Fed up with his desk duty in the Imperial Arcane Library, book hunter Colin Bliss accepts a private commission to find The Sword's Shadow, a legendary and dangerous witches' grimoire. But to find the book, Colin must travel to the remote Western Isles and solve a centuries' old murder.
Please note: This book contains gay erotic content.
©2012 Josh Lanyon (P)2012 Josh Lanyon
Lanyon's lyrical descriptive writing.
Colin. An appealing mix of stubbornness and youthful hope.
His amazing, distinct vocal characterizations of all the characters in the book.
Yes, when Septimus, who has been assigned to kill Colin even though he loves him, says "I would do anything to save you."
The story is a heady brew of fairies, brownies, witches, humans with magical powers, an ancient monster from the Deep, Celtic legends, and magic spells. Of course, it’s also a suspenseful mystery and a romance. Lanyon places his story in the haunted, wind-swept isles off the northwest coast of Scotland, a location which inspires some of the best, most lyrical descriptive writing he has produced.
The story’s title is a reference to the poem of the same name by Thomas Hardy. Appropriately for the story, the poems last lines are:
“I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.”
When I began this book I was a bit unsure of what I had gotten myself into. I had to listen to the first chapter twice in order to get both a sense of the story as well as a back-story to some of the mystical characters involved. Additionally, the time frame of the story continues to elude me. As a huge fan of Josh Lanyon's, I was a bit surprised at the lack of back-story regarding the mystical...but I digress. With all that, I must admit that I did get into the story and enjoyed it a great deal. Colin's outlook was interesting and the whole thing with Septimus caught me off guard, which is always a good thing. Max Miller did a great job and added differing perspectives to the list of characters within the story. I do recommend, but if you are a bit uneducated to the mystical, you may need to prepare to listen very closely or perhaps twice. Good story...
Very high. The story was a wonderful surprise and the narrator is outstanding. I don't know where they found him, but I do hope that he gets lots more work.
Septimus. You could tell that he had ambiguous feelings for the hero and when the truth was finally revealed, he morphed into a darkly sensual (not just sexual) man that I wish was present in more m/m novels.
The train's journey to Scotland.
Septimus. He was quite mysterious and I would have wanted to unravel him.
Max Miller - Bravo and ENCORE!!!
Highly enjoyable. I really liked the ebook and hearing it read is a real treat. Max Miller's voice is just perfect for the character of Collin and his handling of the Gaelic used throughout the story sounded authentic to this untrained ear.
All of the characters came to life as they do when the writing is excellent as it is here. I find the idea of using a type of psychometry (the ability to "read" the past of an object) to track down the history of a book a fascinating one. There's always a curiosity about where a book has been or who used it last and Collin is one who has the ability to do this. When he's hired to use his skills to hunt down an ancient tome of dangerous spells, Collin takes a vacation from his job in London and heads north to Scotland and straight into danger.
There is a male-male relationship within the pages of this story, but its well written and understated, as Josh Lanyon's skill at giving us the underlying emotions between the pairing (especially during the intimate scenes) is subtle and wonderful to read/hear.
On the whole, well worth the money. And I look forward to hearing another book read by Mr. Miller.
Darkling Thrush is probably in my top 5 if I am ranking by narrators. I have several favorites (Holter Graham, Simon Vance, Barbara Rosenblat), Max Miller has immediatly put himself right up there. Not only can he read, with excellent accent's, but he can sing!! As a whole I would rank it easily within my top ten and I own over 100 audio books.
Hard to find something to compare it to that is an audio book but it has some of the same tone/feel as some of the victorian/steampunk I have read--although in no way is it steampunk. I suppose it caters to my love of traditional British detective novels but with an m/m relationship and lots of magic!
This is the first I've listened to--I will be looking for more.
Yes--but I made myself eek it out.
I have never read anything by Josh Lanyon that I didn't love. If he is able to keep up the quality of narration I will buy all of them in audio too!
It's a very atmospheric (urban) fantasy story, and I love the idea of book perusing, the ability to feel and see into the past of a book and the people who've read it or handled it. It's such a good story!
There are several 'most memorable' moments involving Colin Bliss, Magister Septimus Marx, decisions and revelations.
I love everything about Max Miller's performance! he's such an amazing narrator, with such a good range of voices, he always finds the right cadence for the book, and he makes every character come alive. For this book, i especially liked the voices he had for the "villains", very distinct, triggering an instant reaction towards the character, as i expected/remembered from the book.
There were definitely intense moments - suspenseful, exhilarating, moments when i held my breath, some scary moments and some heart-warming ones. It's a journey, an adventure. I highly recommend it!
The narrator's voice was very pleasant and he impersonated all the characters beautifully. He had a distinct voice for each of them and switched from male to female voices, or American to English to Scottish accents convincingly. You can tell that he probably read and really understood the book before narrating the story.
The subtle strangeness of the characters and the lyrical quality of the vocabulary: "veneficus", "librivinator" "vox pessimires", "Sociestas Magicke", "Faileas a’ Chlaidheimh" etc. I also liked the mystery plot and the British setting. Compared to the rest of the plot, the romance was a bit under-developed, unfortunately.
Colin Bliss. The book is written in his POV and he has an amazing voice. He is self-deprecating and proud at the same time, suitably imperfect (just enough to be interesting and still appear like the good guy). He is funny without trying too hard but he is also a boring nerd. He is lucky and very unlucky at the same time, he is in love and not so in love. He is everything and its contrary. I loved it!
I recommend this book if you are looking for a good fantasy, but not if you are looking for a fully developed and fulfilling romance. If you are looking for THE great gay romance, check the Adrien English Mysteries series by the same author.
I will listen to it again. I enjoyed this story even more then the first time I read it. Max Miller does an amazing job, bringing the characters to life. I suppose I rushed through it when I read it myself. Listening to the story in a slower pace made me savor the language, the setting and the world building in much more detail.There are still a lot of questions unanswered so I'm hoping for a sequel.
Colin Bliss is irresistible as a young, naive but very intelligent book hunter.
I don't know any other performances by Max Miller but I will look out for them. This narration is amazing, Max brings all these different characters to life and he can sing too!
I really really enjoyed this book and wish it were a longer series. It's a nice divergence from the typical murder mystery Lanyon usually writes.
I enjoyed the mystical/fantasy elements to the story as well as the early 20th century feel to the environment. The chemistry between the two leads was really well done and I hope there's more of these two to come at some point.
The narrator took a while for me to get used to and there seemed to be some audio issues where it'll go from whisper quiet to a much louder voice which you can tell is when the narrator stopped/started recording but after all is said and done I really did like his tone and his voices for everyone.
More than any other Lanyon story I find myself REALLY wanting to listen to/read this one again. Which I plan to do soon as I finish the book I'm reading right now.
There are 69 books in my library right now. I can never buy another book. :(
The romance. It felt rushed and weird as hell. I didn't feel like they really had a relationship, and maybe I should have paid closer attention to the blurb because I didn't guess who his love interest was, and when it started I was really surprised and thrown for a loop. I mean, his boyfriend is an asshole for most of the book so I just couldn't see them actually being in love.
Haha, I actually have and his voice cracks me up; I like him but he's definitely not my favorite. I probably will try to avoid buying more audiobooks with him as the narrator. I don't know, I keep changing my mind about whether I actually like his voice or not.
Haha, no. That would be awkward as hell.
I liked the main character, but other than that I found the plot confusing, and the romance awful. I'm not sure if it is because listening rather than reading this book caused me to get really confused about the weird book backstory, but I'm not even really sure what was going on half the time. Probably I won't read it again.
"Excellant Narration and Suspenceful story"
I loved this audiobook. Max Miller was superb as the narator and the story by Josh Lanyon is dark, full of suspence and masterful.
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