Legends aren't born. They're made.
Dug Sealskinner is a down-on-his-luck mercenary traveling south to join up with King Zadar's army. But he keeps rescuing the wrong people.
First Spring, a child he finds scavenging on the battlefield, and then Lowa, one of Zadar's most fearsome warriors, who has vowed revenge on the king for her sister's execution.
Now Dug's on the wrong side of the thousands-strong army he hoped to join - and worse, Zadar has bloodthirsty druid magic on his side. All Dug has is his war hammer, one small child, and one unpredictable, highly-trained warrior with a lust for revenge that might get them all killed....
©2014 Angus Watson (P)2014 Hachette Audio
If you like Joe Ambercrombie style work - great characters, rough and raw, bad language, but always great twists with a very good narrator - you'll like this book. :-)
From the start, the character of Dug grabbed me. Very real feel. Spring, the young girl, reminds me a lot of Arya Stark, only more witty. Sometimes the similes got a little over done, but nevertheless very imaginative. You feel the tension when you're supposed to and laugh when the author wants you to. The main character's back story was woven into the plot bit by bit, keeping you interested in Dug's past without distracting from the main thrust of the plot.
It's gruesome and lots of harsh language and scenes. I grimaced at some of the torture scenes. Not for the young.
The narrator was perfect. Being a yank, I love hearing fantasy in British accents. For a first novel, this was a very good entry. Glad I gave it a chance.
One of the key thing that author describes at the end of the book could have been revealed at the start. It states that Iron age is not well documented, but author has done his best to capture the life style/ technology/ culture as accurately as possible.
Author does discusses the Roman's deployment in Britain, but not much known about the invasion except for Julius diary. This is the time frame author used for this fantasy.
Arch of the story is about a Zadar (a tribal king) who is apparently preparing Britain for upcoming invasion by first trying to unite various tribe by conquering them and as a result putting together a stronger force . Book revolves around three major characters. Low / Doug and Spring. Lowa started as a leader of group of archer working for Zadar. She is a powerful warrior/archer and generally a strong female character in the book. She finds a reason to fled Zadar army first and then tried to extract revenge against him. Doug is a middle age man who has seen fair amount of action and has an appropriate sense of humor to go along with his cynicism and pragmatic thinking. Doug joins Lowa first while running away from Zadar, and then later to extract revenge against Zadar. Spring is around a 10 year old child with remarkable talents. Interaction with characters is heart warming to outright hilarious at times and it made for a great book.
Story is definitely is an adult fantasy, and told from adult perspective. It is an entertaining and some what educational story that it will make reader think about the iron age which is not known. I like the 'inner commentary' from various characters sometimes full of self doubt and very funny. It is very similar to Joe's characters. Supernatural elements are on the fringes ala Joe and GRRM which made for much more interesting book.
At the end, reader will get to think about the iron age and how people lived in that age. Character development is great, and there is great sense of humor as well as very serious plot line. I really look forward to reading the next two books in the series.
Narrator has done a great job, and I would be looking for more books from him.
Likes to listen while doing chores; likes to write reviews while he should be doing chores.
I will be on the lookout for the next in this series. The book is good, but its potential is great. Those that make the Joe Abercrombie association are not far off. Like Abercrombie's, this book is a character-driven novel with abject violence and exploration of the extremes of good and bad in people. The character description is reason enough to read this book. Watson adds spice by toying with a quasi historical fiction of iron age Britain.
Two places where this book is less than excellent are the pacing of the plot and the description of the setting. The plot doesn't really follow a tempo, and really just collapses into a coherent shape at the end. It feels like the author in the last quarter of the book, crumpled up the paper and wound up with an origami crane. Also, Watson really could have gotten more mileage out of his recreation of Iron Age Britain, he could have better imagined what people ate, wore and built. With the holes in the historical record, he could have really taken the science, engineering, home economics and society for a real spin. I feel like he played it too conservative.
I think the reader is dead on for the characters, but he didn't blow my mind which is what I reserve a 5 for. Its a tough bar to clear though. He did a respectable job.
I think there is tons of potential to this series. Worth a credit.
Did you know you can put in a set of Ear-Buds, slap your Hearing Protectors over them, and Mow the lawn, Weed-Eat, etc, without your book being drowned out by engine noise? OR, you can just let the horses in the yard, and THEY'LL mow and weedeat (literally) FOR YOU!
I LOVE 'History' (among many other things), especially this time period in history. When you get into 'real' history deeply enough, you come across A LOT of times where you read an account of something, and think, "WHAT?!?! That's ALL?!?! No No No No! SOMETHING else OBVIOUSLY happened here! How could you spend YEARS getting some place, then doing 'something' huge, then spend YEARS going back home, gathering up a BIGGER army, going BACK again... and then stick a note in your diary that basically says: 'Nothing really happening here, So I just suddenly decided to leave'.(?????)"
I think Mr. Watson's story about one of these times might actually be as good as whatever 'really' happened between the Romans and the Brits. I just know I've spent a LOT of time and money wandering around the MANY sites where the 'Fiume Rubicone' flowed as it changed it's banks and beds over 2000 years... and Caesar's (SPARSE) account of Britain just doesn't feel ANYTHING LIKE the 'Caesar' *I* have come to know... Waton's story about Britain feels more like something Caesar would have written, than what Caesar actually wrote!
Sci-fi/Fantasy geek :)
I now have a new author on my "watch" list. I really enjoyed how this book was written. It reminded me of a cross between Joe Abercrombie and George RR Martin. It started out feeling a bit scattered, but then all those pieces started coming together and it was a joy to behold. A good mix of action, a little romance, adventure, magic, history, and humor.
Sean Barrett is a marvel at narration! I couldn't think of a better voice to be given to these characters and this story. He's credited with well over 100 narrated books on Audible, so he is no doubt narration royalty :)
I bought this book and just sat on it for a few months because even though I was sold on it, I wasn't quite sold on it. I just love pleasant surprises and this was certainly one. I can't wait for the next Angus Watson book!!
I drive a lot for work,and when I drive I listen to audible. Life is good. In my mid-30's now, and I mainly listen to Fantasy books.
Meet Dug. He's me. He's you. He's everone own inner guy. He's how you think about yourself, and how how you think other think about you. He's worse than he hopes and better than he fears. He's smart and wise, yet experience has taught him that maybe not samrt and wise enough.
This book is subtle. Is raw. It's really, really quite good. Not awe inspiring story and character perfection. Dug is not Logan Ninefingers. Dug is Logan's cousin that was smart enough to stay out of the Ambercombie's main storyline. Dug is driven by very real human things. His inner monologue is real. Dug is someone that you have met. He's someone you understand. And his story is excellently told.
Angus Watson, you have set the bar high for yourself. There is room for improvement. But this is a story and a character that is very memorable.
Obsessive book hoarder, and intense audible lover.
Of course, it's a tried and true fantasy novel. Main character fights with inner voice, and tries to come to terms with his awful past while slowly gathering a rag tag set of companions! It's the humor and the way the narrator (who didn't fully suck at fake voices!) kept it intriguing.
Spring. Any scene with her in it. Some of her scenes were a bit unbelievable, but that's why I like fantasy! Plus she kept me smiling.
It wasn't particularly moving, but I felt sadness during the scene with Dug in it. I can't say more because it's a major turning point in the novel where a characters true motivations are revealed!
For a fun, fast paced, and easy fantasy read, try this one. I donly think I'll listen to it again, because even a few weeks out from listening to it I can honestly say that it was fun but not intellectually gripping enough for me to find a new clue that I missed in my original listening to it.
Slow. Great characters and plot, but slow in plot movement and action. I find that many fans of the fantasy genre don't just tolerate this, but embrace it. If you love to lose yourself in a beautifully crafted world with interesting and engaging characters, this is for you. If you want a fast paced exciting story with interesting and engaging characters that keeps you on the edge of your seat, you're in the wrong place. I wont be reading the second book.
All lovers of gritty fantasy, Abercrombie's and Mark Lawrence's novels you are going to enjoy this one. It is a really dirty cruel world presented in this novel but at the same time it's hilarious and fun. Give it a try, it is really worth it.
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