top of page

Court of Broken Knives Fantasy Playlist

Novel Playlists from Fantasy Novelists treats each fantasy novel like a feature film and encourages the author to put together their own dream soundtrack. Having conquered all of Europe and now turning her sights upon the US, queen of grimdark Anna Smith Spark

has an overwhelming hatred of cutlery, which she demonstrates with her debut novel The Court of Broken Knives.

It is the richest empire the world has ever known, and it is also doomed. Governed by an imposturous Emperor, decadence has blinded its inhabitants to their vulnerability. The Yellow Empire is on the verge of invasion--and only one man can see it. Haunted by prophetic dreams, Orhan has hired a company of soldiers to cross the desert to reach the capital city. Once they enter the Palace, they have one mission: kill the Emperor, then all those who remain. Only from the ashes can a new empire be built. The company is a group of good, ordinary soldiers, for whom this is a mission like any other. But the strange boy Marith who walks among them is no ordinary soldier. Young, ambitious, and impossibly charming, something dark hides in Marith's past--and in his blood.

Link to the Spotify Playlist.

Laws and Crowns - Sol Invictus. I named the final section of Broken Knives after the album this song is taken from. 'A laurel wreath upon his brow / Bloody garlands for his crown'. Sums up everything grimdark is for me. Power. Desire. Murder. Listen to this and read chapter one of the book.

Wolf-Age, Axe Age - Sol Invictus. A description of Ragnarok set to music. Brother shall kill brother. No mercy given. All shall fall in blood.

Joy - VNV Nation. 'I carry a sword through a battlefield'. I, uh, may have been influenced by the lyics a bit.

Tooth and Claw - Sol Invictus. 'See the dove fall, beneath the eagle's claw / Obeys the one law'. And his voice sings it with such pain. Such bleak certain grief. What's the one true thing in the end? Death

Alea Iacta Est - Libitina. 'Alea iacta est, the die is cast / It seems the times of peace can never last'. The hero's bitter lament. The weariness of war, that we must fight, that the shadow will always come. No one wants war. But somehow war is a constant.

Ship Song - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Love.

Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar) - The Doors. Marith's song.

Anthem - Leonard Cohen. 'There is a crack, in everything / That's how the light gets in.' The ruin of the world. But hope. Always hope. You remember that Sandman comic where the demon plays Morpheus at the transformation game, and says he is the utter dark, all-consuming, all-destroying, and Morpheus looks at him, and smiles, and says 'I am hope'? Yeah. That.

Nocturn - Kate Bush. Light over everything. Washing everything away.

Long Live Death - Sol Invictus. The one true thing, remember? Even in the light. Even with love and hope. The one true thing.

Got your own playlist for your own novel? Then sign up to share it.

Author Image.jpg

MD Presley is a screenwriter, blogger and occasional novelist… which basically means he’s a layabout.  He has written two books on fantasy worldbuilding, and teaches worldbuilding techniques, tricks, and tips at Forging Fantasy Realms once a week on YouTube. 

bottom of page