Minalan gave up a promising career as a professional warmage to live the quiet life of a village spellmonger in the remote mountain valley of Boval. It was a peaceful, beautiful little fief, far from the dangerous feudal petty squabbles of the Five Duchies, on the world of Callidore. There were cows. Lots of cows. And cheese.
For six months things went well: He found a quaint little shop, he befriended the local lord, the village folk loved him, he found a sharp young apprentice to help out, and, best yet, he met a comely young widow with the prettiest eyes.
Then one night Minalan is forced to pick up his mageblade again to defend his adopted home from the vanguard of an army of goblins - gurvani, they call themselves - bent on a genocidal crusade against all mankind. And that was the good news. The bad news was that their shamans were armed with more magical power than has been seen since the days of the ancient Imperial Magocracy - and their leader, a mysterious, vengeful force of hate and dark magic, is headed directly to Boval Vale, along with a massive invading army of gurvani. The good people of Boval and their spellmonger have only one choice: to hole up in the over-sized Boval Castle and hope they can endure a siege against hundreds of thousands of goblins.
When the people look to him for hope, Minalan does his best, but the odds are depressing: there are multitudes of goblins, and they want Boval Vale as a staging ground for a vengeful invasion of the whole Five Duchies.
Add to his troubles a jealous rival mage, a motley band of mercenaries, a delusional liege lord who insists victory is at hand despite the hordes at his door, a dour castellan, a moody, pregnant girlfriend and a catty ex-girlfriend who specializes in sex magic - all trapped in a stinking, besieged castle with no hope of rescue, and you'll understand why Minalan is willing to take his chances with the goblins.
All that stands between the gurvani horde and the people of the Five Duchies is one tired, overwhelmed baker's son who wanted nothing more than to be a simple village spellmonger.
©2011 Terry Mancour (P)2017 Podium Publishing
I'm not going to review just this book. The entire series is a work of art. And what surprised me at first is the fact that the first few books are the boring ones yet they contain a lot of action. When the author really gets into the world building (especially Minalan's property, best I can describe without spoilers, is where the story really takes off. ) that makes the long books worth it. Listen to it or dive into to reading them, you can't go wrong. I've read them all up to date and I will still purchase the audio because they are that good.
The book is exceedingly well-written, with the author providing immense amount of detail about characters and history that go beyond what is needed to tell the tale. The narration is excellent.
As a note, I see another commenter gave the narrator low marks because he mispronounced every name and magical term. How, I wonder, does the commenter know how these fictional words are supposed to be pronounced?
If you have read the publisher's summary it might seem, as it did to me, that this is just a mindless fantasy war story. Fortunately, it is not.
The 18+ hours of writing are put to good use in developing good characters as well as world building. The characters have distinct personalities and motivations with a Harry Dresden like main character. That is, he's a smart, decent, and powerful wizard who becomes very sarcastic whenever he's in a jam (which is often).
The action scenes are all very well written and spaced out nicely throughout the book keeping things from getting to dull. In between the action you learn about the characters, the magic system, and that there is more to the story than a simple warmongering horde of goblins.
If you enjoy fantasy this book would be a good edition to your collection.
I really love this book and am awaiting the next book with baited breath. This is the type of series i have been waiting for if this first book is any guide. it has both large scale magic and martial battle and does not fall to the trope of trying to send off the MC with on a mission with limited support unless the there really is no other option.
Love this kind of easy to listen fantasy. I also like that the same characters carry on for many books! So HURRY and put the rest on audible so I can by them.
MORE MORE MORE
How real the realistic the MC is. He isn't a prophesied hero, sent from such and such or birthed by the villain which is incredibly refreshing.
the "spellmonger" of course
Not at first but it actually grew on me. the narration took me a little to get used to, but I honestly came to like John Lee's narration.
"A most promising first novel in the series."
Great characters, goblins, epic warfare, court intrigue & magic sex. Works for me on many levels!
"and excellent new high fantasy"
its not quite brandon sanderson or brent week but it not far off.
that it took a small perspective on a major world event. you see all the cogs of the world moving and the systems that behind the scene only in passing while bring the main character up to play on the next stage/battle in the next book
not a great book to turn into a movie but. it reminds me a little of the battle of helms deep and the siege of gondor in LOTR
audible i know you're quite bad at this at time but please make the rest of the series available for uk purchase as i hate ripping cds.
really good story although lost speed in the middle but hoping next installment won't be too long.
"If only a sixth star was available..."
Good story, well written. John Lee's narration is fantastic. I look forward to the sequel(s).
"Fabulously classical fantasy"
Its John Lee without doubt one of the kings of fantasy narration. I could listen to this man read the phone book.
I’m only a few hours into this book, but already I love it. The author’s writing style is almost autobiographical in nature, which I love, that’s unusual for a fantasy type book. In this style the main character is funny, and you feel a connection to his emotional journey in this book.
I can’t praise this first book enough, and was really pleased to see that it looks like this series will have nine books in it.
I enjoyed this very much, and I am looking forward to listening to the next book.
"Wonderful read, the narrator is good and does the book proud."
Minalin narrates is own life and his conflicts of how he wants his life to play out and how his path vias off to a different direction. One if leadership and challenge. Having to deal with a fudal culture between nobility and peasantry. He sets the sceen for the rise and neccessity of magic. A battle between a dark evil being and thousands of bloodthirsty minions which will be difficult to win if humanany (humans) cannot make alliances to fight the evil which threatens them. First of a series of books and well worth reading or listening hopefully it will not e too long for the next book to be available in audible.
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