The Incorruptibles

  • by John Hornor Jacobs
  • Narrated by Steven Pacey
  • 10 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the contested and unexplored territories at the edge of the Empire, a boat is making its laborious way upstream. Riding along the banks are the mercenaries hired to protect it - from raiders, bandits and, most of all, the stretchers, elf-like natives who kill any intruders into their territory. The mercenaries know this is dangerous, deadly work. But it is what they do.
In the boat the drunk governor of the territories and his sons and daughters make merry. They believe that their status makes them untouchable. They are wrong. And with them is a mysterious, beautiful young woman, who is the key to peace between warring nations and survival for the Empire.
When a callow mercenary saves the life of the Governor on an ill-fated hunting party, the two groups are thrown together. For Fisk and Shoe - two tough, honourable mercenaries surrounded by corruption, who know they can always and only rely on each other - their young companion appears to be playing with fire. The nobles have the power, and crossing them is always risky. And although love is a wonderful thing, sometimes the best decision is to walk away. Because no matter how untouchable or deadly you may be, the stretchers have other plans.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great world, competent prose, messy story

The core concepts of this fantasy western are great, as others have noted. Some of the characters are interesting, too, especially the narrator (though many are flat and hard to keep track of). The writing is competent and effective.

However, the story is structurally all over the place. Many characters are introduced only to be killed, often before we've had a chance to care at all. Many subplots don't relate to much of anything and/or don't resolve by the end of the book. The main plot question itself doesn't resolve in anything like a satisfying way. In that respect, it's more like a literary fiction than a genre fiction--and that's not a compliment, coming from me.

The book also takes hours before the plot actually begins. Up till then, it's just narrative. This thing happens, this next thing happens, then this thing happens, and we're only reading because we're interested in the world and the narrator. Relationships develop and intensify off-camera. Sometimes the narrator imagines what might be happening, which felt uncomfortable to me.

Finally, most of the character arcs either don't resolve at all or end up with the character weaker than they were to begin with. I'm not going to explain because of spoilers, but take my word for it that I was indignant. I felt like exciting concepts had been introduced, made vital to the character, and then simply trashed, both disappointing me and weakening the character.

Personally, I do not recommend this book. However, I know that many readers place higher importance on worldbuilding and prose than the plot and conclusions--in other words, they care more about journey than destination--and those readers would probably find a lot to enjoy here.
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- Melanie

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-14-2014
  • Publisher: Orion Publishing Group