Twenty-eight florins a month is a huge price to pay for a man to stand between you and the Wild.
Twenty-eight florins a month is nowhere near enough when a wyvern's jaws snap shut on your helmet in the hot stink of battle, and the beast starts to rip the head from your shoulders. But if standing and fighting is hard, leading a company of men - or worse, a company of mercenaries - against the smart, deadly creatures of the Wild is even harder.
It takes all the advantages of birth, training, and the luck of the devil to do it.
The Red Knight has all three, he has youth on his side, and he's determined to turn a profit. So when he hires his company out to protect an Abbess and her nunnery, it's just another job. The abbey is rich, the nuns are pretty, and the monster preying on them is nothing he can't deal with.
Only it's not just a job. It's going to be a war....
The Red Knight is the first book of The Traitor Son Cycle.
©2013 Miles Cameron (P)2013 Hachette Audio
There are some authors that are a cut above the rest: Joe Abercrombie, Brent Weeks, George RR Martin, Peter Brett, Pat Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, and Mark Lawrence. With these authors, you can be assured that a pre-order commitment won't turn out to be a waste. The Red Knight solidly places Miles Cameron in that "cut above" category.
Loved his performance. The lead character sounded like Sean Bean from the Lord of the Rings.
Here's an unusual surprise...
As anyone following my reviews, you know that on occasion, I'll randomly purchase an audiobook, without much evidence or pretense, other than to "roll the dice," if you will. Sometimes, it's a complete loss - You've seen the reviews, and they're MERCILESS. If it's bad, it WILL get the ax. On occasion, I get a pleasant surprise, worthy of a solid review.
This is one of those pleasant surprises.
Cameron has crafted the first in The Traitor Sons Cycle, that if the rest are as strong as this tremendous beginning, we are all in for a LOT of very good listening down the road.
Okay, let's cover the premise. Think Game of Thrones, add a more courtly and chivalry-driven medieval system similar to England, throw in an abundant, intriguing and complex magic system. Now top this off with INCREDIBLY complex characters and plots, and plots WITHIN plots. Drape a landscape RICH in monsters and creatures, some familiar, some original and new. Finish up with a killer story that builds, which i will NOT give away. It's definitely a great listen, and yes, I'll listen to it again. And maybe again.
Now, I'm fully aware that you may get frustrated with the lack of detail. No complaining. I WILL tell you a few things, however sparse.
First, let's get this out of the way: It's not 100% flawless. It has a VERY few minor inconsistencies, but you'll really have to hunt hard to find them - Nothing at all to negatively affect the audiobook.
On to the reasons to crack open that dusty wallet, and scrape out your Audible credit.
You'll get an extremely engrossing fantasy sandbox upon which Cameron uses to maximum storytelling benefit. He provides an interesting point of view listening aspect for a good number of characters in this work, both good and bad, and I believe this was one of my favorite takes on this audiobook. You'll relate to either side of the fence. And THAT, Audible listener, is what excellent writing is all about: Engaging the reader/listener, especially in regards to both sides of the moralities in the work. And Cameron does the job, at least for me.
Now, the monsters/creatures in this audiobook are exceptionally described and employed. That's all you get from me on this - When you listen, you'll understand. I want to leave a lot of things on the shelf for you to discover.
Finally, the battle scenes are, in a word, awesome. Detailed, with perspectives of both sides during the fighting, detailed, and, well...extremely graphic.
Also, think of a Gardens of the Moon listening experience. You are NOT going to do a casual listen on this one. There are a ton of complex characters and a twisted complex machiavellian plot line. Again, no whining. Only the truly demanding listener need apply.
Enjoy this wonderful and random discovery.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again - I love rolling the dice here at Audible!
Always looking for twists in a story that surprise me!!!!
The author has so many major characters that it takes time to meet, describe and understand who they are. My advice is take the time. The narrator keeps the flow going and there is lots of action to hold your interest. Has the making of an epic series if Book 2 is as action filled and interesting.''
Yes I would since Matthew Wolf is a very good narrator.
I would compare it to Joe Abercrombies books. It is the same gritty fantasy.
I am looking forward to listening to more from Miles Cameron.
On the surface, The Red Knight is an epic fantasy about a troop of mercenaries hired by an abbess to hunt monsters. There are a lot of awesome, huge battles, lots of exciting action, and the best tactical descriptions I've read in fantasy. It's an excellent beginning to a series. Dig a little deeper--not much, honestly--and you find its a retelling of sorts of Arthurian legend. Miles Cameron deserves all the success for this novel.
Some parts of the story are imperfect at best. There are too many point of view shifts... or at least they happen way too quickly. And the world building is strange at times--a version of Catholicism is alive an well in this secondary world. If you can get past these annoyances you'll enjoy what this tale has to offer. It certainly left me wanting more.
If you're an epic fantasy reader you won't want to miss this one. If not, this probably isn't the book to introduce you to the genre. Start with Sanderson.
Cameron's medieval realism is a surprisingly fresh take on fantasy. He combines what might seem trite or cliche concepts of damsels, knights in full armor, chivalry, sirs and m'lords into something brutal, fresh, visceral and all together cool. Cameron's background in medieval combat and living conditions comes through in remarkably vivid and believable combat scenes. There is a lot of it and it is an education. I love the way that he combines a somewhat christian theological background into the fantasy world of demons and monsters. It's very fresh.
I would put this book up with the best of genre. Comparisons to Martin are inevitable and Cameron holds his own. I found his action scenes as gripping as Abercrombe's. His magic system is great too.
The reading by Wolf was excellent. Voicing was clear, unique for each character and fit the subject matter wonderfully.
I found myself slightly sad when it was over and searching the web for a hint as to when the next book will be published. A sure sign of a good series.
Depending on how long it is between this book and its sequel, I may have to read it again. If this were a stand alone novel, though, I probably wouldn't.
I would recommend it to my general fantasy reading friends. This book is above average in terms of quality of prose and story, but it does suffer from repetitive language and the occasional anachronistic phrase, so recommending it to a friend who loves more literary type fantasy is out of the question.
The Red Knight was probably the best performed character in the book. Mr. Wolf is a very good narrator. All his character voices are consistent and appropriate to the character type. I would definitely listen to another book read by him. Yes, sometimes I will pick which book I read by narrator, alone.
I wouldn't say I felt moved at any particular point in the book. This isn't a book for heavy thinking. It does bring up some interesting religious arguments, but its attempts at philosophical discourse are immature, which is perhaps more reflective of the characters in the book, rather than the fault of the author.
While, in a general sense, the prose in this book is above average, the author is in bad need for a good editor. The number of times characters "shrug, shrugged, shrugging" in this book nearly drove me out of my head. There are many things I enjoyed about this book--from strong female characters who aren't simply adjuncts to the men, to the somewhat esoteric approach to magic--and due to those reasons, once the second book in the series comes out, I'll likely read it. I would say, though, that while the approach to female characters in this book is enlightened and well done, this book still, overall, feels like dude lit, which is fine, if that's your cup of tea, just be aware.
Obsessive book hoarder, and intense audible lover.
I did not read the print version, but may feel differently if I had.
The ending was guessable. I could already see the direction the book was heading.
I really like his narration, I feel he does a great job keeping the tonal inflections consistent between characters.
Not necessarily. As it wore on, I did listen in longer intervals, but in one sitting it'd be too much.
It is a fun idea, with good characters. However the characters lack depth and their motives before and after their actions seems a second thought. The world building was not done very well. The different species and the idea of "thorn" is cool, but was not developed. I was left wondering why characters did what they did, and weary of the nonstop battle scenes that didn't allow for much character development.
This book is a mess. Yes, the author can describe in painful detail every piece of armor that a medieval knight would wear. Yes, he can tell you the order these things are placed on the body and how it takes squires to get them on and off. Yes, he can describe weapons down to the length of the butt spike on an axe. Can he tell a story that's interesting and doesn't sound like a ren-faire worker's D&D campaign? No. This book is lazy and it's incredibly insulting to people who want to read quality fantasy.
Things this book is missing:
1) Its own theology/Gods. One of the things that makes a great fantasy novel, should it deign to talk about its theology, is a solid pantheon of gods or at least a religious system. GRRM has it in the Seven, Pat Rothfuss does it with Tehlu and all his angels, but this guy just slaps Jesus on it, mixes in a little allegory for paganism and calls it done. If you want to write about a world grounded in Christianity, then write historical fiction. Have the balls to set your story in medieval Europe and do as much research there as you did on arming coats and hauberks.
2) Original names. The queen's name is Desiderata. Come on. Did you pull that off the inspirational poster hanging in your study? Willful Murder? Come on. Did you realize "Black Dow" was taken? Maybe you could have had a ranger named Smizzt. Every other character sounds like your SCA friends (google the Society for Creative Anachronism) gave you their persona names or their D&D character names.
3) Real Worldbulding. This was the deal breaker for me. There's no real sense of place. Nothing is important, there are no footholds to make me feel like this is a world that's been lived in. This started with having Christianity and the freaking Zodiac mixed in. How hard is it to come up with your own Gods and arcane symbology? It comes off as supremely lazy.
This novel reads like its something REALLY AWESOME your buddy from the comic shop had been working on as his blog. I could see tattered xeroxes of a this passed reverently among fighters at an SCA event as something Sir So-and-So wrote and is getting PUBLISHED, did you hear! Ugh. I'm pissed that I wasted an audible credit. Just gross and lazy.
The book follows a group of characters from the Queen to a slave and tells some of their backstory's as it goes along, while telling the main story of the book. It is well written and I couldn't stop listening to it. I was involved within the first few minutes and stay throughout the book.
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