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The War with the Mein: Book One of the Acacia Trilogy | [David Anthony Durham]

The War with the Mein: Book One of the Acacia Trilogy

A deadly assassin sent from a race called the Mein, exiled long ago to an ice-locked stronghold in the frozen north, strikes at Leodan Akaran, ruler of the Known World, while the Mein also unleash surprise attacks across the empire. On his deathbed, Leodan puts into play a plan to allow his children to escape, each to his separate destiny. And so his children begin a quest to avenge their father's death and restore the Acacian empire, this time on the basis of universal freedom.
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Publisher's Summary

Leodan Akaran, ruler of the Known World, has inherited generations of apparent peace and prosperity, won ages ago by his ancestors. A widower of high intelligence, he presides over an empire called Acacia, named after the idyllic island from which he rules. He dotes on his four children and hides from them the dark realities of traffic in drugs and human lives on which their prosperity depends.

Leodan hopes that he might change this, but powerful forces stand in his way. A deadly assassin sent from a race called the Mein, exiled long ago to an ice-locked stronghold in the frozen north, strikes at Leodan in the heart of Acacia while the Mein also unleash surprise attacks across the empire. On his deathbed, Leodan puts into play a plan to allow his children to escape, each to his separate destiny. And so his children begin a quest to avenge their father's death and restore the Acacian empire, this time on the basis of universal freedom.

Acacia is a thrilling work of literary imagination that creates an all-enveloping and mythic world that will carry readers away. It is a timeless tale of heroism and betrayal, of treachery and revenge, of primal wrongs and ultimate redemption. David Durham has reimagined the epic narrative for our time.

©2007 David Anthony Durham; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Enthralling, literate and increasingly suspenseful." (Kirkus)
"Sprawling and vividly imagined....Durham has created a richly detailed alternate reality leavened with a dollop of magic." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (836 )
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3.6 (403 )
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Story
3.8 (395 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Glen Sperry, OK, USA 07-28-07
    Glen Sperry, OK, USA 07-28-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
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    "Thumbs up!"

    This is my first review on Audible. This book demanded it of me.

    It was a pleasure to listen to. The language it used was full bodied, lightly poking at one's vocabulary without being pretentious. The narration was lightly accented, clear and concise with a pleasant timbre and rhythm.

    The story line was well balanced, neither too cotton-candied optimistic nor too cold and dark. The use of magic was just about right. Just enough to be mysterious without being so overused as to seem gimmicky. Character development was first rate. This was a long book and yet it didn't get tiresome.

    I shall impatiently await book 2.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Leesburg, VA, USA 07-24-07
    Chris Leesburg, VA, USA 07-24-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    11
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    4
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    "Much Fun"

    The first place I look for something to listen to is in Audible's fantasy section. The longer the book the better I like it, with one condition. If the words bosom or cleavage appear say, 1000 times or more, tedium sets in. Listening to Acacia I did not hear either of these words. Not once in the 29 hours and 29 seconds required to complete the book. In and of itself, this makes the book worth purchasing but Mr. Durham has taken his listeners far past other authors who's writing I can only judge as sophomoric in comparison.

    At first, I was concerned that the book was going to be difficult to finish. Looking back the reason was simple. It is unlike any of the epic tales I have yet read. It is difficult to articulate how it is different but if I must put it in one word, it is quality. Like most books in the genera I am familiar with, Acacia seems to jump from character to character telling each of their stories. I have always found this frustrating, a bit like having to wait till after the break to see if a contestant is smarter than a fifth grader. Acacia is different. Yes I felt frustrated when a story was suddenly stopped to return to a different character. What I found refreshing was that within no more that three sentences, my frustration disappeared and I was eager to continue listening.

    I must congratulate Mr. Durham. This book is in a league of it's own. Much fun. Should you read this sir, I have one other comment for you. Get back to your computer and continue working on book two. It can not arrive too soon.

    38 of 41 people found this review helpful
  •  
    nancy campione 10-02-08 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    48
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    8
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    "Very enjoyable epic fantasy."

    I really enjoyed this book. A believable world (in which all is not what it seems), well drawn characters (four royal siblings), intricate & intriguing plotlines. And importantly for me, compelling writing with an adult, and not an adolescent audience, in mind.

    I look forward to the next in series. I've recently read some well reviewed, truly lame fantasy; this rises far above much of what's out there.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Pittsburgh, PA, USA 11-24-07
    James Pittsburgh, PA, USA 11-24-07 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    4
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    "Acacia: Book One"

    Starts out slow, but builds to a very unexpected ending.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    WildScreamingBit 08-20-07 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
    ratings
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    143
    5
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    Overall
    "Fantasy Epic at its Best"

    I dare say David Anthony Durham gives George R.R. Martin a run for for his money. Die hard fans of Martin may not believe me, but "Acacia" looks like it may end up a better series of books than Martin's "A Game of Thrones".
    Why? Because Acacia's characters have more depth. The "good guys" have deep flaws and the "bad guys" have motivations that are believable and in some cases, justifiable. Readers can empathize with nearly all the characters.
    The plot takes risks and turns that surprise and delight. Just when I think the story is going to go in one direction, it goes in the other.
    I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy epics. I enjoyed all 29 hours so much that I've set aside an hour each evening to listening to it with my husband, who loves the genre but doesn't have the the time to devote hours during the day to listen to it.
    Spend the credit, spend the time. It's worth it.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Austin, TX, USA 08-06-07
    James Austin, TX, USA 08-06-07 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    88
    ratings
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    471
    21
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    5
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    Overall
    "Good story, but predictable in places"

    I found this book to hold my interest all the way through. The story was interesting and the characters were developed and differentiated enough to keep things moving along. The reader did a great job with voice characterization.

    I found the first person character switch to be only mildly distracting. There was only a small amount of overlap, so it wasn't boring hearing the same thing happen, just from a different perspective. If there were any real flaws, I found the plot to be predictable in places and I wished that more time was spent developing some of the not quite so main characters.

    Anyway, I plan to pick up the next book to see where things go.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    crazybatcow East Coast, Canada 02-20-08
    crazybatcow East Coast, Canada 02-20-08 Member Since 2007

    I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    8
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    "Great (long) listen"

    The story sounds a LOT like Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, or George R. R. Martin's series. So if you liked either of those then you'll like this.

    It's LONG. Very very long, which is a good thing if you like long audiobooks as I do. I listened to all of part one (~7 hours I believe) without fast forwarding at all... by part 2 however, I ended up FF through some of the longwinded descriptions. (But I listened to Jordan's book 10 on audio and FF through parts of it as well.)

    The narrator is pretty good - he tries hard to change voices and, for the most part, you can tell the characters apart from his tone. He mispronounces the odd word but otherwise, he's completely listenable.

    I would buy this audiobook again... so if you like long detailed fantasy (very detailed), you should like this. If you prefer your stories short and to the point... perhaps this isn't the one.

    22 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lore SAN JOSE, CA, United States 10-03-12
    Lore SAN JOSE, CA, United States 10-03-12 Member Since 2008

    Fantasy/Sci-Fi Fan

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Starts a solid but not spectacular fantasy series."

    The Acacia trilogy has everything I would expect in an Epic fantasy series: varied races, multiple kinds of magic, mysterious legends, empires, long time grudges, large scale battles, and plenty of intrigue; however, as I listened to all 3 books I never crossed the line to where I was so engrossed that I just had to know what was going to happen next.

    This is not a tale where it is clearly good vs evil and it is often hard to align with any of the main characters as they all have some pretty obvious character flaws. I never really knew who's side I was on in the war and I never really wanted any of the characters in a position of power to be ultimately successful. I didn't really like any of them, and sadly I didn't really hate any of them either, hence my indifference.

    David Anthony Durham added all the right ingredients to the Acacia trilogy but somehow the meal wasn't as memorable as it should have been. If you are a veteran fantasy reader and find yourself searching for a new series then you can safely spend your time in Acacia and you won't be short changed. If you are new to the fantasy genre then I would suggest that you look elsewhere as there are many better series out there to spend your time listening to.

    Dick Hill does a good job as the narrator as he is pretty consistent in his reading across the 3 books.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John A. M. Darnell Brookfield, MO USA 11-07-07
    John A. M. Darnell Brookfield, MO USA 11-07-07 Member Since 2003

    Pedantic Voracious

    HELPFUL VOTES
    88
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    16
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    2
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    "Worth the listen, but beware..."

    I started listening to Acacia on a long trip. I was first intrigued, then horrified, then disgusted with the plot. I found great merit in the literary quality of the book, but I found no characters that I liked except the children, and even they disappointed after a while. The narrator brings a special quality to the performance that I found charming. I just wish that the story had been more gentle on the listener, because ultimately, that is what my complaint is about; the author was brutal with all characters. No one finishes this story unscathed. In some writers I find that attractive;' I am a great fan of the SONG OF ICE AND FIRE series by George R. R. Martin, and can handle quite well the gritty reality that he produces. But in this world, the literary magic that made me care about Sansa, Arlia, Bran, Rickeon, and John Snow is simply not present. Indeed, there was barely enough to keep me going on to the next part (the book is downloadable in four long parts). In the end I decided that this novel was just barely worth listening to, but do not listen to it if you are depressed, or looking for inspiration. This story will not uplift you, and you will not find it. Finally, though there are four children, two boys and two girls, in the story, just like the Narnia series, I would like to point out that Narnia was written specifically for small children, but if any parent were to read this to his or her eight-year old, I would report him or her to the nearest Child Protection Service. As I have said before, this is not an easy book to read, nor is it kind to its readers, and I suspect that it would produce nightmares in small children. I have not yet decided whether I will listen to the sequels.

    31 of 38 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joan Frazee, MN, USA 09-28-07
    Joan Frazee, MN, USA 09-28-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    5
    1
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    0
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    "Decent story, poor reading"

    I read the reviews on this book, and it sounded like the kind of long ramble I enjoy. It turns out it's not unlike George RR Martin's "Fire and Ice" series. (GRRM however displays more imagination, and his characters are better rounded and more believeable, where Anthony's seem more like cariacatures.) Unfortunately, the Acacia reader punctuates his sentences with so many stops and starts - perhaps in an attempt to make his already-clipped speech clearer? - that I find myself exceedingly annoyed. The reader's idiosyncracies get in the way of the story. I will grit my teeth and get through this volume, but unless the others have another reader, I won't buy another in audio form.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
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