The Sacred Band of Thebes lives on, a world away, in this mythic novel of love in war in ancient times. In 338 BCE, during the Battle of Chaeronea that results in the massacre of the Sacred Band of Thebes, the legendary Tempus and his stepson cavalry rescue 23 pairs of Theban Sacred Banders, paired lovers and friends, to fight on other days. These 46 Thebans, whose bones will never lie in the mass grave that holds their 254 brothers, join with the immortalized Tempus and his Sacred Band of Stepsons, consummate ancient cavalry fighters, to make new lives in a faraway land and fight the battle of their dreams where gods walk the Earth, ghosts take the field, and the angry Fates demand their due.
©2010 Janet Morris and Chris Morris (P)2014 Janet Morris and Chris Morris
The story is exceptional. Its both epic and profoundly intimate at once.
Christopher Morris narrates with ease and a believability that carries you well past what even words can tell. You're there.
Honestly I love the opening scene. There's so many others though. But mostly its the awe that you're left with when men mingle with gods.
First Scene. That moment when history and mythology bleed together. The poetry and melancholy of war. When Tempus the demi-god is brought down low for tampering with the fates of men. What better story is left to come after than redemption. It's the best kind of story.
Left me in awe.
Love the author. Love the story. Love that I now get to listen to it and fall into it a little bit more as well.
When you listen to this book, you’d better hope you aren’t driving, or trying to lull yourself to sleep as so many of us do with audio books. This book will wake you up, and drag you into it, making concentration on anything but the mood and vision it evokes difficult at best.
I like to think that audio books are a great way to experience your favorite books again (for the very first time, as they say). This book, read by Chris Morris, was just that—an all new, immersive experience that brought exciting, frightening life to a book that I loved when I read it the first time. It was the same, excellent book, only different.
I’ve listened to some of my favorite books on audio before – books like Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” series, “The Lord of The Rings,” and several others. But, in each of these, the professional narrators often times seemed canned or forced. The Sacred Band has none of that corporate, sterile feeling that one can get from a professional oration, and you aren't listening to a voice that you may have heard before.
Chris Morris brings the work to life. I know it sounds cliché, but no truer words can be said. He knows the characters, knows the setting better than anyone. And it shows in his creative genius. You will feel the crushing oppressiveness of the setting, the desperation of the Band, the darkness that threatens to consume these deeply flawed characters. You will feel the heroic call, the gut wrenching sacrifice as you lie there in the dark with the Band, draw steel and go to work.
It will all be there, just on the edge of your periphery, as if you watched it unfold outside your castle’s murder holes.
You will get a whole new, deeper take on this book if you listen to this audio version than you did when you read it. You will take away the author’s meaning, the author’s own desires, the author’s deathly intent in everything that happens within the audio pages.
It will be all new for you. All new. All better. I suggest you take a listen. You may just find a new and desperate life for a great book, all filled with darkness and dread.
I'd recommend The Sacred Band to anyone who loves Homeric epics, historical fiction, the ancient word, gritty high fantasy, or sword & sorcery. An ensemble cast from the bestselling Sacred Band of Stepsons series face their greatest trial in this epic novel, which is not for the faint of heart and contains mature themes.
Tempus Thales, the leader of the Stepsons, favorite of the storm god, and Niko, his protege, who is is a lover as much as a fighter, are my two favorite characters. In this band of brothers and lovers, it's hard to pick just one where the women, goddesses and witches are as powerful as the men and sometimes more so.
This is the first audiobook of Christopher Morris' that I have heard, but I love his music.
This is an epic novel, too long to hear in one sitting. Even with the speed set at 1.25 or 1.5, and listening until the wee hours of the morning, this books gives you a long adventure and must joy, riding with Tempus and the Stepsons.
The Sacred Band begins in a fog of war which takes their story back to Sanctuary a decade after they'd left it. If you've read other books in the bestselling Sacred Band series (Beyond Sanctuary, Beyond the Veil, Beyond Wizardwall, etc.) you'll be coming home. If you are new to this series, The Sacred Band is a perfect place to start. Enjoy and, as the Stepsons say, "Life to you and everlasting glory."
This is my favorite. I have already reviewed this classic novel for Black Gate Magazine, Amazon and GoodReads. Chris Morris delivers a well-paced and thoughtful reading that gives one the sense of story, the aura of the novel, and does not leave you wondering or confused. His voice, his delivery are perfectly suited to this complex story, and he captures the voices of each character is fine and dramatic form. Bravo!
Hard to choose among a cast of such strong and memorable characters: Niko for his humanity and tribulations; Randal for his human frailties and abilities; Ischade and most especially, Shamshi, the villain who elicits such pity.
Among many memorable scenes, the one that hit me the hardest is the poignancy and power, the sadness and necessity of the final battle, where the fates of Askelon and Shamshi are revealed.
Yes, but I had to listen to it over a 3-day period, due to my personal schedule.
Now that you've listened to the audiobook, go out and read the novel. Go out and read every Sacred Band novel, listen to every Sacred Band audiobook you can get your hands on. Long life, to you, and everlasting glory!
A powerful, extremely classical bit of literature that is hard to describe, the Sacred Band series is an offshoot of the wonderful Thieves World novels of the 80s and 90s. Following the exploits of the tragic warrior/avatar, Tempus Thales, the story is very Homeric in it's storytelling. I would compare the central character to that of Achilles in the Illiad and his young lover, Niko, is essentially Patroclus from the same tale. The prose is flowery (some may say overwrought), but paints a vivid picture of a time of endless war, where all men have are the brothers beside them.
As for the Audible version, I found it to be a rather long trek, but worthwhile in the end. Some characters tended to blend into others, but the strength of the prose is still enough to recommend the audiobook.
In summation, this is an epic listen that will take several days, probably, to finish. But once you do, you will have shared an adventure for the ages!
Listening to this story I felt invited right into the midst of The Sacred Band. By living next to them, listening to their voices, I was swept into a world where conflicts are strife, but heroism is possible.
Also, the names and nicknames of the heroes started to connect in my mind, even without an official introduction. I loved witnessing the action, watching mortal and immortal beings, whose deeds and reflections carry poetic, symbolic meanings.
For me, the scene of burning stables was horrific, it made me feel intimately close to the fire and to the horses. Described with great love for them is something only these two authors, Janet Morris and Chris Morris, can deliver, being a riders and owners of horses. I listened to the staccato sentences, as if the narrator is were running alongside the desperate men, becoming short of breath himself, losing faith.
When playing the narrator in this book, Christopher Crosby Morris has a pleasantly low, soft voice that is resonant and musical, which I attribute to his experience as a lyricist, musical composer, and singer-songwriter. He is the chief songwriter, singer, and leader of the "Christopher Morris Band" (formed in 1976.) When playing other characters, he changes his pitch and rhythm as appropriate, to give them voice. On the whole, I find it so satisfying to have him bring to life every nuance in this epic project, which is an incredible feat of creative collaboration between him and his wife, Janet Morris. No other narrator would give you such a faithful depiction of the colors of each scene, each sentence.
And, there is another side to him, in addition to his musical talent. Christopher Crosby Morris is a defense policy and strategy analyst , and has co-authored the nonlethal weapons concept (designed to incapacitate personnel or materiel, while minimizing fatalities and permanent injury.) I am convinced that he contributed his expertise to shaping the battle scenes in this mythological world.
I was truly moved during the scene of burning stables: “Horses screaming. Men running. Water in buckets; never enough. Black smoke billowing from the barracks, making men and horses caught and cough and wheeze. Lurid flames; evil, awful light from hell as hungry fire eats up men and horses, hopes and dreams.”
The story itself seems engaging and full of action and interaction that is compelling. I found it difficult to differentiate individual character speech of individuals, which led to confusion as to whether action or introspection was occurring and between what possible characters.
Dry, monotonous, little differentiation of character voices and emotionless descriptions of fantastic events.
Not as it was read.
This seems to be an epic that would be entertaining and engaging but, not as currently read.
Say something about yourself!
I am not familiar with the Sacred Band series. In fact, knowing that there were earlier tales would have saved me a lot of frustration trying to figure out who all the characters were! I presumed it was a stand-alone novel, so I gave it a shot.
I've made better decisions.
I slogged through the first few chapters of a torturously boring narration and gave up. I believe I've seen paint dry faster than the pace Mr. Morris reads at! It was also mono-emotional; the level of intensity given for a battle scene was the same as for sounding out a character's introspective thoughts.
I can't properly rate the overall story and three stars may be a disservice to the authors. Still, it seems an interesting idea. I'll try reading the series rather than listening to it… from the beginning book, of course!
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