like the author confused Crispin and Hadrian and there wasn't much of a reason for it other than at one brief point, he ruminates that "he must have remembered more than he thought," of what his tutor, Gibson, had taught him. Meh.

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