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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling master of fantasy, Tracy Hickman, and his wife, author Laura Hickman, offer the first book in a major, new, dragon-laden epic fantasy.

The Bronze Canticles is an expansive new saga chronicling the world-altering changes that take place as three connected universes, the Human world, the Goblin world, and the Faery world, are slowly drawn together.

In Book One, Mystic Warrior, young Galen Arvad, a human with magical powers, must avoid the ritual that puts those with such talents to death. It seems that in the eyes of the community, magic is a sign of lunacy, and in a yearly ritual the local "crazies" are offered up to the Dragon Priests. Galen is suddenly captured and imprisoned. Now, as Galen's wife, Berkita, and his friend, Cephas the dwarf, set off to rescue him, Galen learns of the fate that awaits him, a fate far worse than even his own death.

Don't miss the rest of the Bronze Canticles Trilogy.
©2004 Tracy Hickman and Laura Curtis; (P)2004 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Impressive and provocative fantasy....This emotionally intense novel's meticulously crafted magical system and likeable characters evoke an atmosphere both timely and timeless. While lively action sequences and rich descriptive passages provide plenty of excitement, mature examinations of politics and individual responsibility lend philosophical weight and emotional poignancy....A fine example of socially conscious and unpredictable imaginative fiction." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall

Great story and characters

This is a wonderful book. I took it on a 9 hour trip, and I couldn't wait for the return trip to finish it!
I was a little confused at first, because of the way the story starts out, but once the story really got going I was completely entranced. I love they way the stories weave in and out of each other, developing each character individually, but not completely excluding the others. The way the characters see each other in their dreams is some of my favorite parts of the story. My only complaint was that the authors dropped off Galen's wife's tale.
The complexity of the stories intertwining give the story a lot of depth and I can't wait until the next book comes out.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • S. Marie
  • Honolulu, HI United States
  • 06-07-04

Appealing to fantasy and non-fantasy fans alike.

This is original fantasy right up there with George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice & Fire series (though VERY different). The authors build a complex world inhabited by goblins, men, dragons and dwarves that in no way resembles anything I've ever read before (and I am a fantasy fan). Miraculously, this story does not include the same host of familiar (and, by now, tiresome) characters first created by Tolkien. This may be the first fantasy book I've read that doesn't include ANY of the following characters: 1. hapless country lad who only wants to lead a quiet life but is forced to leave his home by a 2. wise old wizard/teacher who has chosen him for a dangerous quest to save the world or 3. a tall, solitary and brooding ranger with a mysterious and kingly past who protected aforementioned lad and old man on their quest. Try this book, even if you don't like fantasy, you won't regret it.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Andy
  • Long Beach, CA, USA
  • 07-20-04

Great Story, GREAT Narration!

I'm a fantasy fan who hasn't indulged in fantasy in a long while. Usually, the titles and descriptions are so similar that I quickly get underwhelmed. Fortunately, Mystic Warrior was the perfect re-entry into the genre I love so much. Engaging from beginning to end, I found the book intellectually provacative as I am someone who believes that the dream world IS a valid and rich dimension of interactivity. And Lloyd James is awesome! In fact, I'm thinking of deciding what my next book to download is based on Lloyd James narration. His ability to give distinct personalities and accents to all the unique beings, creatures, and otherwise throughout this amazing tale really is an incredible talent!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Marvelous Fantasy!

just finished listening to this book; and I can't wait for the next one. I hope it won't be too long, because I'm dying to learn more about these wonderful characters. If you love good fantasy, you will love this.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Decent story

I'll start out by saying, I enjoyed the story. I wouldn't rate it as highly as most of the other fantasy I've read in the last 10 years, but it was still entertaining. The 'magic' system seems rather vague and for something purportedly so universally powerful, highly underutilized. Aside from being able to converse with crafted objects, Galen fails to be the usual strong, unique character that ends up leading an unpopular cause. All epic heroes start out as unwilling participants and eventually resign themselves to their fate, but Galen wouldn't hold a candle to a Rand Al'thor or a Prince Rohan. I don't know whether it's the way it's written, or the way the story is told by the narrator, but the story failed to get me emotionally motivated, or feel strongly at all about any of the characters.

I'll be purchasing Mystic Quest next, but I can't say these go on my top 10 fantasy list. If you've read/listened to most of the existing fantasy, you'll probably enjoy this as an idle read/listen. Just don't buy this expecting a story on the level of a Robert Jordan, George R. R. Martin, or Melanie Rawn.

I'd also have to say that the narrator, while doing an ok job, does choose strange and sometimes distracting accents and voices for some characters. I definitely wasn't expecting goblins to sound like Don Knotts or Jimmy Stewart. Who knew?

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Elaine
  • columbia, MO, USA
  • 10-22-04

Wonderful story! Hard to listen to at first.

This story is delightfully original, and towards the end picks up a wonderful pace that leaves you hanging on the end waiting for the second book. I enjoyed the original ideas for fantasy, and cannon fantasy characters (such as dwarfs or wizards) have been applied in an original fashion. Much like another reviewer said- you will find no Tolkien regurgitation here. (Though in fairness, all dungeons and dragons/ Tolkien/ faerie/ goblin novels are hard pressed to escape certain stereotypes that readers have come to expect from authors.) You will find depth to this story that at first is very hard to follow.

As many other listeners have explained, the narration of this book is left lacking. At the beginning of the book it is both confusing in plot and narration with the bombardment of several different story lines. There is a strange flavor in the story telling that takes readers to the edge of a comfort zone. (making most un-comfortable) In the end it is what proves to make this story both engaging and delightful. The delight in the book is the presentation of a different TYPE of story. You?ll hear the term ?Thrice upon a time? at the beginning of the story and not really understand the meaning of it until the end.

Back to the narrator. He did a good job for the most part. But he did have several troubles with consistent accents and making himself clear with some characters. (The dwarf was the hardest to understand. It didn?t help that he was written to speak in a Yoda type way, so when the narrator orated the sentence, it all became mush.) He also had some troubles with female voices. And all the goblins sounded as if they had a cold or were very aged. Towards the end it doesn?t matter so much.

Over all, if you have patience and want something fresh on your plate from the cannon fantasy world, this book is a GREAT choice. If you don?t have the patience for an inexperienced narrator, then I suggest you actually go to the store, and buy it.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Can’t recommend to anyone.

TECHNICAL: Too many mouth and throat noises reduce enjoyment of experience. Could be avoided by better recording technique.

NARRATION: Overly dramatic and inconsistent reading style, odd accents/vocal characterizations that reduce enjoyment of the book. An example is a female goblin that sounded like a cross between “Elmer Fudd” and Truman Capote. Voice and style more suited for ESRB: EC (Early Childhood) video games.

AUTHORCRAFT: Wide departure from the prototypical fantasy races (e.g., fairies, goblins etc.) seemed contrived to make a not so interesting plot work. Herbert like references to non-existent literary works didn’t add to the story, and instead detracted. Terrible, tedious dialog made me want to stop listening several times. I do make one caveat: the book was so diminished by the narration/performance that it is possible the book when read wouldn’t be so bad.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Chris
  • Marietta, GA, United States
  • 09-20-04

Fine story, horrible narration...

It is unfortunate for the authors of this novel that it has to be subjected to such horrific narration. I'm approximately 5 hrs into the book and I have struggled with continuing or setting it aside at least half a dozen times. This narrator has no talent in dialect whatsoever. Every character for which he attempts to alter his voice, other than the main character for which he uses his normal voice, sounds like a cartoon character. His attempts to modify his voice for the blind dwarf result in a completely unintelligible drunken slur of speech. But, nothing could be worse than his hacking of the Fae. The authors describe the fairies as beautiful, lithe creatures with smooth beautiful voices, yet this narrator has somehow chosen to represent the fae language as a hacked, sterotypically comical rendition of staccato Arabic. I'm sorry, but all I can think of when I listen to this supposed "melodious" race is Abu, the mini-mart clerk from the Simpsons. It's terrible! And what is worse is that this narrator is reading the words, yet not comprehending them. How someone could come to the conclusion that this was a /good/ dialect to use to represent the fairies is beyond me. I am agonizingly continuing through the listening of the book at present because the story itself is not bad at all. Unfortunately, the narration makes it almost completely unbearable. I really doubt I'm going to be able to suffer through his parage of cartoon voices for another 9 hrs. If I had the time to read the book I would have set the audio aside and gone to buy the book after the first hour.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

I got through it

Not a Tolkien regurgitation? What else would you call a one-for-one redefinition of elves, dwarves, goblins, dragons, etc?

And I think people's emphasis on the narrator is a little overblown. He wasn't horrible. Listen to the words, and not the voice.

Overall, not a bad idea for a story. The multiple realities as reflections of each other theme kept me interested throughout.

I was somewhat disappointed in the "meticulously crafted magical system" that was not evident in the story itself. You have to read one of the appendices. And then it's like the authors just read an article from Popular Science on basic physics. Not all that meticulous. And this so-called "mature examinations of politics" and "socially conscious...fiction"; whatever. It's like the authors just read an article from Popular Anthropology on religious societies. Pretty shallow stuff.

Lastly, I am extremely annoyed with the current trend of releasing these episodic epics. [Start rant] This has to be the fifth or sixth "first book in a epic series" I've gotten from Audible where it turns out to be little more than a introduction. I expect a novel to have a self-contained plot. Even though this book wasn't bad, I refuse to be strung along. I'm not downloading the second book. I may just get the paperback from the library. [End rant]

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Tried but couldn't finish this book

Gave this book 5 hours of my time and couldn't take it anymore. The Narration is terrible. The accents given the characters were strange and inconsistent and hard to keep track of. The main character if there is one appeared occassionaly and the rest of the characters keep showing up in such a a disjointed manner that I wondered if the book would ever settle down and begin the story line, after 5 hours and yet another new character with no connection I just didn't care anymore. This book might be fine in print or maybe with another narrator though I doubt it and I am not willing to take up any more of my time

3 of 4 people found this review helpful