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Publisher's Summary

Sure, dragonslaying is heroic business. But some poor bastards have to handle the dirty work of cleaning up the god-awful mess the heroes leave behind. Gwill, the grizzled second-in-command of the fabled Iron Line, saw things go a little sideways at the end of their last adventure. After a successful dragonslaying, they, uh, might have forgotten to burn the dragon's body. Now maybe it was her fault and maybe it wasn't, but she's on the hook for it regardless. Now Gwill needs a few warm bodies to take care of it. They don't need to be smart or talented or much of anything, really. All they have to do is burn the body of the dragon and all's well that ends well. This is where the Novices come in....
©2017 David Goldfarb (P)2017 Travis Baldree
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Steve H. Caldwell on 07-21-18

An excellent comedic fantasy with dark elements.

This is one of those titles I had in my Audible account for a while and for whatever reason, had just not gotten to. Well, gladly, as is searched through for something to listen to this week, this caught my eye. I had recently finished another book done by this narrator, and thought the story sounded fun. Six hours later, I can happily and whole heartedly recommend this book.

The famed mercenary company, the Iron Line, is about to retire and disband after many years of top flight adventuring, and they are going out on a lucrative high note, having slain the last dragon in a quest set out by a rural duke. Unfortunately, they missed the fine print in the contract where they were responsible for cleanup and destruction of the dragons body, or no pay, and possible damages if the carcass drew other predators to the area. Needing to get the dragons head back to town, the band finds that they can hire locals to go do the cleanup, and they find a group of 3 new adventurers to accomplish the task. How hard can the cleanup be, if they provide Eelfire oil to destroy it? It turns out, much more complicated than anyone could expect!

It turns out Gwill, the Second in command of the Line, who wields the death dagger Tomb, has been keeping some secrets from her band, like how she came to get the dagger, and who she made the deal with to get it. To pa back for the dagger, she has to ensure to be paid in 24 hours for the dragon kill. Unfortunately, the group they hired to get rid of the body are, ah, clueless. A warrior, bard and priest with one spell, healing, are probably not best suited for the task. In addition, well, it turns out the last dragon was the next to last dragon. The last dragon is this dragon's ancient, super powerful mother, asleep under a mountain these last 300 years, and does she wake up pissed when her baby dies. Pissing off a dragon that can breath both ice and fire is never a good idea. Lets just say that what follows is both a comedy of errors and dragon wreckage on an epic scale, all leading to a climactic battle where the stakes are huge, and not everyone will make it to the other side.

The narration is handled by Travis Baldree. I have been a huge fan of his since I read his work on Charles Grant's horror book, Jackals. He is definitely in my list of top 10 narrators working today. He has an excellent narrative pace, and has an excellent command of accent, pitch and tone to convey the differences in various characters. He never drops into a monotone, and seems to be really interested in the story as he reads it, adding to the quality. Definitely something to check out.

All told, this is definitely a worthy book in a crowded field. Is it perfect? No. The world it takes place in seems a bit underdeveloped, but then again, the characters really didn't go anywhere, so that will probably be rectified in the next book. The characters are fun, and worth reading about. Gwill especially is an interesting character, and her motivations are actually very realistic and thoughtful. All in all, though, I hope more people discover this book, because it would be a shame if more in the series weren't written. Any fans of comedic fantasy should definitely give this one a shot. It's worth the read/listen.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Myztikal on 08-06-17

The Like able Unlikely Heroes

Would you listen to The Novices again? Why?

I've listen to it at least twice - it was so quirky and I thought I missed something from laughing so hard at times, and reminiscing about previous scenes at other times!

What did you like best about this story?

I LOVED how these novices were true novices. They weren't destined to save the world. They didn't come into hidden powers. They didn't emerge as heroics, able bodied or mentally articulate gods by the end of the story. Too many authors fall into the cookie cutter 'average Joe' who turned into an immaculate, handsome, savvy character before the quest ends. These characters are incompetent with a finesse and use little to common sense or logic, wich made them endearing and clearly stamps this book in my fave top 10%

Have you listened to any of Travis Baldree’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I am not familiar with Travis Baldree. But I have added several of the books he has narrated to my Wish List. He did an excellent job with this book and I'm looking forward to him reading to me again!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

This book moved me to laughter many times over. The Novices was a comic relief that liberated the stress of a work day and kept me company as I cleaned the house. I went out and bought speakers to add to my amusement and entertainment!

Any additional comments?

Anyone who wants a fun adventure with deep characters who have dense and simpleton thoughts would enjoy this. Dragons were real dragons. No one is trying to train, ride, or shift into them. The characters don't make the best decisions. Heck, they don't even make good decisions! They fly -or run - by the seat of their pants, without thinking ahead five minutes. Each stay true to character and don't strive to be more. They are who they are - and they're adorable! Think about those sweet kids who you just smile and shake your heads at, because they try to make or do something, but alway come up a deck short ... As a southerner would say, "Bless their hearts!" "I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review."Thank you for allowing me the pleasure!

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3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By C. Rowlands on 08-14-17

A somewhat disjointed start to the series

I found this book a little on the slow side to start with, it spent a bit too much time trying to get us to care about characters that are not the focus of the series going forwards and the story suffered somewhat because of that.

The book picked up quite well and finished strongly once the focus shifted onto the main cast of the series, so that bodes well for subsequent books.

I enjoyed the narration overall, but it could stand to make the main characters more distinctive in subsequent books.

Overall, this was a decent enough listen and finished strongly enough that I would be interested in future releases.

[Note - I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.]

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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