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Publisher's Summary

In just a few short years, Richard K. Morgan has vaulted to the pinnacle of the science fiction world. Now he turns his iconoclastic talents to epic fantasy, crafting a darkly violent, tautly plotted adventure sure to thrill old fans and captivate new readers. A dark lord will rise. Such is the prophecy that dogs the footsteps of Ringil Eskiath - Gil, for short - a washed-up mercenary and onetime war hero whose world-weary cynicism is surpassed only by the quickness of his temper and the speed of his sword. That sword, forged by a vanished eldritch race known as the Kiriath, has brought him unlooked-for notoriety, as has his habit of poking his nose where it doesn't belong.
Gil is estranged from his aristocratic family, but that doesn't stop his mother from enlisting his help in freeing a cousin sold into slavery. Grumbling all the way, Gil sets out to track her down. But it soon becomes apparent that more is at stake than the fate of one luckless young woman. Grim sorceries that have not been seen for centuries are awakening in the land. Some speak in whispers of the return of an all-but-legendary race known as the Aldrain, cruel yet beautiful demons feared even by the Kiriath.
Now Gil and two old comrades are all that stand in the way of a prophecy whose fulfillment will drown an entire world in blood. But with heroes like these, the cure is likely to be worse than the disease.
©2009 Richard K. Morgan (P)2009 Tantor
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Tizroc on 01-23-09

This isn't your father's gay hero!

Richard K. Morgan (The new 'god' of Cyber Punk) jumps the genre to keep himself free from pigeonholes. All Mr. Morgan's books have had extreme feminist leanings and his comics where a feminist steroid of the next generation! This book does not disappoint on those fronts, but if you have issues with Male on Male homosexuality or any homosexuality for that matter than stop now.
Now that everyone with a pre-disposed dislike for a majority of the books interpersonal views has left, Mr. Morgan has written a good, strong book. This is not Cyber Punk, or anything remotely close to the corporate mechanisms of 'Market Forces' of the past. This is a book of swords, horses and wagons, and not in a War Hammer 40,000 version either. The book is well written, as can be expected of any Morgan book, and his character inter-play has lost none of its wit. Strong story, good characters and a lengthy listen. A good book that missed a five star for some over the top gay sexual verbiage that seemed to be there only to antagonize the intolerant and not to strengthen the story.
Even so this is not your average medieval dandy prancing the countryside. He is a strong male character who cleaves Demons, and annoying toadies. The character isn't a perfect specimen of human gayiety to spite the intolerant either. He is flawed, (as with EVERY RKM novel) with horrible family relations, misses what he sees as a simpler time who has been out of favor and action just long enough to not know the right people, who has the power, and seems to be complaining about a small widening of the midsection. Him and his sword still kick some butt. A well rounded book, and many thanks to Mr. Morgan for his hard work. The narrator's voice lends a gruff voice to polish off the strong male character Mr. Morgan has written.

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59 of 69 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Rupert on 04-09-15

Overwrought and unconvincing

Would you be willing to try another book from Richard K. Morgan? Why or why not?

After reading and enjoying no less than 5 other Richard K. Morgan books, I had high hopes for this one, but I'm sad to say that it did nothing for me. Everything just felt a little overwrought. I was excited about the prospect of a gay hero, but found that Ringil's character fit into Morgan's usual mold of hyper-masculine protagonist - only much more so, and to the point of being just being an asshole. With all that his character has been through due to his sexuality, much of his rage is justified, but he's just such an asshole to *everyone* that he's hard to sympathize with. And some of his one liners are just painfully over the top. For example:

""Simple enough," he whispered. "A cheap fuck doesn't need to have a name. But I like to know what to call the men I'm going to kill.""


All the fantasy elements - the hard to pronounce names and places, titles, weapons, mythologies - felt forced. It's possible that listening to it in audiobook form with a less than stellar narrator had something to do with it, but there are plenty of books I've listened to in this format that didn't leave me nearly as weary.

Did Simon Vance do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

I think Simon Vance is great at voicing tough-guy male characters (as he did in Richard K. Morgan's "Thirteen") but when it comes to female characters, they all sound equally wispy and sibilant and ineffectual.

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6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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