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Gates of Stone

A Lord of the Islands Novel, Book 1
Narrated by: Mandy Williams
Length: 21 hrs and 10 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Summary

An emperor's daughter who refuses to be sidelined. A reluctant prince forced to take a stand. In a world of blood and magic, a powerful epic fantasy begins....

Just before her 16th birthday, Princess Katerina is informed she will not be inheriting the throne of the Empire of the Ice-Bear - merely because of her sex. Married off to a foreign lord and exiled to a provincial backwater, she is having none of it - and murders her husband on their wedding night. Determined to have her revenge and regain the throne, she will destroy anyone who stands in her way. Katerina embarks on a perilous voyage in search of the wealth and power she needs to achieve her ambitious goals.

And in the Laut Besar, a region of thousands of islands, a pampered prince sets off on a mad quest of his own - to recover the ancient sword of his royal father. Prince Jun, aided only by his decrepit servant and a young fisher girl, tracks the sword and the sorcerer who has stolen it and fled far across the islands. But Jun's fate is drawing him toward the fabulously wealthy city of Singarasam, toward Katerina and a shattering conflict that will change the course of the whole world.

©2019 Angus Macallan (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"With tense political drama and rip-roaring action in a fresh and believable Asian-inspired setting, Gates of Stone reads like a collaboration between Joe Abercrombie and James Clavell. Add ancient feuding sorcerers and a queen who would eat Cersei Lannister for breakfast, and you have the makings of an excellent fantasy debut. Angus Macallan is a compelling new voice in epic fantasy." (Peter McLean, author of Priest of Bones)

"I meant to give Gates of Stone a quick look before I started reading it - and couldn't put it down. Angus Macallan is a brilliant storyteller!" (Taylor Anderson, New York Times best-selling author of the Destroyermen series) 

"Macallan...has created a solid fantasy debut with a strong yet brutal princess who recalls George R. R. Martin's Cersei Lannister. Epic worldbuilding with extensive Asian influences, especially Indonesian, meets bold characters and detailed battles across land and sea." (Library Journal

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  • w7
  • 19-06-19

passable story, boring reader

The story is passable but nowhere near the much quoted references such as the Songs of Ice and Fire. It's too flat, too predictable, too unimaginative. The narration is lacking intonation and drama. Boring. Will not finish.

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  • Nick
  • Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
  • 11-04-19

Superb. On so many levels.

As an avid Audible listener, particularly in the realms of Historical fiction and fantasy, I’ve often wondered why some of our best authors of the former aforementioned genre don’t turn their talents towards the latter.

I’ve now discovered two who have had the forethought to meld. I loved Conn Iggulden’s two (so far) Empire of Salt novels and now Angus MacAllan (really Angus Donald) has followed suit.

I adored Angus’s ‘Robin’ series. I enjoyed his ‘Blood’ book, although not as much as the ‘Outlaw’ series. However, ‘Gates of Stone’ grabbed me from the first paragraph.

It’s superb. Amazing world creation, excellent characters and a plot line which kept me hooked til the end.

If you’re into this type of thing, give it a go. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

A final word for the narrator. At first, I wasn’t sure but she won me over and did a superb job.

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Cracking Fantasy With a Touch of Eastern Spice...

I've read all of Angus Macallan's books under his name Angus Donald. His Outlaw Chronicles were a great update of the Robin Hood myth and I'm also enjoying his Holcroft Blood books.You know what you're going to get with his books, a fast paced story, with exciting action scenes, great characters and strong female characters in a well researched historical setting. Gates of Stone is no exception...

This is his first foray into fantasy. In a brave decision he hasn't set the Gates of Stone in the usual Tolkeinesque, European, Middle Ages setting of castles, Celts, and armour but in what I would guess as an 18th Century Indonesia of islands, drugs, cartels and muskets. The world building is excellent, you can feel the sweat dripping from the heroes in some scenes. He paints a picture of a sultry land where there is rigid caste structure, where most people know their place, of pirates and navies warring in an azure sea, of politics and magic and of quests and revenge.

The book follows the story of Princess Katerina who has lost her right to the throne because she is a woman,she's headstrong, brave and more than a little callous in her pursuit of power and eventually I presume, her inheritance. Prince Arjun is the romantic dreamer who is forced to fight against an evil mage to revenge the death of his father with the help of a servant with a secret. All the great elements of decent fantasy fiction plus a great selection of well rounded supporting characters.

The shadow of GRR Martin and Joe Abercrombie cast a large shadow over modern fantasy, but these books remind me more of Brian McClellan's Powder Mage series in that some of the characters are likeable and have honour, Abercrombie's books wore me down a little with the fact I couldn't root for anyone, also Angus writes at a steady clip (a book a year) so no half decade wait between instalments like GRR Martin! Plus there is something seriously cool about a musket as a weapon.

One of the downsides is that Audible don't provide a PDF map to download, as the book is set on a series of islands, it would be a good idea to go to the authors website and familiarise yourself with the layout.

A good narration from Mandy Williams. I'll look forward to the next in the series.