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Publisher's Summary

For more than 1600 years, Nick Medea has followed and guarded the Gate that keeps the mortal realm and that of Feirie separate, seeking in vain absolution for the fatal errors he made when he slew the dragon. 

All that while, he has tried and failed to keep the woman he loves from dying over and over. Yet in the 50 years since the night the dragon breathed over the city of Chicago, the Gate has not only remained fixed, but open to the trespasses of the Wyld, the darkest of the Feiriefolk. 

Not only does that mean an evil resurrected from Nick’s own past but also the reincarnation of his lost Cleolinda, a reincarnation destined once more to die. Nick must turn inward to that which he distrusts the most: the dragon...the beast he slew when he was still only Saint George. He must turn to the monster residing in him, now a part of him but ever seeking escape. 

The gang war brewing between Prohibition bootleggers may be the least of his concerns. If Nick cannot prevent an old evil from opening the way between realms, then not only might Chicago face a fate worse than the Great Fire, but so will the rest of the mortal realm.

©2016 Richard A. Knaak (P)2019 David N. Wilson

What listeners say about Black City Saint

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

I think I stepped into the wrong sub-genre for me

3 hours 2 minutes into the book and I have struggled to enjoy it. This overly dramatic story comes with the slightly clipped manner of speaking of the noir detective style. The first person point of view quickly got old with all the noble inner talk of the hero main character. The narrator is perfect for this style. I bought the book based on the writers recommendation in a FB group. So, I have struggled to like this book for 3 hours instead of returning it right away. But, after 3 hours of intense clipped story telling, there's no point continuing, it's hard to keep my mind on the story because I don't care for this type of story. This is not a good fit. I enjoy a bit of witty humor in the stories I read. This story is intelligent, although a bit stereotypical due to the noir style, there are unique and interesting ideas at play, and the intense drama is perfect for people who love noir / thriller stories. But, the unrelenting darkness is depressing. I feel bad that I've listened to 3 hours of good writing that just doesn't appeal to me - so I'm not going to return this book to get my credit back.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Way before Harry Dresden there was St. George

I loved the imagination and thought that went into the Characters and their backgrounds. The story was riveting. The writer did a great job balancing dialogue and action, backstory and present.
The narrator was equal to the task. He was flawless in the delivery and seemed to really know the book. His characters were distinct and recognizable. Congrats to both Author and narrator very well done.

I received this audiobook free at my request for unbiased review. Thanks!!

4 people found this helpful

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Simple, but fun read

I really enjoyed the story and the background. I’m not familiar with any of the mythology involved so it was very interesting to listen to. One of the only things I didn’t like was that Claryce and Nick have a very unnatural relationship. There was no chemistry whatsoever. Nick as a character in general was very difficult to relate to, but I didn’t mind that. I think Knaak did a great job of creating fantastic supporting characters and making the main character less of a focal point (in a good way). I definitely recommend listening to this if you want a simple story that is still filled with decent action. It’s not super complex or anything and doesn’t require a whole lot of thought to listen to, while still being enjoyable

2 people found this helpful

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I absolutely love this modern take on Saint George

I listen to a lot of mythos and legend based books, and I make no apologies for being particular about them. The narrator keeps characters alive and does so beautifully. The author does a fantastic job of giving new life and bringing Saint George, Dragon and company into the modern world!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Al
  • 04-27-20

An intriguing tak on an old legend

I received a free copy of the audiobook from the narrator in exchange for an honest review.
You know the way there are really prolific authors who you’ve always wanted to read, and for whatever reason, you never get around to? Well, I can scratch Richard A Knaak off that list. The ridiculously prolific writer, who has written in (amongst others) the Warcraft and Dragonlance universes, finally got around to trying his hand at urban fantasy. What we have is some very familiar legends intermingled with a very familiar setting. The hero is Nick Medea, a gumshoe in 1920s Chicago. He doesn’t hunt down Maltese Falcons or solve random murders, instead he protects the city from the worst of Feirie (his spelling), who seem to be ramping up their activity. Can Nick figure out what’s going on and save the day, or will dark days come to the Windy City? Here are my thoughts on the book:
The whole idea of Nick Medea is an interesting twist on an old tale. Nick is actually St George — yeah, that St George — and he slew that Dragon. The problem is, that Dragon was actually a guardian, keeping the worst of Feirie from entering into our world. Now Nick has to do the job for him, and he’s possessed by said Dragon, which gives him greater strength and powers. This is most useful, but he also has to battle the Dragon for control, and he is not overly pleased at being slain, or being trapped in his slayer’s body
Nick doesn’t have to battle alone though. His love interest Claryce, who has been with him throughout the years, but is doomed to die in every incarnation. She is unaware of her impending doom, and despite Nick knowing the truth, he still attempts to save her from her fate, sometimes risking everything to try and save her. There’s also Fetch, a shape-shifter and useful ally to have on hand for dealing with the worst Chicago can throw at them
The scenario seems genuine (for someone who didn’t live in 1920s Chicago). We have speakeasies, mob wars, Prohibition and corrupt cops. There’s also nods to baseball and everything else you could imagine for this time-frame. Bear in mind that my knowledge comes from old movies, but the author is a native, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Still, even if he’s completely wrong, once you get caught up in the story line, you won’t care
I like how the melding of old world legends mixes with a more modern setting, but I guess this is how urban fantasy works. If this is the case, then it works here. I’m well familiar with Feirie or the Fey or the Sidh or whatever you like to call them, but I struggle to recall reading of George and the Dragon outside of retellings of the actual legend itself. How Knaak conceived of the Dragon as a guardian of the Underworld, and how he and George/Nick were tied together through time is quite ingenious
Oh yeah, the narrator! How could I forget him? He was terrific, capturing the gumshoe feel well, and echoing the jaded cynicism that apparently came with the job. However, at peak times, he switched over, capturing the stress that Nick would have likely been under in a real setting. His Oirish accents were a bit off though, but accents are tough for the best of narrators.
Verdict
A novel and intriguing urban fantasy, with a great main character.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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St George Revived

A great take on an figure if lore. A little Marlow, a little Dresden and a lot of imagination from author makes Nick.
The narrator did an excellent job. His voice is deep and smooth, bringing the characters to life.
This audio was given to me free and I voluntarily gave this review.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

I loved Joshua Saxon's narration!

The story was OK but what kept me listening was Saxon's wonderful voice. I hope he narrates many more books!

1 person found this helpful

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As always, Richard Knaak does not disappoint!

One part prohibition era detective noir, one part religious mythology, one part gang war action-adventure, and one part unorthodox urban fantasy.

Shaken, not stirred.

And of course, it would not be complete without Knaak's signature style of arranging mysteries and reveals that accelerate as we build toward the climax.

Now, let me talk about the audiobook narrator for a moment.
The majority of Joshua Saxon's work that I've heard has been read predominantly in a British accent, so it was a bit of a surprise to hear this in what is essentially a neutral American accent (or lack thereof).

That said, as always, Saxon's voices are excellently crafted with brilliant accents. His vocal inflections are near perfect, and his tempo changes, while a bit unorthodox, are very effective.

As is my wont, I will largely forego a discussion of the book's plot. There are plenty of other reviews that will go into that.

The first thing to understand is this book is something of an anomaly for me. As a general rule, I'm not fond of first person narratives or urban fantasy.

Now, as anyone who's read the book description should be aware, the main character was once Saint George and the act of killing the Dragon bound the two together.

Being the Dragon-obsessed fantasy nerd that I am, that makes for a combination of characters that I can't help but be fascinated by!

While I did find Nick's internal thoughts (or, more specifically, the type of language in which he thinks them) to be a touch disingenuous (considering his background, I would have expected just a bit more formal speech patterns), he still has an extremely compelling voice and a breadth of experience that makes for an exceptionally intriguing character.

And as one would expect from a Richard Knaak story, every character in the book has a distinct personality with their own quirks and goals, making it very easy to identify with each of them.

Naturally, what you're getting from this story is not your typical urban fantasy. There's no trying to pack it full of literally every supernatural creature imaginable. There are no badass warrior women in leather. There aren't really any flashy spells being cast about willy-nilly. And potentially most of all, there is neither a cocky jackass who's somehow an expert at everything, nor a naive, idiot main character who somehow overcomes the bad guys while trying to learn the most rudimentary magic.

In short, it's different from the typical urban fantasy in all the ways that make me enjoy it and not roll my eyes every two minutes.

There is a ton of really intriguing Christian-mythology-made-real, a brilliantly presented prohibition era Chicago that feels completely real, bootlegger wars and all, and the detective/mystery aspect of the story is as intriguing as any noir detective story.

I normally shy away from stories that involve fae or feirie, as I've come to expect a lot of cliche from them. But here it is presented in a way that I haven't seen before and I can't deny that I really enjoyed that presentation.

This is not a book full of beautiful, tiny, winged fairies, but rather creatures called wyld who reside in a realm (other dimension, from the sound of it) called feirie and almost without exception, they are not nice beings. They are selfish and greedy and ambitious and care little for the destruction of whatever humans might cross their paths. They also come in myriad shapes and sizes, some humanoid and some not. Some attractive and some not.

And somehow Mr Knaak weaves all these disparate elements along with some real history and mythology into a beautifully told tale that I didn't want to stop reading!

And once more in true Richard Knaak fashion, the ending comes together in a brilliant tapestry of Epicness that keeps escalating and improving on itself until you can't imagine what might be coming next.

And when at last you do get to that final, epic conclusion...
Well, I really couldn't have asked for more.

A brilliant story with a brilliant conclusion and I can't wait for the audio production of book two!

I absolutely recommend this book for any fan of urban fantasy who might be tired of the constantly rehashed tropes.

But I also strongly recommend it to readers who don't normally enjoy urban fantasy. This is enough of a departure from the norm to please almost any fantasy reader.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Suzi Baker
  • 02-18-20

Brilliant!

The narration is masterful, storytelling at its best which vividly brought the story and characters to life. I particularly loved the relationship between Nick and his inner companion. I also came to really care about some of the supporting characters, particularly Fetch and Kravayik but also Alejandro Cortez. Less so Claryce but I think that was probably as much to do with how the character was written - despite her obvious skills and strong personality she was more like an object, a pawn.

The story itself was great. I'd strongly recommend this audiobook.

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  • Huma Dragonbane
  • 04-09-20

Awesome tale!

This is a great book, that is very well read.

This is the epic story of Saint George, now going by the name of Nick Medea, as he guards the gate between the mortal world and the fairy realm in prohibition era Chicago. Aided by a small group of allies, some more trustworthy than others, the hero does his best to combat the convoluted machinations of the manipulative fairy elite.

Each of the characters, from the humble Saint to his lady love to the antagonist, are one and all distinctive people, or entities in some cases. Virtues are juxtaposed by flaws creating individuals that feel very real despite this being "urban fantasy".

This is an entertaining story crafted by Knaak, and Saxon’s reading was masterful, a true delight.

Very highly recommended.