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Publisher's Summary

War sweeps the land as the sons and daughters of the late King Marcus battle over who will claim their father’s throne and able-bodied men and women flock to one cause or the other in the hopes of a better tomorrow. At least, most of them. 

If life has taught the jaded sellsword Aaron Envelar anything, it’s that hope is for fools and causes are a sure remedy for breathing. But when his latest job leads him to the corpse of a prince and a conspiracy that threatens to destroy the entire realm, Aaron is forced to choose sides in a war he doesn’t want, between forces he doesn’t understand.

Thrust into a world of mythical assassins, a madman with superhuman strength, and a nagging ball of light with a superiority complex who claims to be the embodiment of compassion, Aaron takes on his hardest job yet - staying alive.

This debut novel from Jacob Peppers is a new entry in the great epic fantasy tradition of Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, and Joe Abercrombie.

©2017 Jacob Peppers (P)2018 Podium Publishing

What listeners say about A Sellsword's Compassion

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

What is up with this trend of incompetent protagonists?

It seems like there is a trend recently for all the protagonists to just “Forest Gump” their way through the story. I loved the movie, but come on. Why does every hero have to bumble his/her way through life while supposedly being the best “put title here” ever. I’m really tired of this theme.

21 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Rushed

This whole story felt hurried along and the reasons for people to do what they do is barely touched upon. None of the relationships, romantic or otherwise, feel believable at all.

6 people found this helpful

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My favorite new author.

I listen to audiobooks every day for at least 4 hours mainly historical fiction and fantasy. My favorite authors are Larry Correia, Bernard Cornwell, Jim Butcher and Vince Flynn and Brad Thor. But I've listened to alot of George Martin, Kel Kade ,Anthony Ryan, Ra Salvatore and many others this author is by far my newest favorite his characters are interesting and the dialogue is great. the story along with a solid performance by steven brand make this well worth listening to. the only down side is there is currently only about 10 hours of stories available . I can't wait for the next listen.

26 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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The review I wish I had read upon release...

— If all you want to know is whether or not to buy this book and why I think you should, please feel free to skip down to the line break below. If you want to know why I titled this review the way I did, please read on...

Ignore the dummies. If you’re not a dummy then you know who I’m talking about... for those who aren’t sure, look at your last ten ratings; if there are more than two 5-star ratings in that list then this review will not be helpful for you. If you were able to make it through the first 3 hours of Dungeon Born without wanting to punch V.A. and D.K. in the face then you also may not find this review helpful. This review is for people who like their books to have at least been edited by the author’s 8th grade niece or a person who has read more than 5 books that don’t have pictures in them. That said, this is also not for people who trash a book just because it’s not a 5 star masterpiece. Nor is this for the people who can give a book a 1-star rating when the prose is tight, the editing flawless, and the narration professional and well recorded. To these people I ask, what happens when you get an audiobook that you don’t like but also is poorly written, unedited and even worse is narrated by Matthew Broadhead?... (I shudder just remembering the experience) How will you differentiate between a book that you just didn’t like all that much and a book that might technically have made you dumber for reading it?

...Sorry for the pre-review rant, but I am once again frustrated that I almost missed out on a good book because you can’t trust the omnipresent, subjective-only comments with 5-star ratings, and you don’t know how much weight to give the ubiquitous and sometimes misleading “meh” reviews.

Keeping all of that in mind...
-—-•-—-•-—-•-—-•-—-•-—-•-—-•-—-•

This is a good book. It’s well written and extremely well narrated. The plot is fast paced and the action zips along at a much faster clip than many of the other books in this genre. Overall, you could say that this is both its strength and a slight weakness. There was room for a little more nuance and depth within the plot, but honestly that’s what would have made an already good story into a great one rather than being a true negative. Honestly, I didn’t even notice it until I sat down to write this review and gave some serious thought as to how I was going to rate this novel.

Upon finishing the book I did feel like the author ended it where he did because it was a convenient stopping point and felt ending-ish, rather than because he had carefully crafted it that way, but again it only kept this book in the “good” category rather than the “buy extra copies to give to your friends” category. Also, I was invested in the characters, and their actions matched their motivations. Without giving any spoilers I can say that one of the character’s transitions was, in retrospect, a little hurried, but again it wasn’t a fatal flaw.

All in all, dropping a credit on this book is a no-brainer for anyone who is a fan of the genre. The negative and luke-warm reviews scared me away from this series for almost a year, and it’s another example of how unhelpful the reviews can be on Audible. I get that there’s going to be a pretty sloppy margin anytime you’re attempting to quantify the quality of something as subjective as a sword and sorcery, fantasy novel, but we should be able to do so much better.

P.S. I feel like Audible should have an additional star category for whether or not the book has been edited and the quality of the prose. It may make me sound like a stuck up, know-it-all, English nerd, but if you think that then, once again, this review probably isn’t for you.

15 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Mostly Staging for the Follow-on Books in Series

The novel contains magic but so far mostly centered on persons who have acquired one of the 7 Virtues spirit-form traits. Our protagonist, Aaron, unwantedly acquired that of Compassion or 'Co' for short. Co instills her compassion trait onto Aaron along with the ability to deaden pain for a short period of time. While Aaron makes good use of the nerve-deadening ability, he is troubled by the compassion trait.

Aaron is a recluse but is not without friends and the ability to acquire new ones and Jacob Peppers provides sufficient backstory for each along the way; likewise for the various antagonists he encounters. All of them are written in such a way to make them interesting.

There are two main plot arcs revolving around Aaron, one, his quest to save a kingdom along with one of its princesses and the other defending himself and Co from a madman driven to kill him and tear Co from him.

The various encounters during his two pursuits are interesting but involved a bit more philosophical navel-gazing dialog than seems necessary. Still, the tale unfolds in an interesting fashion. While there were many encounters, by the end of the book nothing had been fully realized and, essentially, ended with the listener/reader having a clear understanding of who the major characters are and their roles for the follow-on books in the series.

There are a few instances of sexual content but none of it graphic nor hardcore.

Steven Brand's narration is very good and enhances the listening pleasure.

The was a solid book and I look forward to continuing the series.

13 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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meh...

it was an okay book. But I found myself missing big chunks when I walked in another room - and other reasons - and ended up not caring enough to rewind to listen to what I missed.. Steven Brand is one of my favorite narrators, but in this book I felt like he was flat during all argument/conversation/battles etc.. I didn't know really what the mood was from one moment to the next.. idk. not BAD but not good..

7 people found this helpful

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Getting there...

Young author with some previous success in shorter-form sci-fi/fantasy attempts jump to epic format. Having just finished this first installment of The Seven Virtues, I really think he'll make it, so am moving on through trilogy with hope and crossed fingers. Voice actor Steven Brand a joy, as always, and voices entire series - YAY!

3 people found this helpful

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Not enough meat on the bone

It was good but not great. I liked the characters and narration. Needs world-building.

7 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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MC is a veteran merc

who meekly does whatever he is told.... wait what?

yep you heard right, despite not having enough information to satisfy anyone. let alone a veteran mercenary. he just grumbles and obeys

if that is your idea of a good time enjoy.

6 people found this helpful

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I just couldn't get into it.

the whole thing feels like a list of self-righteous statements by the main character while the rest of the characters seem to be think "ohh what a great thing to say" or "yes I am being a scared witless fool I'm so glad this sellsword asshole is here to keep me in line"
I dunno. I think I only heard half of it because I just couldn't get into it.

2 people found this helpful

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  • G. P. Brown
  • 11-05-18

An enjoyable fantasy!

This was a decent fantasy tale that fell just a tiny bit short of being anything special or memorable. The writing, plot, characters, and world were all good but just lacked that special something to make this book able compete with the very best the genre has to offer. It did still prove a worthwhile and enjoyable read and a good start to a new fantasy trilogy!

It is hard to say what sort of fantasy tale we got in this one. It felt a bit like reading a Brandon Sanderson or Michael Sullivan style story mixed with a bit of Abercrombie style "grit". It felt like Jacob Peppers was a fan of both Sanderson and Abercrombie and was inspired to write a story that was a weird love child of both! It leaned slightly more towards Sanderson than Abercrombie which is probably why I ended up enjoying it as much as I did.

I really liked the premise of the story. Aaron Envelar is a jaded sellsword who's latest commission is to rescue a guy from a group of thugs who captured him. The job sounds dangerous but pays well enough for it to be worth the risk. Things go wrong when Aaron arrives to find the thugs towards the end of torturing his target and way more skilled than described by his paymaster! Things get even more complicated when the guy he is meant to save dies right after revealing he is actually a prince of the realm. As if getting caught up in a massive political assassination scheme was not bad enough Aaron also finds himself lumbered with the Prince's annoying magical companion. Co, a floating orb of light who claims to be the embodiment of compassion, is putting a serious crimp in his style with her chronic nagging at him to be a better man!

The world was a decent one as well. The story was set in a kingdom which has been divided for years after King Marcus died with no clear heir. His children have been warring among themselves since and it has made for harsh times for the people.

The story was a fun one. I liked the mix of action and intrigue and we also got a tiny bit of humor and romance thrown into the mix to keep things interesting as well. Another big success was that the characters were a likeable and/or interesting bunch. The story mainly focused on the jaded sellsword Aaron but he was supported by a fun core group of secondary characters and some decent characters outside the core group as well. Aaron could be an ass at times but he was mostly likeable enough and easy to root for as his job gone wrong got him stuck on the right side of the battle lines. He also showed some positive character growth over the story which I always enjoy.

If I was to point at a flaw I'd say both the romance and the humour could have been a little smoother and better. They were still decent enough but I felt like if Peppers had really nailed both of those then this could have been a 5 star read as this story did have most of what I'm looking for in a fantasy tale. He just never quite put it together in a way that worked every single time. Plus I feel like Aaron's relationship with his nagging orb of compassion companion could have been way more fun that it was! It was fun but felt like it could have been even more fun if that makes sense?

Outside of the Orbs and their magic the story was fairly light on magic. What we did learn of the Orbs (there was 7 of them altogether) seemed pretty interesting and hopefully we will learn even more about them and their powers in the sequels.

A big plus for the story was the way Peppers used tiny flashback scenes to flesh out his characters and give us a deeper understanding of them. This worked mostly for Aaron but Co's magic helped us get a tiny glimpse into a few of the other characters minds as well which I liked.

All in all I enjoyed this one. It might not be super original fantasy but it was fun and I'll definitely be reading the sequels.

Audio Note: This was narrated by Steven Brand. I always feel like Brand is a weird narrator to rate as some of what he does is really good but that he has some big drawbacks as well. He has a great voice for general narration and is easy to listen to but does not voice act for the dialogue at all. I feel like that lack of voice acting can hurt a story when there is a focus on humorous dialogue or a lot of female characters as Brand does not act out the scenes or voice the characters!

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Poppey
  • Poppey
  • 06-28-20

Men Die and Gods Laugh

This book, for me, was a slow, slow start and it took to Chapter 15 before I thought this could be a decent listen. It possibly had something to do with the pedestrian narration, or the disillusioned anti-war hero scenario, which is a little worn.

I don't think the world building was great. Aaron, as a mercenary, I have to say, sucks. He's meant to be a professional, yet he seems to spend most of his time on his back. The 7 Virtues seem to be spirits, one of which is inside of Aaron.

I don't think it is a particularly great series (very little magic), so far, but I’m willing to give it another go with Book 2.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Beartown Boy
  • 08-24-21

Don’t start this!

Tightly written, well read, good tale. Don’t start unless you want to be glued to your device for many hours and have enough credits for the whole series. The free one js good, too. Very enjoyable pulp fiction. Now onto book 2 …

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-19-21

Promising failure

Poorly written. Reptative despite being so short. Everything is a cliché or a trope, the protagonist is usesless and stupid with no redeeming qualities. The world building is clumsy as hell, and the world uninspired and lame.

If you're into the whole "jaded fallen from grace assassin with a secret magical friend only he can speak to, and a crush on a princess" genre, you can do a lot better.

Oh and the narrator made me groan out loud within the first minute with his stilted and unvaried way of speaking.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Katalin Bresztyenszky
  • Katalin Bresztyenszky
  • 07-09-20

solid casual listen / read

I found this a solid casual read to accompany mundane tasks. It reminded me a little of the Gentleman Bastards so if you've enjoyed that, you might like this book.
The plot interesting enough but not so complicated that you need a lot of brain power to digest it.
The concepts overall have been done by so many others before that it's hard to find anything originality in them. I was hoping for a refreshing new take on them but unfortunately this book is not it. That said, it is still a solid enjoyable story so if you're looking for something to entertain you while washing the dishes, this is a good choice.
My only real issue with it is that the main female character I find so far very uninteresting and honestly feel like if she was not part of the story that would not change anything so that's a shame.. In fact it would be a little more interesting at least without her.
I am definitely going to listen to the next book in the series and see where it goes.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Ian
  • 07-22-19

Only a short book but it’s fine and no padding

Good story telling, interesting mix of characters and one of my favourite narrators. A very good opening to what could be a great set of books.