There is a secret war growing beneath the streets of London. The immense Sixty-One Nails follows Niall Petersen, from a suspected heart attack on the London Underground, into the hidden world of the Feyre, an uncanny place of legend that lurks just beyond the surface of everyday life. The ancient peoples are at war - but is Niall really the one who can wield the dark magic of the Untainted, and save them all?
Mike Shevdon lives in Bedfordshire, England, with his wife and son, where he pursues the various masteries of weapons, technology, and cookery. His love of fantasy & SF started in the '70s with C. S. Lewis, Robert Heinlein, and Isaac Asimov and continued through Alan Garner, Ursula Le Guin, and Barbara Hambly. More recent influences include Mike Carey, Phil Rickman, Neil Gaiman, and Robert Crais, among many others. He has studied martial arts for many years, mainly aikido and archery. Friends have sometimes remarked that his pastimes always seem to involve something sharp or pointy.
©2012 Mike Shevdon (P)2014 Audible Ltd
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
Sixty-One Nails is a nice introduction to a new series, The Courts of Feyre. This opening book is set primarily in modern-day London with a likable everyman protagonist who suffers through the world's toughest midlife crisis. Sixty-One Nails blends the tropes of urban fantasy with old-school folklore about the Fey and Feyre (how many ways can you spell Fairy - let me count the authors) and mixes in some fascinating English history to create a unique fantasy adventure. The plot is fast paced with a lot of action, but not a lot of violence. The city of London, the surrounding countryside, and the rich English history are all used quite effectively to set the tone and to drive the plot. The writing is strong with a lot of evocative language to build great mental pictures to enhance the story.
Much of this first book is really about Niall Petersen (Rabbit), a middle-aged Joe Blow coming to terms with who he really is and what he will really do with the rest of his longer than expected life wrapped up in a truly engaging plot and the evolution of this central character is interesting and believable within the fantasy context. There is a romantic thread in this first book which does not factor much until the end of the book, but unfortunately, I think it may be a bigger part of the rest of the series. I say unfortunately because I really enjoyed listening to Rabbit's evolving relationship with his mysterious mentor much more than I enjoyed the more trite romantic relationship with the less mysterious and less powerful girlfriend.
Nigel Carrington is very pleasant to listen to and his voice seems to be a good fit for both the style and setting of the book.
With some reservations about the romance introduced at the end of Sixty-One Nails, I intend to continue with this adventure now that Audible has added two more in the series. Most readers of Urban Fantasy will like this new twist to the genre - recommended.
I like scifi and urban fantasy. I don't like romance novels. If you are the same my reviews should help.
This book has a lot in common with the Neverwhere novel from Neil Gaiman. If you liked Neverwhere you will like this novel as well. The world is dark and rich. I am not a fan of books about faeries but in this case the author makes it fun and interesting.
It is a novel that is operating on two levels at once. On one hand you have the protagonist trying to deal with all this life changing supernatural drama while dealing with mundane problems such as a shrill ex-wife and a teenage daughter. This is much the same way the supernatural world works alongside and under the real world of London.
There is also a nice romance that occurs throughout the novel. It is well done and adds to the story rather than taking away from it. The narrarator has a pleasing voice and a decent range, but he over emotes a good bit and thus 3 stars instead of four for the narraration. It really doesn't harm the experience and it is more of a personal pet peve more than anything.
One thing to note is that this is the first of several books in this series. The problem is that currently the number 3 book is due for release in audio format soon but the second novel is nowhere in sight. This is a good series, but if you want to listen to this one rather than read I would wait until the second novel is on audio as the books build on each other and should be read in order.
I’m in the position that I liked this complex book so much I’m not sure how to start my review. It is an urban fantasy that centers around the feyre/fey/faerie. It is constructed for an adult audience and is part of a small portion of urban fantasy that does not fall into being overly focused on romance or young adult themes. I found it through Ben Aaronovitch’s recommends on Goodreads. He is the author of the ‘The Rivers of London’ series if you are unfamiliar with him. Sixty-One Nails is a well crafted novel that I fell in love with. Nigel Carrington narrates a fantastic version. He gives a performance with strong character distinction and use of sarcasm and dark humor that in my opinion is worthy of Shevdon’s work.
Niall Peterson is a successful middle-aged business man who recently went through a difficult divorce. His life is a forcibly changed when he has a heart attack in the London Underground on the way to work. He is saved by a reluctant woman named Blackbird, a distinctly odd name, and she is about to introduce him to his new and distinctly unbelievable life. Niall is part Feyre and part human. He doesn’t believe this and who would? His predicament, however, makes it clear she is not lying. She is his only shot at living through the day if the week. He knows he needs and is dependent on her, and she has very little reason to help him. Niall’s story is about surviving. He has to discard his life, quit his job, cut ties with his ex-wife and daughter immediately, and accept he is part human/part Feyre on the run with a new name – “Rabbit.”
The book explores the structure of the Feyre councils. Blackbird as well as Niall are on the. They are considered “tainted.” Having human DNA is not a positive: to have any form of protection Niall must find a way to be accepted by one of the Feyre courts. The 7th court, or “The Untainted” are a select group of Feyre that believe consorting with humans is something to be cleansed and engaged in rampant war with the other courts. They have been sealed off but are gaining access to the world a foothold at a time.
This is a darker book. Mike Shevdon’s version of the Feyre is not kind or forgiving. It, however, is not overly graphic and doesn’t use excessive profanity. In fact I’m not sure there is any. I would recommend this to older or advanced teenagers and adults that have an interest in a suspense novel that is also well crafted urban fantasy.
"Intriguing and original"
Although there are elements to this story which any fantasy reader will recognise: a secret world of the supernatural living alongside us, a character who is unaware that he is part of this world and who comes to discover his true power and significance thanks to a sometimes reluctant guide, I found this novel to be handled with much originality. I enjoyed the maturity of the characters (a great relief after all the teen-fic and kid-fic we get bombarded with currently) and the detail to the supernatural world and its deft interweaving with our own easily recognisable world. The narration was extremely enjoyable although accents did wander sometimes (quite often they completely walked off, did their own thing and came back a while later well rested occasionally) and I wouldn't hesitate to listen to something else from this narrator, this author or indeed another pairing of the two.
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