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Publisher's Summary

Beneath the streets of Seattle, a long-forgotten war is about to be renewed...Richard McAllister, a spiritually destitute homeless man and Knight of the Yn Saith, protects one of seven portals linking his world to that of Annwn, where the fey Tuatha de Dannan of antiquity have been relegated by a long-running religious war. Unknown to Richard though, powerful forces are aligning against him and all he stands to keep safe.

In the wilds of a discarded world, Philip Plantagenet, son of Henry II, moves to claim a birthright nine centuries in the making, one that drives him to eliminate the Tuatha de Dannan - at any cost to both worlds. In the halls of Vatican City, Cardinal Vicar Cormac Pell O'Connor schemes to control the Heliwr - the Unfettered Knight - one who possesses the great power known as the Dark Thorn.

The three men are on a collision course with history - and their futures. For in the wilds of Annwn, death comes as easily as magic. Haunted by a past he can't forget and a knightly responsibility he can't shun, Richard is drawn into levels of machinations - and two worlds - far darker than any he has prepared for.

©2012 Shawn Speakman (P)2013 Audible Inc.

Critic Reviews

The Dark Thorn is one exciting book. From start to finish, there are strong characters, dangers lurking around every corner and cliffhangers that will leave you breathless. A fine tale by a talented writer.” (Terry Brooks)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Really great!

I so enjoyed the short story by Mr. Speakman in the Unfettered anthology that I decided to listen to this novel too. I was not disappointed.

Any fan of the Merlin television series should love this book, though this story is set in modern day.

The reader portrays each character well and helps you see that movie in your head (always a goal of mine).

Richard McCallister protects the secret Seattle portal between our world and Annwn--the world to which all of the fey creatures (fairies, leprechauns, centaurs, and the like) had long ago been transported to protect them from extinction. The Knights protecting the portals use magical items but so do the forces of evil on both sides of the portal. Without giving anything away, some of those magical items are ones that you are probably familiar with. 'Nuf said.

The book is full of action and adventure as a small group tries to reunite the fey creatures to battle the forces of evil. Any war in Annwn threatens both worlds. In the meantime, the forces of evil are also after Richard and another character he is trying to protect. Can evil turn these two or bend them and/or their weapons to their nefarious purposes?

Which creatures are on which side (if either)? Can war be averted and, if not, can good triumph? Which men of our world are simply trying to protect the portals and which really have their own agenda? Can the two worlds be saved?

A minor disappointment for me that these knights are supposed to be Knights of the Word here on our side as defined by a certain church (i.e. the Word of God). But when people try to defend their actions in the name of the Word, no one actually uses any of the actual Word to refute them. That would have been fun!

That's a small objection though and it did not prevent me from giving this book 5 stars. I couldn't stop listening and that's one sign of a great book. I look forward to the next one!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Lisa
  • Clarks, NE, United States
  • 03-12-14

Don't let The fact Podehl read it influence you!

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The main character was nothing short of God Awful!

Would you ever listen to anything by Shawn Speakman again?

Never ever ever ever

Which scene was your favorite?

None. Couldn't make it through it.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Annoyance. The author made all of the characters so distasteful they ruined a pretty fair storyline.

Any additional comments?

Hard to slog through this - I bought it because I love these types of stories and I love Nick Podehl as a reader... but this abomination of a main character... ugh... was there ever a more disrespectful, unpleasant, and utterly unlikable character ever created?

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Chuck
  • United States
  • 02-05-14

This book is, in a word...BAD!

This book could have been so much better, the premise for the book is good and is what initially caught my attention, but I feel that the author tried to do too much with the subject and tried to include too many fantasy/historical elements. The writing is not very polished and doesn't flow very well. He tries to be very grandiose with the writing and language and it just comes off as cheap and awkward. There are also several instances in the book where the author will say something on one page and then contradict himself on the next page, sometimes in the next sentence.

The characters are shallow and one dimensional, they have no depth, and they flip flop from being extremely immature and irrational one minute to being very wise and all knowing the next. There is no character development, we don't see them grow at all, they just inexplicably go from selfish children, ignorant of the world around them, to full grown, mature adults, tasked to save the world from impending doom.

The plot has holes all over the place and there is a lot of deus ex machina. He writes the characters into seemingly impossible scenarios with no way out and all of a sudden they emerge victorious and he explains it away with "magic." It's hokey and fake and not believable at all (yes, this is fantasy writing, but there has to be some believable elements, rooted in what we know, to make it engaging and to help the reader buy in to what the author is selling).

It was all I could do to make it to the end of the book. I will not be listening/reading the next two books in the series when they come out, one book was more than enough for me. I would not recommend this book.

9 of 15 people found this review helpful

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story was good, dialogue was awful

it wasn't a bad story, but the dialogue was unbelievable and constantly the me out of the story. narrator was awesome though.

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I don't like any of them

The characters were horrible. I didn't like anyone. They all spoke in riddles, got mad if anyone asked what the hell they were talking about, then pouted when they were given the same treatment. Richard is bitter and angry and annoying. He has serious psychological problems, and not the ones that make a character interesting. the story jumps from the church to Seattle and to the fairy world with no warning. One of the guys in the church likes having sex with women. what does that have to do with the review? I dunno, but it was mentioned enough in the story it must be important. Richard's wife was killed, we get it. I gave this 10 hours of my life, and I still don't care about anyone in the whole book. Don't bother.

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Enjoyable, but nothing groundbreaking

I liked this story, and it has a lot of promise. It wasn't anything particularly special, but it was an enjoyable read, hence 3 stars. It feels a lot like older fantasy story, where the language is more formal and the interactions feel rigid and constrained by expectation, and I think that is where the book fell flat for me. For some characters, that type of language made sense: the residents of Annwn are from an older time and society when that type of embellished speech would be more popular, but Richard and Bran are from present day America, and Bran even grew up on the streets, but they use the same overly formal language which felt contrived and pulled me out of the story. I believe this is Shawn Speakman's first novel, so I am interested to see how he develops as an author, as the story itself is complex and very promising. Therefore, I found this book perfectly passable, and am interested to see how the series develops.

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Sadly said

Unfortunately all I really have to say is that this book is unremarkable and not very memorable. The characters development is poorly done. Although the concepts are very interesting.

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This is an example of how bad self publishing is

Would you try another book from Shawn Speakman and/or Nick Podehl?

Probably not.

What could Shawn Speakman have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

The dialog was right out of a mediocre renaissance festival skit. The young protagonist is supposed to be a street kid - I have never known a street kid who used vocabulary like that. <br/><br/>The main protagonist was whinier than Luke Skywalker in A New Hope. Every time he lamented be 'used' I just heard 'I ws going to Toshi Station'.<br/><br/>I think he needed to have an editor that had a clue about narration and how people talk.

What three words best describe Nick Podehl’s performance?

He was ok.

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Excellent new Author

Excellent Book for a new Author Shawn has great charactor development, wonderful story telling will read his other books he puts out big fan

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Don't like how this review is set up.

Great read hard to put down or turn off. Good story full of the unexpected .open there will be a sequil.