More People Should Read the Lion Hunters Series by EWein

Code Name Verity (CNV) by Elizabeth Wein was one of my favorite reads last year. I was actively promoting CNV even before it came out because I knew it was going to be amazing based on EWein’s previous novels – her Aksumite series called the Lion Hunters. Also, I was hoping that if CNV does well, then more readers will also pick up her other books and she can publish another novel in the series. I’m ecstatic at how well-received CNV has been – it has received awards and recognition that it deserves – but it looks like the Lion Hunters series still isn’t getting enough attention. I was expecting readers who fell in love with CNV to be curious about EWein’s other novels, especially since they’re all well-written historical fiction. It makes me sad that it hasn’t happened yet. Because I desperately want the next (is it going to be the final one?) book in the series to be published, I’m working on getting more readers to pick up these books! EWein said that the publication of the next book depends on reader support. Have you ever experienced reading a remarkable series and you’re astounded that so few readers are aware of it? That’s how I feel about this series.

The chronological order of the books is as follows:
The Winter Prince
A Coalition of Lions
The Sunbird
The Lion Hunter
The Empty Kingdom

The Winter PrinceA Coalition of LionsThe SunbirdThe Lion HunterThe Empty Kingdom

These novels are set in sixth century Aksum (Ethiopia) and I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel in that setting before. Readers new to the series can start with any of the first three books but the latter three books have to be read in order. Does that make sense? I read The Sunbird first and then The Lion Hunter and The Empty Kingdom because those were the only ones available in Manila at that time. I was able to get copies of both The Winter Prince and A Coalition of Lions when I want to the States in 2009. All of the books in are wonderful but I love the latter three because they focus on my favorite character in the series: Telemakos. This half-British, half-Ethiopian boy is sneaky, clever and wise beyond his years. I also love his interactions with the rest of the characters in the series – the relationships in these novels are definitely complex, which shouldn’t be surprising since the novels have intelligent characters involved in political intrigue.


Telemakos, as drawn by RosaleeLuAnn

The Winter Prince is an Arthurian retelling, with the story told from the point of view of Medraut (Mordred). So all Arthurian fans out there, that’s another reason for you to give this series a try. Here’s the summary of The Winter Prince from Goodreads:

Medraut is the eldest son of Artos, high king of Britain; and, but for an accident of birth, would-be heir to the throne. Instead, his younger half-brother, Lleu, is chosen to be prince of Britain. Lleu is fragile, often ill, unskilled in weaponry and statesmanship, and childishly afraid of the dark. Even Lleu’s twin sister, Goewin, seems more suited to rule the kingdom.

Medraut cannot bear to be commanded and contradicted by this weakling brother who he feels has usurped his birthright and his father’s favor. Torn and bitter, haunted by jealousy, self-doubt, and thwarted ambition, he joins Morgause, the high king’s treacherous sister, in a plot to force Artos to forfeit his power and kingdom in exchange for Lleu’s life. But this plot soon proves to be much more – a battlefield on which Medraut is forced to decide, for good or evil, where his own allegiance truly lies…

I’m posting only the summary to the first book in the series to avoid spoilers. To further convince readers to pick up the books, I compiled snippets from what other authors have to say about EWein’s the Lion Hunters. Here’s a tweet from Rachel Neumeier (author of House of Shadows, The City in the Lake, The Floating Islands):


The next tweet exchange surprised me because Robin McKinley (author of The Blue Sword, Beauty, Pegasus and so many other fantastic novels) is one of my favorite authors of all time, and I had no idea that she helped EWein get published:


Aside from these two lovely authors, Megan Whalen Turner (author of the Queen’s Thief series, you would know who she is if you’ve been following my blog for a while) is also a fan of EWein’s work. EWein even wrote a guest post for Queen’s Thief Week about the similarities and differences between Telemakos and Eugenides.

Another favorite author, Sherwood Smith (author of The Crown Duel, the Inda series, the Sasharia en Garde duology and the Wren series), said this about The Sunbird:

Intense, spare and vivid, this story builds, with subtle characterizations, and some sharply dramatic and painful moments.

I’ve recommended it to readers who like Megan Whalen Turner’s work, and heard back that this was a successful pairing.

If you’re a fan of these authors, their recommendations will probably be enough to make you curious about the books. 🙂 If you feel like we have similar tastes in books, then I have a feeling that this post will be enough to convince you to read at least one of the Aksumite novels. I wish I had my copies of these books here with me but unfortunately, they are all back home. Writing this post is making me want to reread the books. Have you read the Lion Hunters novels? Please help me spread the word about them if you have. I would also appreciate hearing your thoughts about the books, feel free to rave about them in the comments to encourage more readers.

44 thoughts on “More People Should Read the Lion Hunters Series by EWein

  1. OMG Chachic you are AMAZING. I only hope I am able to follow through with the extremely high expectations! 😀 Thank you so much for the fantastic recommendation. Now I am going to go tweet it to all my followers! ♥

    • Yay, thanks for dropping by to comment and of course, for tweeting this to all your followers. 😀 I really hope this will encourage more readers to check out the series, especially all the CNV fans out there. The next Telemakos books MUST get published!

    • You’ve read The Winter Prince? That’s excellent news! I think it’s out of print so it’s good that you were able to find a copy. I remember finding my first copy in a used bookstore in the US. It was a worn-out, dilapidated copy so I had to get a second one when the chance presented itself. I believe The Sunbird is also out of print but the rest should be available. I hope that when the next book is published, they re-issue the whole series in matching editions.

    • I wish I had some useful suggestion for this, but, sigh, I don’t! keep hunting. They do turn up at reasonable prices on amazon and eBay with regular frequency. If it’s any consolation (which it isn’t), I am in the same boat – the disorganized supply people didn’t let me know when a couple of the books were going to be remaindered so I wasn’t able to buy up discounted copies of them myself! (I have no paperbacks of 3 or ANY of 4). Email me at ewein2412 [AT] yahoo [dot] co [dot] uk if you want me to try to send you any.

      • That’s so nice of you to offer to send a copy! And also very kind of you to reply to all the comments here. I have a feeling that I’d buy copies of these books whenever I see them available just because they’re so hard to find. But I really hope they get reprinted if enough readers are interested in the series. I want matching hardcover editions.

  2. I LOVED Code Name Verity, and upon finishing it I had to see if Elizabeth Wein published any other books. I haven’t heard of this series as a whole, but I had come across The Winter Prince in libraries and bookshops before. I guess it just never captivated me enough to pick it up. I agree, it’s awesome when authors that you love also love other authors that you love. And the Megan Whalen Turner comparison is pretty tempting. I will have to look into reading at least some books in this series at some point soon!

    • I do the same thing whenever I fall in love with a book written by a new-to-me author – I go online and check any other books that he/she has written. That’s good that you’ve across The Winter Prince before because that means it’s available where you are. Hope this post made you curious about the books. 😛

      I should have mentioned that I first found out about EWein’s books through Sounis, the LiveJournal community for Megan Whalen Turner fans, and that MWT herself recommended the books. I think it’s a pretty good bet that if you loved MWT’s series, then you would enjoy reading this one as well.

    • I always suggest The Sunbird to start with if you’re unsure about whether or not you’ll like these books. It’s a stand-alone and the lead character is just *nicer* than anyone in The Winter Prince. (Also, he is a child spy who gets captured and solves a mystery. You will recognize themes from CNV!)

  3. Wow. Look at all these awesome authors recommending each other’s books! 🙂 Oh I think I have this on my wish list because I remember you recommending this to me Chachic. Right after I read and loved another book of Arthurian background, A Song of the Sparrow, which of course, you also recommended. And I also owe you for The Thief series and Sevenwaters series as well. (I already have King of Attolia and Son of the Shadows and I hope I’ll get to read them soon.) And Beauty by Robin Mckinley too.

    I do have CNV on my TBR and that would now be my first E.Wein. Must bump up on TBR list! 😀

    “Sneaky, clever and wise beyond his years” That does sound like Gen!

    • Tin, you might have added it to your wishlist back when I reviewed the books? I love that you’re reading and loving some of my favorite books. 😀 I have a good feeling you’ll enjoy reading this series then.

      Yep, Song of the Sparrow was lovely. I look forward to hearing what you think of both the King of Attolia and Son of the Shadows, both are amazing novels. And yes, you should bump up CNV on your TBR pile.

      I call Telemakos as Gen-in-Africa but EWein is right, she mentioned in her guest post for Queen’s Thief week that while Telemakos and Gen have their similarities, they’re very different individuals. I guess I just get excited whenever I discover a Gen-like character that I immediately link that person back to Gen. LOL does that make sense?

  4. Read Winter Prince during my Arthurian Stage (around the same time I first read The Dark is Rising), courtesy of my aunt’s local library in OC. Can barely remember it though, so I need to hunt down a copy. I have Coalition of Lions and The Lion Hunter in the TBR pile but I’m not sure about the other two books. was waiting until I’d completed the set to start reading it 😦

    • Oooh you’ve read The Winter Prince! I hope you find a copy so you can reread it. It’s out of print so might be a bit difficult to find but online stores that sell used books should have it. I got my copies of The Sunbird, The Lion Hunter and The Empty Kingdom from Fully Booked, they probably still have stocks of those. Last time I was in the Fort branch, I saw copies of The Sunbird. Maybe you can call and ask them? Would love for you to read this series.

    • The Winter Prince has just been released in an audio version, if you’re interested –

      hard to find the other books, though, which is a shame. Definitely DON’T read The Lion Hunter without reading The Sunbird first! (or without having The Empty Kingdom to follow up with – The Lion Hunter ends on a cliffhanger)

      • I remember reading somewhere that The Lion Hunter and The Empty Kingdom were meant to be just one book but they got split into two? I guess that’s why they’re called the Mark of Solomon duology.

    • I should reread both The Winter Prince and A Coalition of Lions – I haven’t reviewed both of those books. So you haven’t read the latter three books? Estara, I’m pretty sure you’ll love them. 😀

      • I would, but you have to admit that E.Wein puts her characters through the wringer. Since I identify with the progagonists when I read, I have to be in a very stable mind-set to read her books, because they’ll influence how I feel for days. SPOILER!!!! Take CNV, there’s cathartic release at the end, but that doesn’t negate the fate of Verity.

      • Oh I definitely agree that EWein doesn’t make it easy for her characters. I also relate to characters when the novel sucks me in (which is usually what happens in EWein’s books), I had to prepare myself before I read CNV. I have a feeling I’d have to do the same for Rose Under Fire.

    • there are actually some parts of The Sunbird which I think would make you squeamish. You are a Coalition kind of gal.

      In an odd way, I think you would actually *like* Rose Under Fire (the new one) for the same reasons you like Coalition – Rose is one of my more likeable characters. But there are other reasons, as well you know, why it’s not a book I’d recommend to you!

    • I’m glad this post introduced you to the series and that you’re interested in reading it. I really hope you can get copies because it will be great if more readers become aware of these books. 🙂

  5. I am very interested in this series after reading this post! I even went to try to find The Winter Prince but sadly I cant find it anywhere 😦 The only one I am able to order is A Coalition of Lions.. I will have to keep trying I guess!:)

    • Sarah, like I mentioned in the post, you could start with A Coalition of Lions if that’s readily available. 🙂 I believe there are several online bookstores that sell used copies of the books.

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