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Shaman's Crossing

The Soldier Son Trilogy, Book 1
Narrated by: Jonathan Barlow
Series: Soldier Son Trilogy, Book 1
Length: 21 hrs and 4 mins
4 out of 5 stars (57 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Young Nevare Burvelle is the second son of a second son. Traditionally in Gernia, the firstborn son is heir to the family fortunes, the second son bears a sword and the third son is consecrated to the priesthood. Nevare will follow his father - newly made a lord by the King - into the cavalry; to the frontier and thence to an advantageous marriage, to carry on the Burvelle name. It is a golden future, and Nevare looks forward to it with relish. For twenty years King Troven's cavalry have pushed the frontiers of Gernia out across the grasslands, subduing the fierce tribes of the plain on its way. Now they have driven the frontier as far as the Barrier Mountains, home to the enigmatic Speck people.

The Specks - a dapple-skinned, forest-dwelling folk - retain the last vestiges of magic in a world which is becoming progressive and technologized. The 'civilised' peoples base their beliefs on a rational philosophy founded on scientific principle and a belief in the good god, who displaced the older deities of their world. To them, the Specks are primeval savages, little better than beasts.

Superstitions abound; it is said that they harbour strange diseases and worship trees. Sexual congress with them is regarded as both filthy and foolhardy: the Speck plague which has ravaged the frontier has decimated entire regiments. All these beliefs will touch Nevare's training at the Academy; but his progress there is not as simple as he would wish. He will experience prejudice from the old aristocracy: as the son of a 'new noble' he is segregated into a patrol comprising other new nobles' sons, all of whom will encounter injustice, discrimination and foul play in that hostile and deeply competitive environment. In addition, his world view will be challenged by his unconventional girl-cousin Epiny; and by the bizarre dreams which visit him at night. And then, on Dark Evening, the circus comes to Old Thares, bringing with it the first Specks Nevare has ever seen…

The first book in the Soldier Son trilogy, from the author of the Farseer, Liveship Traders and Tawny Man trilogies.

©2012 Robin Hobb (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

What members say

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

Slow start but then a great book

Not as great as the farseer trilogy but still really a nice story! The reader is excellent and i will keep listening to the second book!

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  • Jordon
  • 06-19-17

as good as the Fitz books

didnt have my hopes too high for this after reading the Fitz books but was just as enjoyable

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Nicola
  • 12-19-13

Mesmerising, as always.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this book for it drew me in completely. I loved thr Liveship trilogy and the Farseer trilogy and this was just as good. Her characters stay with you as if they are family.

What other book might you compare Shaman's Crossing to, and why?

Of course I compare it to her other trilogies. Once I started, I only wanted more! Be warned.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

I always think of Nevare's time in the academy as my favourite moments, especially having finished the trilogy. I guess I look back in them with the same nostalgia as Nevare would. All I ever did was root for him in fulfilling his dreams, but knowing Hobb, I was aware it would not be straightforward.

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

There were many powerful moments, all of which were made more impressive by the talent of the narrator. For fear of spoiling it, I won't say which was my favourite.

Any additional comments?

I got this book in time for getting a full back tattoo. I would listen to this book while the tattoo artist listened to her music. Not only would I recommend this book for relaxing to, it gives you pain tolerance beyond belief. I was so absorbed in the story that 15 hours of being tattooed was a breeze, even enjoyable.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • asd
  • 07-27-17

surprisingly boring. clichéd and monotonous.

nothing like the sparkle of the farseer stories. very disappointed. gave up after chapter 6

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • E A Hill
  • 05-29-17

A fantastic new story with great characters

I really enjoyed this first book and the author has produced some great new characters and landscapes. The narrator did a fantastic job and has been my favourite out of all the audiobooks I have bought so far. I love Robyn Hobb books for their great storytelling and lovable characters- this did not disappoint

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Yvonne
  • 05-01-15

How wrong was I?

I thought that Robin Hobb was going to burn out of great ideas but no another series that is unique, interesting and full of fresh characters and new worlds.

With Shamans Crossing they sets up another world full of petty people, desperate aliens and innocence hero's and achieves that brilliant conundrum, do you sympathise most with the hero however worthy, or the alien who wants to be left alone.

I am so glad I have a long drive today and can get into volume two and won't have to wait any longer.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Viv
  • 11-17-14

Not one of Robin's best

A touch of 'The Dark Materials' in this story with a rather naive main character and a slow, rather dull story. The narration was of a similar one pace, almost boring delivery. Nonetheless the characters are sufficiently strong to tempt me to get Book 2 (though the only review available wasn't very promising!) Definitely one for listening to whilst you are doing something in the garden or on a commute.

It was however good enough to make me want to find out what happened.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Vincent
  • 03-22-13

Not for the faint hearted.

The writing, production and reading for this trilogy is excellent. I knew that the story gets very bleak when I took the work. As is usual with her writing it is very emotive and the magic is very unique. I wonder how hard it was to write. It is not really a reread for me in the same way as the movies Midnight Express or Unforgiven which despite their excellence I will not watch again. It is a pity that her Megam Lindstrom works are not on audio.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Am Garlick
  • 06-27-19

Depressing and boring

I loved all of the Farseer trilogy, Liveship Trilogy and Tawny Man Trilogy but this is a different kettle of fish. Readers of Robin Hobb will know that sometimes the plot races along at breathless but brilliant pace (Assassins Apprentice) and sometimes it gets completely bogged down in endless detail (Fitz and the Fool trilogy book 1 - Fool's Assassin). The soldier son and the books that follow it are a slow depressing grind of misery, failure and self flagellation. I managed two books but I regret and resent the time spent waiting for the story to get going. Difficult to expect the performance to be anything other than depressing given the text he was working with.

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  • Plantmama
  • 06-16-19

Slow pace but good narration

I’d been warned that this isn’t a fast moving action story, and they were right! Its pace is... glacial, but if you know that, and want something a bit more sedate, story wise, it’s good. Luxuriate in the details of a young cavalryman’s life as he is raised with a very narrow and often naïve outlook on the world and those in it. It’s frustrating at times, but if you accept the concept of the ‘unreliable narrator’, it’s a good read/listen. I enjoyed it - I particularly enjoyed the characterisation of his patrol - but I don’t know that I’ll be listening to the next one. There’s a reason this isn’t perhaps as well known as the Farseer books...

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  • helen
  • 09-12-18

Slow Burner

I have physically read all the other books Robin Hobb has written and thoroughly enjoyed them, especially The Farseer series, with Fitz and the Fool characters them being my ultimate favourite works. I have never read this series though and did not hesitate to give this series a try.
I have not been disappointed. The detail as usual is exact, and therefore draws you in to the whole story as if you were there.
The narration is excellent and cannot in my opinion be faulted.

I only wish that Jonathan Barlow had been the choice for narrating every single book of the " Farseer Series" as the character Fitz. Or had someone else narrate all of them who is as talented as Jonathan Barlow is

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  • donnelle
  • 04-04-19

I Love this book

With a capital L. Such an underrated work from Hobb, especially from fans of her Fitz and Fool series. Give it a chance, the world she builds is remarkably unique and unforgettable. The magic system is unlike anything else I've ever read and the slow pace draws you in and is so rewarding. I'd give it 6 stars if I could

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Daniel
  • 10-26-18

Immersive

A gently narrated and well crafted world with many interesting themes woven in. Hobb is a delight and Barlow brings out her strengths. An immersive and easy listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • jackie
  • 01-07-17

Wonderful Characters

Wonderful, value laden characters. Robin Hobb truly understands people. Can't wait to read the next one!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-03-19

Robin Hobb does it again

While I did take a little while to get started into this new world, I am now fully hooked and looking forward to the next book. Good characters, a imperfect male lead character and a strong woman who doesn't need to be saved.

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  • Carole Thurlow
  • 08-29-19

A Soldier's Tale

I enjoy Robin Hobbs books greatly and look forward to the next in the series. This series is very different from the others I've read, but they all have a wonderful depth of characters and scenery which leaves you wanting more. So I'll say keep them coming Robin, they are great reading.
Carole Muirhead