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Publisher's Summary

Reaching far beyond sword and sorcery, The Scar is a story of two people torn by disaster, their descent into despair, and their re-emergence through love and courage.

Sergey and Marina Dyachenko mix dramatic scenes with romance, action and wit, in a style both direct and lyrical. Written with a sure artistic hand, The Scar is the story of a man driven by his own feverish demons to find redemption and the woman who just might save him. Egert is a brash, confident member of the elite guards and an egotistical philanderer. But after he kills an innocent student in a duel, a mysterious man known as “The Wanderer” challenges Egert and slashes his face with his sword, leaving Egert with a scar that comes to symbolize his cowardice. Unable to end his suffering by his own hand, Egert embarks on an odyssey to undo the curse and the horrible damage he has caused, which can only be repaired by a painful journey down a long and harrowing path.

Plotted with the sureness of Robin Hobb and colored with the haunting and ominous imagination of Michael Moorcock, The Scar tells a story that cannot be forgotten.

©2012 Marina and Sergey Dyachenko (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Rich, vivid, tactile prose, with a solid yet unpredictable plot—and an extraordinary depth and intensity of character reminiscent of the finest Russian literature." ( Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review)

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Story

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  • Norman
  • CHARLOTTE, NC, United States
  • 06-24-13

I was drawn in to this fantastic tale!

Where does The Scar rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is in my top 5 and if I really think about all the books I have listened to it is #2 for sure!

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Scar?

The encounter with the wanderer at dawn and the outcome from that meeting...

Which scene was your favorite?

The knife throwing scene in the beginning of the book. There are many more.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

What scars you.

Any additional comments?

This book is so well written and Jonathan Davis deliverers each line with perfection. You will not fall asleep! The writers are very creative how they describe the scenes. I wish they would bring their other books to the US and to Audible. I want more!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Wow-a cold and dark journey.

Would you consider the audio edition of The Scar to be better than the print version?

Yes because the performance is first rate and the writting style is simply beautiful. It is a beautiful yet dark journey. A complete exploration of your emotions as you listen to the unfolding of Eggert life.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Eggert - so scarred by the journey

What does Jonathan Davis bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

This is an incredible experience to listen to the discriptive articulation of what is going on and just letting yourself melt into it.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The entire book is a moving experience.

Any additional comments?

Did I mention this is on the dark side? But well worth the listen, you will love the writting.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Dostoevsky Does Fantasy

Maybe it was the slightly "Russian" flavor of the highly readable translation by Elinor Huntington, or maybe it was the fearless examination of the human heart, or maybe it was the frequent feel of Russian folktales, but while listening to The Scar (1997/2012) by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko, I kept imagining Dostoevski writing heroic fantasy. Typical genre tropes like mages, arch-mages, and sorceresses, creepy apocalyptic cults, powerful and mysterious artifacts, and a pseudo-medieval setting appear, but the Dyachenkos are so fresh in their treatment of the fantasy elements and so ruthless in their exposure of the human soul and so witty in their story-telling and so original in their metaphor-making that The Scar feels like a breath of bracing fresh air cleansing the stale genre.

The novel opens in the martial and macho town of Kavarren, which is dominated by aristocratic families and the Guardsmen to which their privileged sons belong. Each family's home is a fortified castle, and their main forms of entertainment are drinking, wenching, dueling, and boar fighting. The star of the day is twenty-and-a-half-year-old Lieutenant Egert Soll, a handsome hunk of a genius swordsman who has fought two duels ending in deaths, as well as others ending in assorted injuries for his adversaries. He has his way with any woman he wants, throwing knives near willing barmaids one moment and sleeping with the wives of superior officers the next. Egert's hapless sidekick Karver Ott basks in the great young man's glory, but also suffers from his self-centered and callous treatment. Egert is a thoughtless bully and a superficial lothario until into town one day comes a seemingly mismatched couple: the scrawny and humorless scholar Dinar, whose fingers are ink-stained rather than sword-callused, and his fiancée Toria, the most beautiful woman Egert has ever seen. Egert immediately sets about seducing Toria with his bold charm and ready money, but she is immune to his wiles, and seems genuinely more interested in pursuing the scholarly quest she shares with Dinar in the Town Hall's ravaged records, the search for a manuscript written by a legendary mage called the Sacred Spirit Lash who, having gone insane, left behind an army called the Order of the Lash that still exists and is waiting impatiently for the End of Time.

How the Dyachenkos develop their novel from the fateful encounter between Toria, Dinar, and Egert is disturbing, moving, romantic, and unpredictable. They write appealing and complex characters, like the mage Luayan, the Dean of the University of the big city that makes Kavarren look like a provincial backwater, the young student Gaetan, nicknamed "Fox" for his mischievous and clever antics, the beautiful and intelligent Toria, and, of course, Egert, for whom life, after surrendering itself to him so easily for his first twenty years, becomes an existential harrower. The characters get into unpredictable situations that evoke a delicious suspense.

Although some of the Dyachenkos' descriptions and metaphors feel odd, as when Egert's "blades started to move like fish thrown out of the water onto the ground," or wrong, as when a dagger whizzes by his ear like a bullet, even though apparently there are no guns in the fantasy world, most often they are vivid and interesting, as when "An enormous, impudent raven was strutting ceremoniously through the wet university courtyard like a judge" or when Toria "spoke reluctantly, like a doctor assuring a patient who is near death and covered with sores of his imminent recovery." Another neat moment comes during a cold spell, when "Red-breasted robins with white snowflakes on their backs were sitting on girders attached to walls, looking like the guards in their bright uniforms; and presently the guards themselves strolled by, with their tall pikes and their red-and-white uniforms, shivering just like the robins."

Jonathan Davis gives his usual perfect reading of the novel, effectively varying his delivery for the different characters without straining after dramatic effects. His conflicted Egert, wise Dean Luayan, irreverent Fox, and commanding Toria are all perfect.

The Dyachenkos' imagining of the ironic and devastating twists and turns that life and destiny may put us through, as well as their evoking of a rich fantasy world with its own history, make for a compelling read (though after the nearly unbearably suspenseful climax of the novel, the resolution feels too brief and rushed). The Scar stands on its own, but also feels as though there may be an as yet untranslated novel before it and one after it. People interested in unconventional heroic fantasy and Russian (or Ukrainian) literature should try The Scar.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Sam
  • Australia
  • 11-13-12

Totally drew me in!

Where does The Scar rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is one of my favourites so far. I loved the way the fantasy elements blended seamlessly into the background, with the story driven by strong characterisations and intense personal experiences.

If I hadn't read that it had been translated I would have assumed it was written in English - admittedly by someone with the seriousness I associate with Russian literature.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Scar?

The key traumas experienced by the lead lead character were very vivid.

Which scene was your favorite?

I loved the gradual evolution of the relationship between the male and female leads. It was such a wonderful twist on the usual fantasy relationships.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

I just don't think this book would make a film, people wanting fantasy movies would expect a lot more action and less character interaction driving the plot.

Any additional comments?

I can heartily recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy as a genre but is looking for a little more depth to the characters.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Excellent book.

If you could sum up The Scar in three words, what would they be?

Very well written.

What other book might you compare The Scar to and why?

Tolstoy mixed with Solzhenitsyn
Bleakness and Hope

What about Jonathan Davis’s performance did you like?

Everything. A true story teller.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

Any additional comments?

A classic.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Engaging

Well worth listening. This appears, at the beginning, to be a shallow tale of a swashbuckler but develops into something far more complex, sinister and surprising with an excellent conclusion.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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worth your money

This story is slow to get started but worth the wait. I will be buying more novels from this author if I can.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Brutally Punishing Book

Would you try another book from the authors and/or Jonathan Davis?

Narration perhaps saved this book for me. I am sure that I might try another book by Sergey and Marina Dyachenko but only if it were written with a different style.

Would you be willing to try another book from the authors? Why or why not?

I am sure that I might try another book by Sergey and Marina Dyachenko but only if it were written with a different style. The prose of this book was absolutely brutal and dragged out. The authors were seemingly intent on finding new ways to drone on and on about what the fear within Egert was like. I got it by about halfway through the book yet the monotonous descriptions of the terror within him kept being beaten like a horse dead ten times over right to the very end and monopolized other aspects of the story.

Which scene was your favorite?

The best scene was when Egert was dueling The Wanderer and the immediate aftermath.

Any additional comments?

In my opinion the characters are not very deep. They are more like caricatures than anything else. The lack of character depth an the nearly inevitable ending was a turnoff.Others may enjoy this book and it was not horrible, but I think it was average at best.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Kevin
  • Mount Airy, NC, United States
  • 09-20-13

A Very Worthwhile Fairy-Tale for Adults

The authors of this story are truly talented in their character development, and the artistry in which they weave the relatively simple, yet rich tale.

As many other reviewers have mentioned, Egert is the main character, toward whom, at the beginning of the book, I felt total justification in completely despising. After Egert murders Toria's fiance, I almost cheered when 'the Wanderer' goaded Egert into challenging him to a duel, and the contemptuous ease that Egert was beaten, and cursed. I reveled in Egert's fall into complete and utter disgrace, his shameful flight from his home, resulting in a wretched life of misery and fear.
This cursed punishment was only too fitting for the man that Egert had been.

When the paths of Egert and Toria crossed once again, I did not want there to be any chance of redemption for Egert. The skill of the writers is undeniable, as even I was compelled to begin to root for Egert as he strives to do the right thing. This struggle is in spite of the irrepressible cowardice at the dire consequences promised him, should he fail to incriminate an innocent whom he truly loves.

Jonathan Davis provided a very good narration, with dramatic (but not overly so) voices. His narration certainly added to the overall listening experience, and I would encourage you to try this non-mainstream book.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Excellent

What did you love best about The Scar?

The story itself is so simple, but told so beautifully.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Scar?

There were many, but more than any one particular moment, it was Egert's transformation thoughout the book.

What does Jonathan Davis bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He displays an excellent range of emotion. This was my first Jonathan Davis books, and it was one of my favorites.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

If I were unemployed and single.... sure.

Any additional comments?

If you're a fan of fantasy (Rothfuss, Tolkien, etc.) I highly recommend this book.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful