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  • The Coward

  • Quest for Heroes, Book 1
  • By: Stephen Aryan
  • Narrated by: Matt Wycliffe
  • Length: 14 hrs and 50 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (52 ratings)

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The Coward cover art

The Coward

By: Stephen Aryan
Narrated by: Matt Wycliffe
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Summary

Kell Kressia is a legend, a celebrity, a hero. Aged just 17, he set out on an epic quest with a band of wizened fighters to slay the Ice Lich and save the world, but only he returned victorious. The Lich was dead, the ice receded, and the Five Kingdoms were safe.

Ten years have passed; Kell lives a quiet farmer's life, while stories about his heroism are told in every tavern across the length and breadth of the land. But now a new terror has arisen in the north. Beyond the frozen circle, north of the Frostrunner clans, something has taken up residence in the Lich's abandoned castle. And the ice is beginning to creep south once more.

For the second time, Kell is called upon to take up his famous sword, Slayer, and battle the forces of darkness. But he has a terrible secret that nobody knows. He s not a hero - he was just lucky. Everyone puts their faith in Kell the Legend, but he's a coward who has no intention of risking his life for anyone....

©2021 Stephen Aryan (P)2021 Angry Robot

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What listeners say about The Coward

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A quintessential quest story

A reluctant hero, a dough eyed shitling of a youth, a campy yet mysterious bard, a shorter and less bulky Marvel Hercules (he's got a scimitar so it's still cool!), A brawny bear of a woman that can prolly suplex boulders and a off-putting yet reliable humanoid with a cool ass mace-axe. This colorful cast goes on a quest! And in this story, the author Stephen Aryan and narrator Matt Wycliffe give a clear picture of the places, it's inns, taverns, food, people, cultures and etc. All done to fine detail, there is the topics of faith, politics and legends done as a secondary piece that add to the story's already smooth world building and narrative, adding character and fleshing out a much grander intrigue that may culminate to something spectacular.

An adventure was felt and achieved in The Coward, can't wait for its sequel!!

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1 person found this helpful

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

Different

Wow!! Listening to this book was a pleasant surprise.

Yes, it certainly takes a different approach to the role of a hero, however listening to this book is not a gamble, it is a must.

Assuming you like the genre of fantasy...


... I have listened to a few of Stephen Aryan books, I found this author because I really like the narrator Matt Addis, when I saw this book had a different narrator, Matt Wycliffe, I nearly chose not to listen to it.

I am disappointed thst Matt Wycliffe has only narrated this one book available on Audible. I would be stunned if we do not hear more from Matt Wycliffe. His delivery of this book was excellent. In hindsight I am glad, as he gave this book its own unique feel.

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1 person found this helpful

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

good story, bad production

I enjoyed this tale, but the production let it down. narrator repeats himself and it hasn't been edited out

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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

Outstanding book

The title is misleading but in a good way, there are layers upon layers in this book revealing the strengths and weaknesses of its characters, even the antagonists in this book are neither truly good or bad, the narrator took some getting used to but he settled in well and did an outstanding job, I can’t wait for the second part of this series

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Mediocre and shallow

A mediocre fantasy adventure, shallow characters and an uninteresting plot. The language lacks variety and the metaphors, where used, are straightforward and uncomplicated.

The narrator does a reasonable enough job, but editing is poor as I count at least 5 instances where a phrase is repeated and not cut; they couldn't even be bothered to listen back to it.

Still, I finished it, so it can't be that terrible...If you're a fan of deeper, grim fantasy by the likes of Erikson, Abercrombie etc steer clear.

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

My Review

just finished the book.
the narraters performance is mind blowing T-T
the more you read the better it gets
I have to say the writer is good at creating many interesting characters and the general story feels like going through an RPG game especially the fight scenes!!!

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

Could go either way

I enjoyed this fairly well told version of the old trope of rag-tag group achieving feats of bravery against a backdrop of religious hypocrisy but the dedication to members of the military at the start had me worried it would trot into Christo-fascism! Maybe that’ll be book 2.

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

Great story, plenty of character, nice narrating

I enjoyed this plot with everything pieced together beautifully at the end and lots of trials and tribulations for the lead character. Though personally I felt there was one hurdle too many thrown in the journey and I just wanted to know how they got to the end as it was clear the hero would make it, they were all neatly described and had enough happening to keep me reading on.

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

Thoroughly enjoyed! Binge listened

Can't wait for the next one now.
One little issue is that there are a few editing mistakes where some bits are repeated.

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

An engaging Quest story with depth

Stephen Aryan manages to deliver a fantastic story here. The well-used trope of the hero's quest is done well and there are plenty of little aspects that add more depth, which I fully expected given the quality of his previous novels. The characters were great, with Kell an intriguing protagonist with a past I wanted to find out more about - it kept me listening and pushed me to find extra time to spend with him and the crew. The ending was nice and leads very well into a sequel that promises to be a different kind of story, and one I'm looking forward to. Narratyion was also excellent, bringing the world and characters to life - very enjoyable.

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