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Wraith Lord

Wraith Knight, Book 2
Narrated by: Peter Berkrot
Series: Wraith Knight, Book 2
Length: 10 hrs and 59 mins
4 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Summary

Jacob Riverson has assumed the mantle of the King Below and now rules over all the Shadowkind races. However, his desire to break the cycle of violence between the peoples of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms is doomed. The Nine Heroes will not rest until not just the Dark Lord is slain, but all of his followers.
 

Jacob thus sets out on a daring but foolhardy mission to a great northern city in order to recruit an army of allies. He hopes to break the Nine Heroes' army gathering there before it can be used against him. Unfortunately, that may divide his own forces. The Shadowkind, his wives, and secretive forces beyond his own control want a war every bit as much as Jacob's enemies.
 

What's a Wraith Knight to do?

©2019 Charles Phipps (P)2019 David N. Wilson

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    4 out of 5 stars

A merging of good and evil to show the indifference of power to mankind.

It can be easy to dismiss the series, but it can be thought provoking well beyond any parody. I enjoyed the second half of the first audiobook immeasurably and the narrator takes off from there and tightened his performance.

I believe in several years time people will look back on this book, look at what was going on in the world at that time and see how perfectly the author nailed current events in the manner Pratchett did with Jingo.

A flawed hero/anti-hero... Jacob often comes across as feckless. While it may be surprising he can get out of bed and walk upright the reason why is mentioned in passing. His desire to retain himself subtly permeates the book and allows his wives to do the heavy lifting. Their way.

I enjoyed the story, the end seemed a tad easy, but the convoluted muddying of sides and good and evil makes for an entertaining and twisted premise. Book three can’t come soon enough.

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  • The Bookwyrm Speaks
  • 22-05-19

Fantastic continuation of the series.

I often mention in my reviews the sophomore slump, that tendency of a second book in a series to be a bit of a letdown after an especially good series debut. I can happily say that Wraith Lord suffers no letdown from Wraith Knight, and is equal to or surpasses it in every measure, whether it be worldbuilding, depth of characters or action and pacing.

The story starts five years after the end of Wraith Knight, and Jacob Riversson, former commander of the Shadowguard, former involuntary Wraith Knight and now inheritor of the mantle and power of the god of evil, The King Below, is living in the Shadowlands with his two wives, the warrior Regina ni Whitetremor and the sorceress Serah Brightwaters, as they struggle to unite the shadow races into a unified force. Not the easiest thing since the King Below kept them in line through terror and slavery. That’s not how Jacob intends to rule. Also, he has less power than the King Below, since he split the power three ways with Regina and Serah. While his brides both want to raise up their armies and go invade the Southern Kingdoms and kill the Nine Heroes who usurped the empire, Jacob, while he spent 2 and half centuries as a Wraith Knight (think Ring Wraith), has no real desire to wreak all that death and destruction on the South.

Events start in motion, though, when a figure thought dead re-enters Regina’s life, chased by a figure from Serah’s more dubious past, Fel Hellsword, one of the Nine Heroes, and a powerful Archmage. This new person causes a change in plans, since they now have an idea of where Jassamine, the leader of the Nine, and Saint of the Alessian Empire and The Lawgiver, the god of that empire, is planning to strike next: Kerifas, a city traditionally at the center of territorial disputes. It seems the Imperials are forcing all the non-human’s in the city into ghettos in an attempt to get them to rise up. Since the cities Fir Bolgs (blue skinned nd antlered humanoids) are already living in those ghettos, they aren’t happy having some of their blood enemies such as Jotuns and Boggans forced into their territory. This revelation forces our antiheroes to discover what the Nine’s plan is, and try and stop it before a small scale genocide can be brought to fruition, ending in a climactic battle of bad vs. worse, since no one in this story has clean hands.

One thing I loved about Wraith Knight was the grimdark sense of moral ambivalence, the sense that the “Hero” wasn’t so much an anti-hero, and more an anti-villain, fairly amoral and very much and ends justify the means character. This book increases that trend, as all three of the triumvirate of Dark Gods are morally flexible at best, and power hungry potential despots at worst. Still, in comparison to the truly evil Nine Heroes, they come across pretty well. The worldbuilding is top notch, with The Shadowlands expanded upon, as well as adding Kerifas as a setting, with its huge disparity in rich and poor quarters, and it’s long history as disputed territory. The new and expanded creature types are interesting, and the added characters, especially Ketras, really add to the story. All these characters seem like real people in the worst situation, with their flaws magnified by the stresses placed upon them, and some of them rising above it to do the right thing, whatever that may be. The action scenes are well written, and the final battle scene has so many twists I just didn’t see coming.


The narration is ably handled by the talented Peter Berkrot. He has a real gift for creating unique voices for the various characters, changing, tone, pitch, accent and cadence on the fly, all while keeping a good narrative flow. The narrations never suffers from monotone, or speed changes that don't fit the story. He has a way of inflecting even when doing the narrative parts that set him apart from the average narrator. One of my favorite narrations of the year.

Overall, its more of what made Wraith Knight such a grimdark gem to read, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. any fan of dark, gritty fantasy can find something to love here, while not being overwhelmed with a gloomfest, since there is humor sprinkled throughout.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Brian
  • 15-05-19

Phipps' Best Work Yet

I’ve read quite a few Phipps titles, this being easily more than 10. There are a few running things that I enjoy about them. First, his covers really stand out. It allows you as the reader to know what kind of story you’re in for while also giving you an idea of what the main character(s) will look like. Sometimes (in his Supervillainy Series) it’s a lot of them, while in others like this one – you can see the Jacob. It just allows the reader to focus on the story instead of trying to figure out what someone (or something) looks like. Second, his stories are so (expletive) good. They’re really enjoyable and take me into worlds that I wouldn’t normally expect to enjoy. Third, Phipps loves his anti-heroes. And so do I!

Now, onto the actual review: I need to point out that everything that I liked in Wraith Knight has somehow gotten better in Wraith Lord. Somehow, Phipps took a story, characters, and overall feel and made it even better. He’s done this to me numerous times (and it’s a wonderful sign of a great author). His books just keep getting better and better.

I believe I mentioned in my review of the first book that I don’t normally read this genre but I was blown away with how much I liked it. Part of it is Phipps innate ability to make me laugh even when "excrement" is hitting the fan around the characters. This has been true in every novel of his I’ve read and still holds true in Lord. There were a few times I thought, “wait, has Phipps gone serious?” and then, a few moments later I would think “ahh, there he is!”

Wraith Lord, once again tells the “good vs evil” story, but from a totally different point of view. It’s also a fantasy-typical-trope “long journey to save the land” kind of book – but it’s not. It’s so much more. There was philosophy thrown in for good measure, but not enough to make you roll your eyes. It’s crazy to me how much stuff Phipps can stuff into a novel and still have it be so... darn enjoyable.

Peter Berkrot is a fantastic narrator – especially with a story like this. There were just enough characters that he could show his performance chops while still allowing the story to move forward. Berkrot really got to stretch his vocal cords throughout Wraith Lord.

Overall, this might be Phipps best work yet. And I say that liking some of his other series more than this one. But Lord is just one of those books that will stay with me for some time.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Clay
  • 09-05-19

Pretty decent book.

The only problem with this book is that maybe 1/3 of all sentences are some form of repetitive introspection. I get it, the main character is conflicted on his own morality, but his navel gazing has just barely passed the line between thoughtful and pathetic. Barely. Otherwise, there is some good character development. There is about the average amount of sex and bad language for the protagonist as pretty much every other human in history. It’s just a fact of life. It was neither avoided, nor emphasized. World building is excellent and nobody came off as a caricature.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Deedra
  • 21-08-19

Wraith Lord

I enjoyed this follow up to Wraith Knight.Now the 'King Below' Jacob can hardly recognise himself anymore.With his wives by his side he ventures to clear the land of the Dark Lord and his followers. Peter Berkrot was a fine narrator. I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Backlash
  • 09-07-19

Judging books by their covers

Another great book in the series that really makes you question why some of the villains in other narratives do what they do. IF you haven't picked up the first book in the series you really should.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 07-07-19

Great Grim Fantasy!

Wraith Lord
Wraith Knight, Book 2
By: C. T. Phipps
Narrated by: Peter Berkrot
This is an audible book I requested and the review is voluntary. I have read the ebook version but wanted to hear the audible version since I love these books! Berkeley voice is perfect for this book! Wow! I can't imagine anyone else performing it! Just perfect!
This book continues book one by a few years. Jacob has his two wives, a mage and a warrior. He has to use magic to have a body otherwise he is mist. Jacob is battling to stay Jacob and not give in to be the Trickster. There so many twist and turns in this book! If you are looking for a hero you are not going to find one here! It is a matter of who is the least villainous. His wives sure are not! Lol! It is exciting and totally unpredictable, on the darker side of the fantasy scope but it is also has plenty of humor sprinkled throughout the story to lighten the load! Phipps knows balance!
There are deep battles plans, intrigue, the battle of self, but no real heroism. Very intense at times but I loved it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mary Karowski
  • 25-06-19

Sometimes the villains are the good guys

Dark fantasy is great stuff. If you like the glen cook black company series then the Wraith Knight series will be up your alley. Same for fans of eve forwards villains by necessity. Sometimes the villains are the good guys and the good guys are actually pretty bad. This is the case in the wraith knight series. It runs from the gods on down....well maybe the gods are all kind of bad. The darkness of the nine will be revealed, secret societies exposed and betrayals abound. A prophecy will come to light that can change everything. Do you root for the villains? This ones for us. I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Luke
  • 15-06-19

A winding road through forest dark

I was given this.book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Half a decade after the events of book one, our trio of not quite heroes return to battle it out against the nine usurpers. With lots of interesting characters, magical items, landscapes, countries, and cities, this book takes you on a winding journey through the darkness of humanity left to its own devices. My problems with this book are much the same as the first. And it’s more of a preference thing. I tend not to like darker books and darker stories, and the series is definitely dark. It doesn’t shy away from the horrors of war and depravity. Still, the heroes seem to have just as much trouble facing the darkness of this world as I, the reader, do. Even though they’re supposed to be the bad guys, and they often justify their actions in the name of the greater good, their inner struggle is relatable. I have to admit I expected all three of them to write off into the sunset together, which left me surprised at how the book ended. I guess we’ll have to see what happens in book 3.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Aurora McMillian
  • 05-06-19

An unexpected perspective!

So I was given these books free in exchange for my unbiased review and Im happy to do so, Since I read both book 1 and book 2 back to back, I felt I should bring them together in the review as well. The story continues nicely from 1 into 2. At first I was confused, not so much with Jacob waking to find himself a wraith, but it took a bit to realize many of the names being tossed about were the names of weapons, swords, staves and the like. The fact that all of them seemed to be named was sort of distracting but I pushed onward and was happy I did. I also wondered at first if this was going to be another story of bad guys not knowing they are bad guys, but nope, turned out that was not the case either, this is a place that our own minds have created to keep us entertained because we have become bored. The minds of humans. That made the naming of all the weapons make since, Looking forward to reading the 3.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael P.
  • 04-06-19

Compelling and Darker Installment

This second book is another solid read. C.T. Phipps keeps our ... ummm ... antihero? ... likeable. He's full of self doubt, as anyone who claims the throne of the King Below and doesn't wish to lose himself to it should be. This story gets a bit darker than the first, challenging the major characters and readers to reevaluate the meaning of good and evil. There's a good amount of conflict to keep things as well.

Peter Berkrot dose a fine job narrating this as well, keeping enough changes to make following who is speaking easy. I will say I found the narration pace just a little slower than my preference, so I sped up playback slightly to achieve a nice fit.

I received this audiobook for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful