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Publisher's Summary

As evil ravages the north and the dead walk, all eyes fall to Arn.... The apprentice journeys south, home to the College, unaware of the dark events that transpired in the High Passes after his departure. His leg in ruins, and haunted by watching shadows, the College council in Arn awaits him, but he does not travel south alone. 

Arnulf and his warriors must travel to Arn also, with tidings for the king of the risen dead and the terrible curse which has destroyed all that he knew. Arnulf seeks vengeance upon the College, but must choose wisely if he is to save his son.

Meanwhile in the west, Bjorn and his strange Wildman companion report back to High Lord Archeon at Oldstones with grim news of cannibal Stonemen encroaching from the Barrens, but is embroiled in news of war and invasion as Archeon requests his service once more.

In the capital, sickness awaits them all, as Nym has fled to the city and must now continue her struggle for survival on the plague ridden streets of Arn, keeping all who she cares for safe from the halls of Old Night.  

The many threads of this Saga converge on the city of Arn, but amid plague, invasion and terror, a greater darkness is looming. Dark forces are seeking to unleash evil upon Arnar, honour and renown is all, and sword, axe, and shield is all that stands between the living and the grasping hands of the dead.

©2020 Lee Conley (P)2021 Lee Conley

What listeners say about A Ritual of Flesh

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Don't skip this series!

If you haven't read/listened to A Ritual of Bone, go back and do it now. Then get on to this book immediately. Lee C Conley does an amazing job following up an already excellent first book. Can't wait for the next one, I will most definitely waste no time getting to it, when it comes out!

A zombie outbreak in the Viking Ages. I love the way he mixes various elements in this series, making for an engaging and interesting take on the zombie idea, influenced by various classics. I worry that saying too much would give too much away (especially since this is for book 2 in the series), so best advice is to just fuckin' read these books!

Needless to say, anyone that has listened to a narration from RJ Bayley should already be well aware, that aspect of this book is also top notch! You can't go wrong with this combo.

That ends my sorta rambly review. Get this book (or get the first in the series, then get this book)

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A dark Norse fantasy with fabulous narration!

The audiobook is once again narrated by RJ Bayley who I really enjoyed listening to in the previous book A Ritual of Bone and the same comments I made about its narration stand true for the sequel:

“R.J. Bayley has an excellent, dramatic voice which conveys tension brilliantly. I really appreciated all of the different voices he gave the characters. Truda, Nym and other females were just high pitched and feminine enough to be believable and my favourite was the rich throaty accent given to Bjorn the hunter/tracker. I prefer fantasy narration to be with a British accent – I tend to get more distracted when the narrator has an American accent. So R.J. Bayley was perfect for this.”

The voices of the characters inside the tavern in A Ritual of Flesh were hilarious – particularly Toothless Maud – and the narration leant a definite spooky, eerie feeling to the sequences with the Apprentice and the mysterious hooded figure who whispers eerily in the Apprentice’s head. RJ Bayley is a very talented narrator and voice actor who I will look out for on other audiobooks.

A sample of the audio for A Ritual of Flesh can be found on the Amazon page.

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  • Alan
  • 07-23-21

Fucking Die You Bastards

Where to start, A Ritual of Flesh has everything, from Cannibalism, the blood plague and if things couldn't get any more Grimm for the people of Arnar, the cursed and the dead have risen, Lee Conley takes you on a very dark adventure to the capital of Arnar, the northern characters travel to find hope and answers only to find darkness and death that has succumbed to the north, Lee is ruthless with his characters and the plot is second to none, if you are looking for blood and gore or just fantastic storytelling at its finest, then look no further than the Dead Sagas, R.J Bailey is starting to become one of my favourite narrators, the life he gives to each character in the book with his arrange of voices, Lee Couldn't have picked a better person, the anticipation for waiting on book 3 A Ritual Of Blood and wanting more of this world has me blood lusting for more, book 1 A Ritual of Bone, book 2 A Ritual of Flesh, highly recommend....🧟🖤😁

P.S don't read alone..😱

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  • Scott Kaelen
  • 05-03-21

Even better than the first book

A Ritual of Flesh isn’t just a great second part to Lee Conley’s The Dead Sagas. It’s twice the length of A Ritual of Bone, expands on the intricacy with its wealth of characters and multiple POVs from separate and interlacing plot-lines. It doubles down on the epidemic of the dead, and the two books together ultimately make for an epic Norse-esque fantasy horror which still has more adventure yet to come in future instalments. The characters are well fleshed-out and the world-building is solid, fuelling the reader’s imagination with its joyless landscapes and ancient cities, its societies and cultures, the struggles of the various classes and occupations from street urchin to sovereign, and it’s all intriguingly threaded together into a gloriously gruesome grimoire that makes the already excellent first book feel more like an extended prologue (but that is not at all to diminish from “A ritual Of Bine”, which was exactly what it needed to be to bring us into this unravelling epic).

I listened to both “Bone” and “Flesh” on audiobook, narrated by RJ Bayley. The collaboration between Conley and Bayley is less of a partnership made in Heaven and more of a blood-pact made in a smouldering corner of some infernal tomb. Bayley’s narration and character voices are perfect. This is a narrator who clearly takes pride in his craft and understands what’s needed to bring this sort of story to life (and death).

Look, you get the point, right? Good, then I’ll end my review here so you can go and enjoy the Dead Sagas first two books for yourself.

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  • Fantasy Book Nerd
  • 09-02-21

The Dead Walk!

I have to say that Ritual of Flesh is a more accomplished book than the original. It’s not that I did not like A Ritual of Bone, but from the outset it felt that Lee Conley had found his beat and he is about to produce a 19 minute prog opus that steadily reaches its crescendo.


When I finished the first book, I had questions. Lots of the questions, but the main one revolved around the Apprentice. Who was he? What is he up to? Does he have a plan? What is that Dark force that is hanging around in the background orchestrating events like Palpatine at a political rally?

Well, let me tell you dear reader, these questions get answered. Well, kind of! Look, Lee Conley is an author. He likes to maintain an air of mystery, likes to keep you interested. I mean he needs to get you come back doesn’t he.

Sorry, I went off on a tangent there, didn’t I? Anyway, let’s get back to the point. Yes, Lee Conley does give these answers. However, I am not going to tell you what these answers are. Job done, review over!

No just kidding!

The book starts immediately after the first book. Initially, bringing in the quiets tones, that have a slight twang of ominous tension. In the first instance, Lee Conley expertly weaves a number of different events that are happening in the world of Arnur. Much like the first book, we have a multiple point of view, with the Apprentice making his way to the college in order to report the findings of his master’s experiments. Whilst in another part of the land Bjorn is collecting his bounty and also imparting the findings that he found about the cannibals. Meanwhile Lord Arnulf is making his way to the capital, Arn to warn of the impending doom and also back up these claims by taking his son, Ewolf to show him. You remember the one that got bit and turned into a feral killing machine.

Oh, and then there is Nym’s story, which I found to be one of the most engaging character arcs. It shows her daily struggles that she has to contend with. How she is managing on a daily basis, her attempts to keep her wayward brother in check. However, there is a wider picture at work here, in that it highlights the social decline following the pandemic that has struck the land and how brutal this degradation is.

It is also interesting that he gives Ewolf a part in the story. Not only when he is being transported, but as he turns into one of the feral beats that eat human flesh. He manages to convey a sense of intelligence and purpose in the creatures, rather than mindless killing machines.

Throughout the story, there are lots of events happening. However, never once did I feel lost with the sheer amount of story that Lee Conley crams into this book.

I think the most interesting storyline was the one of the Apprentice. Lee Conley details his change from an unassuming student, whose only aim is to gain his position as master, to the place where he gets to by the end of the book, full of confidence and willing to make his own destiny, whatever the cost.

All the way through the first part of the book there is some pretty nifty ominous foreshadowing of events. You get a palpable feeling that something is going to happen

It is in this first part tha Lee Conley firmly orchestrates all his instruments into play. Each one adding to the texture of the story, whilst showcasing each individual player in their own right.

All of the characters get time to grow and to play their part in the story. And on top of that he also manages to broaden the world that the characters live in. Besides the Apprentice, there is a full cast of characters, and each one is realised and individual. Even down to the most insignificant guard.

However, all this is a power play to get to the events that you know are coming, and when they do come the pounding beat brings in the pulse banging events. Everything increases tenfold when events take off. It’s like he turns the action up to 11 and there is no stopping till the end. It was at this point that my headphones were permanently glued to my ears until I got to the breath taking end, and my goodness what an end it is.

There is tragedy, loss and horror as the wall of undead make their appearance. And a relative tsunami of horror envelops the city of Arn as each of the characters fight for their lives and sanity in the raging torrent of the cursed.

As it reached it's conclusion, I let out a breath that I knew I was holding and relexed. However, I must say…… I still have questions!

At its core, Ritual of Flesh has all the tones of a twisted epic fantasy, with regular tropes being played upon. In some respects, you will find the found family element, particularly when events start to take hold, and each of the individual characters are thrust into finding each other.. You will also recognise the unassuming boy finding his destiny in The Apprentice's story. In addition, there are dark forces at play looking to destroy the equilibrium. However, when you add the icing on the cake of 'The Cursed', it takes it into a whole new level.

Postscript
Now as I told you, I listened to the audiobook of Ritual of Flesh, and I have to say this is one of my favorite audiobooks that I own. RJ Bayley does a fantastic job of bringing the characters to life, giving each one a distinctive voice and character. He magnificently manages to convey the change that the Apprentice undergoes, and he successfully manages to initially show the uncertainty of his character and the weakness that he feels and his transformation by the end of the book

In addition to that, he manages to convey the emotions and nuances of each individual character.

You never get lost in the story and all of the words are audible. I sometimes find that the sound design can get muddled in some audiobooks I have listened to, and on occasion have lost aspects of dialogue. However, with Ritual of Flesh, the production is clear and accessible.

The story is told distinctively in a North of England accent, and I have to say that hats off to RJ Bayley and Lee Conley for the correct pronunciation of water. Now you might question what that means, and I will explain. Normally, water is pronounced with a soft ‘a’, and sounds like ‘warter’. However, in parts of Northern England it is pronounced with a hard ‘a’, like in ‘apple’ and that is how I grew up hearing it pronounced.