The stolen throne is written by David Gaider and was released in 2009. It is acting as a prequel to the story rich game “Dragon Age: Origins“, in which Gaider is the lead writer. If you have never played the game, i would highly recommend it too, it is one of my favorite games of all time.
The novel opens with the country of Ferelden occupied by the neighbouring Orlesian Empire. Queen Moira, who sought to expel the Orlesians, has been murdered by traitor nobles, but her son Maric has escaped. While attempting to flee the assassins who killed his mother, Maric encounters Loghain, who is part of a band of Fereldan outlaws. Having no real alternatives, Maric joins up with them. However Maric is not able to stay at the outlaw camp long, as an Orlesian army looking for Maric attacks. Yet, Loghain is able to lead Maric to safety by taking him to the Korcari Wilds, a region avoided by most due to its danger. Here they meet the mysterious Witch of the Wilds, who enables them to pass through the Wilds safely. She provides this help on the condition that Maric makes her a promise. The specifics of this promise are unknown. She also tells Maric that a Blight will one day come to Ferelden and gives him a cryptic warning about Loghain: “Keep him close and he will betray you, each time worse than the last”.
After escaping the Wilds, Maric and Loghain are led to the remaining rebel army by Maric’s betrothed, Rowan Guerrin, just in time to defeat an Orlesian army about to attack them using Loghain’s aptitude for strategy. The next few years see Maric, Loghain and Rowan become close friends as they strengthen the rebel army until it is in a position to take Gwaren, a Fereldan town. Katriel, an elf woman who claims to be a messenger, warns them of an impending attack on Gwaren and they are able to repel it. After this, Katriel and Maric begin a relationship. However, Katriel is a spy for Meghren, the Orlesian King of Ferelden. She provides Maric with false information that convinces him to attack the town of West Hill. This attack results in massive loss of life for the rebel army, and Maric, Loghain and Rowan being separated from the remainder of the army.
Regretting her deception and developing real feelings for Maric, Katriel leads Maric, Loghain and Rowan to the Deep Roads, a series of underground tunnels, in order to return to Gwaren. After facing the dangers of the Deep Roads, including giant spiders and darkspawn, and escaping in the company of a dwarven warband, whom Maric convinces to join the rebellion, the group reach the surface. Once they return to Gwaren, they find the remnants of the rebel army and once again secure the town against an Orlesian army sent to wipe out the last remnants of the rebellion. Maric’s miraculous return inspires nationwide revolution by the Fereldan people against Orlesian rule, and Meghren’s heavy-handed efforts to restore order only cause further insurrection and his reluctant allies amongst the Fereldan nobility to side with Maric.
By this time, Loghain and Rowan have formed a romantic bond (in part due to Maric abandoning Rowan for Katriel), but Loghain has also discovered Katriel’s betrayal and reveals it to Maric, omitting that Katriel had reneged on her orders out of love for Maric. After discovering her actions, Maric kills Katriel in blind rage, only to discover later that Katriel had been loyal out of love for him; Loghain wished to impress on Maric the importance of a king doing what has to be done, as opposed to what he wants to do. Following her death, Loghain encourages Rowan to become Maric’s wife and queen, for Maric and Ferelden’s benefit. She agrees (though the relationship between Maric and Loghain becomes much colder as a result of this and Katriel’s death) and with increased momentum and growing outrage at the continuing cruelty of the Orlesians, there is now widespread support for Maric and the rebel cause. Victory is all but assured for the rebels. Maric also exacts justice on the traitor nobles who murdered his mother, luring them to a meeting under the pretense of a truce, then killing them for their crimes, before Loghain and Rowan break the back of Meghren’s armies at the Battle of River Dane, ensuring Meghren’s downfall and the eventual defeat of the occupation.