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Summary

The republic faces annihilation, despite the vigilance of Galharrow's Blackwings. When a raven tattoo rips itself from his arm to deliver a desperate message, Galharrow and a mysterious noblewoman must investigate a long-dead sorcerer's legacy. But there is a conspiracy within the citadel: traitors, flesh eaters and the ghosts of the wastelands seek to destroy them, but if they cannot solve the ancient wizard's paradox, the Deep Kings will walk the earth again, and all will be lost. 

The war with the Eastern Empire ended in stalemate some 80 years ago thanks to Nall's Engine, a wizard-crafted weapon so powerful even the Deep Kings feared it. The strike of the engine created the Misery - a wasteland full of ghosts and corrupted magic that now forms a no-man's-land along the frontier. But when Galharrow investigates a frontier fortress, he discovers complacency bordering on treason: then the walls are stormed, and the engine fails to launch. 

Galharrow escapes only because of the preternatural magical power of the noblewoman he was supposed to be protecting. Together they race to the capital to unmask the traitors and restore the republic's defences. Far across the Misery, a vast army is on the move, as the empire prepares to call the republic's bluff. 

Blackwing is a gritty epic fantasy for fans of Mark Lawrence, Scott Lynch and Daniel Polansky. 

Read by Colin Mace. 

©2017 Ed McDonald (P)2017 Orion Publishing Group

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent grimdark

Mark Lawrence better up his game or this lad will be king of grimdark. Can't wait for more - hope they keep the same narrator too

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

It turns out I like grimdark fantasy after all

I chose this book after an Amazon recommendation, which I don't usually do, but I thought I'd take a punt on a new author.

This book was great! Gripping story, characters that develop more and more as the story goes on - Galharrow, the narrator, unfurls into a really memorable lead character, who you want to spend more time with.

I've previously tried other novels described to be as 'Grimdark' - which seems to mean that the main character is a bit of a nasty git.
I read Paul Hoffman's trilogy, but thought it peaked with Left Hand of God. I enjoyed it though.
I wanted to like Mark Lawrence. The plot kept me turning pages to the end of each book, but I found the lead character two dimensional and tiresome by the end.
This was everything I wanted those books to be! It blew them out of the water.

The premise reminded me of Chronicles of the Black Company, but with more vivid storytelling.

I also really loved that, while there's lots of potential for more books in the series, the narrative of this one finished its ark with the book. I'll be waiting eagerly to read the next one, but it's great not to always need that to finish the story.

The narrator was really good. A very convincing Galharrow who can carry off everyone else's voice too.
I didn't realise Nen was an Aussie though...

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A fantastic romp!

This was a great book, really enjoyed it. It had a bit of an Abercrombie vibe with the miserable main character, kind of reminiscent of the Bloody 9/ Glokta. Some good world building and pacing, I had many an enjoyable walk with my dogs listening to this audio book.

Also I think the narrator, Colin Mace was excellent as ever, his voice is just right for this style of story telling with gritty, earthy tones that suit the characters brilliantly.

I'll be moving onto the sequel in short order.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Good story with excellent narration

This is one of the audio books that you put on sleep but then get annoyed because it cuts off at a good bit. The narrator does an excellent job of characters especially the very tarnished "hero"...

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved it! straight into the next!!

Great characters, evil villains, an alcoholic hero... what more could you want?!
Filled the void I'd had since finishing the Demon Cycle.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great universe, Great writing, Great acting

Overall a spectacularly well put together piece of work. I've just finished my second listen and really allowed myself to sink into it very heavily from the get-go. The second listen through was in fact a lot more rich and I would heavily recommend doing so.

I've recommended this book to a number of people, one of the finest works I've listened to.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

The main character though

The narrator was a nice cast.
I loved the different magic users and shady characters. They are all different and have an occult feeling to them.
But I'm not so fond of the main character. It's tiresome that he is so obsessed with booze in such a boastful manner, and that it is one of his defining character traits to be an alcoholic.
I didn't like that the first half of the book constantly says that something is bad, only to follow up with "this was worse." It sounds lazy and like a desperate cry to say "this setting is so grim and gritty wow look at it", and it's hard to take it seriously.
A lot of the time I felt like the book was trying too hard to be edgy and dark without really getting it right.
The setting was poorly described. I was several chapters inn before I got to know that guns were a thing in this world.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lis
  • Northampton, UK
  • 21-07-18

Slow build fantasy

It took a while to get into the story but once I did it was good. Well paced with interesting characters. I recommend it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great book and excellent narration!

Colin has the perfect voice and reads it beautifully. Brilliant story to match, really enjoyed! Thank you....can't wait to listen to more :-)

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Awesome grim dark fantasy

I really enjoyed the book and narration, overall but the editing at times seemed flawed.