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Publisher's Summary

Set on a post-apocalyptic frontier, Blackwing is a gritty fantasy debut about a man's desperate battle to survive his own dark destiny....

Hope, reason, humanity: the Misery breaks them all.

Under its cracked and wailing sky, the Misery is a vast and blighted expanse, the arcane remnant of a devastating war with the immortals known as the Deep Kings. The war ended nearly a century ago, and the enemy is kept at bay only by the existence of the Engine, a terrible weapon that protects the Misery's border. Across the corrupted no-man's-land teeming with twisted magic and malevolent wraiths, the Deep Kings and their armies bide their time. Watching. Waiting.

Bounty hunter Ryhalt Galharrow has breathed Misery dust for 20 bitter years. When he's ordered to locate a masked noblewoman at a frontier outpost, he finds himself caught in the middle of an attack by the Deep Kings, one that signifies they may no longer fear the Engine. Only a formidable show of power from the very woman he is seeking, Lady Ezabeth Tanza, repels the assault.

Ezabeth is a shadow from Galharrow's grim past, and together they stumble onto a web of conspiracy that threatens to end the fragile peace the Engine has provided. Galharrow is not ready for the truth about the blood he's spilled or the gods he's supposed to serve....

©2017 Ed McDonald (P)2017 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“Blackwing quickly gained the rare distinction of being one of those books that felt as if it had been written especially for me...Ed McDonald handles the action with a deft hand and has created a compelling central character who remains likeable despite a lengthy list of flaws.”(Anthony Ryan, New York Times best-selling author of The Legion of Flame)

“Original world-building and unforgettable characters make Blackwing a dark, powerful debut.” (Brian Staveley, author of Skullsworn)

“Blackwing is a bloody, gritty fantasy novel that manages not to sacrifice its heart. I love the world, which feel strange and lived-in, and the strength of the voice is fantastic. Fans of Glen Cook’s The Black Company or Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law series will be very happy with this one.” (Django Wexler, author of The Guns of Empire)

What listeners say about Blackwing

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

A very strong start to a promising series

If you like dark fantasy that caters to Adults featuring likeable anti-heroes (think Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence, Martin etc..) you'll probably like this. The world building is decent, character development is good enough (a little thin on supporting characters), narration is very good, and the writing is gritty. Its a bleak world starring flawed characters and the writing makes no apologies for it. There is a magic system but its minimalistic in impact which I prefer (no Harry Potters in here). This is definitely a strong start from an unknown author.

My two critiques would be to enhance the characters a bit in the future and spend just a bit more time world building. I like whats being created but feel its a bit shallow like I missed an important prologue. Point of fact this book can easily do with a prequel to better describe how the world came to its current state and better expand on whats driving the supposed "enemy". On the up side instead of frustrating me I'm left desiring to know more. This is definitely worth a credit and deserves much greater popularity and I'm sure I wont be alone in hoping to see a book 2 sooner rather than later.

14 people found this helpful

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Loved the ending!

The ending reminded me of Brandon Sanderson style and i loved it. Took me a little while to get into and pick up all the threads of the story. The world building is fantastic and the characters and their complex relationships with each other make this book stand out. I just love it when seemingly disjointed plot points and characters come together in the end and make you rethink the entire book. I will have to Listen a second time for sure. I really loved the first person perspective and the inner monologue of the main character.

Narrator does a great job overall but might've changed inflection a little more when acting out the female characters as sometimes I had trouble telling male from female voices.

3 people found this helpful

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8/10*

What an excellent book! Lots of action, magic and some mystery/surprises.

I didn't like the reader, but the strength of the story covered for what the reader lacked

2 people found this helpful

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Galharrow, a memorable character

Ryhalt Galharrow, Captain of the Blackwing, servant of the Nameless, Crowfoot, and bounty hunter tells the tale of his involvement in the never ending war between the Nameless and the Deep Kings. Right now, the Nameless have the Deep Kings at bay, after creating a super Engine that stopped the last battle by creating the Misery. The Misery is an expanse of destroyed land inhabited by nasty creatures. The Engine is the one thing the Deep Kings fear, but now they suspect the engine might not even be working. Thus, the spies and political maneuverings all topped off with magic workings in a post-apocalyptic world make for an engrossing story. Galharrow throws bits and pieces of backstory in the mess, creating quite a puzzle at times, but amazingly all seems to meld in to a masterpiece of intrigue at the end.
My favorite aspect of the book was Galharrow himself, with the gritty dialogue so candidly used, I could have endlessly copied quotes for later retrospection.
Colin Mace was the perfect voice of Galharrow, making the story even more enjoyable for the audio listener.

2 people found this helpful

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  • CC
  • 01-07-20

Great steampunk fantasy!

If you like first person reads... and steampunk fantasy, then this is a great one!!

2 people found this helpful

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  • GF
  • 04-22-20

Dark and excellent.

Raw, gritty, great characters, good story. Not formulaic and sticks as much realism as it can.

1 person found this helpful

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Anti Hero/steam punk story

I feel like our Anti-Hero main character is Jayne from Serenity. All Tough as nails, drinks his Brandy with Lava, and eats Ghost Peppers when he needs a breath mint.

Great story, with all the lore spread throughout the story vs front loading where it interferes with bonding with the characters.

3 people found this helpful

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Superb dark fantasy

Very entertaining and well-written, with zingy dialogue and strong scenes. Main character is tough, gritty, and rootable, without being a nice guy. Masculine POV while elevating the female characters beyond the usual trope types. Convincing military emphasis plus intriguing magic elements. Structure maintains tension throughout. Perfect Audible narrator. Looking forward to listening to the next two books in the series.

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excellent eldritch horror as action

it's hard to find good eldritch horror novels. most go for the creepy vibe, but eldritch gods have always been more terrifying wiping out whole countryside than hiding under mountains. this book delivers very well on that promise. also seems to set up some interesting wizardly battles for later. I'll probably try the rest of the series.

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4.5 overall really.

The only reason book one is not a five is because it takes half the book to get things really moving. That would ordinarily not be a problem for as good as the book turned out to be, but the first half of the book didn’t fully explain the what was what in the universe that the book is set in. Still not sure what some of the Misery’s creatures are. But when it gets going, it’s great. Regardless, if you like Joe Abercrombie with good Glen Cook, this is the series for you. Ryhalt Galharrow is a great lead. Deadpool without the wall breaking or wisecracks. Hero by necessity and still pissed off about it.

This is the first book I’ve heard performed by Colin Mace. He is up there with Bronson Pinchot with me now. Just fantastic.