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Publisher's Summary

Ringil Eskiath, a reluctant hero viewed as a corrupt degenerate by the very people who demand his help, has traveled far in search of the Illwrack Changeling, a deathless human sorcerer-warrior raised by the bloodthirsty Aldrain, former rulers of the world. Separated from his companions - Egar the Dragonbane and Archeth - Ringil risks his soul to master a deadly magic that alone can challenge the might of the Changeling. While Archeth and the Dragonbane embark on a trail of blood and tears that ends up exposing long-buried secrets, Ringil finds himself tested as never before, with his life and all existence hanging in the balance.

©2014 Richard Morgan (P)2014 Tantor

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

…..NC-17 Sword and Sorcery…..

Richard Morgan’s third entry into the fantasy genre again downplays the explicit scenes that were so prominent in the first book. I am trying to be discrete here. It is evident that there has been a conscious decision to be a little less in-your-face on such gratuitous scenes at the end of this series. Here the events of the trilogy are allowed to unfold without too much of the rainbow desensitization techniques he employed so copiously in the first installment—and for this I am grateful. What we are left with is a quite mundane sword-and-sorcery novel. The three main characters are back again and live up to their nicknames in every sense. It is fun to see them in action. And nobody does action better than Morgan.

At the end of the day I think that I failed to fully engage with this series because of the aforementioned salacious elements and so have not really much cared what happens to the characters. There is a dearth of redeeming social value here. As a result I just let the audio play out and tried to follow the plot, which at times was difficult because the action seems focused more on the grubby details of mercenary life than it does on the grander story arc with the fate of the world at stake. This is not, therefore, an epic fantasy by any means. The unfolding Duenda war feels like little more than a manufactured crisis to allow the characters to misbehave. Alfred Hitchcock would call this the MacGuffin—the thing the characters in the story care about who facilitate the action that the audience cares about. The characters want to save the world and we in the audience want to witness them hacking and slashing their way to victory. So, while this series may have broken ground in introducing the genre to a sympathetic portrayal of an openly gay main character, it is pretty standard Sword and Sorcery fare otherwise. Knowing the dizzying heights that Richard Morgan is capable of hitting in his Science Fiction novels, this is a bit of a letdown.

Simon Vance is a little too subdued for my tastes in his reading of this book. With such flamboyant characters the story would have been better served with a more emotional rendering in the dialog scenes. Vance is excellent in translating the words on the page into sounds in your ear. For the most part he is unobtrusive and this makes it possible for him to become the sub-vocal voice-in-your-head that every reader experiences when reading a book on your own.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Leaves you wanting more

I've been a fan of the fantasy genre since my youth and have read a sizable number of fantasy books over the last 20 years. I find that Morgan writes as no other, with hard uncompromising and funny characters; each with their own huge flaws. In other words, no squeaky clean heros. In this third book the saga continues, and you are revealed some of the worlds mysteries, but you feel that there are a lot more stories to tell and even more to be revealed. I want and hope for Morgan to feel the same way about the world and the characters he has created for our, and hopefully his, enjoyment

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Adnan
  • Chula Vista, CA, United States
  • 11-15-14

A dense and sharp high epic with lots of twists

Richard maintains his sharp and edgy writing on this high epic. I took me few hours to get adjusted to the style of writing that it is dense and demands attention from the reader. Book is fast moving and hits the ground running requiring reader to be familiar with previous book well at the start. So, I recommend doing some reading (wiki page possibly) of previous books before starting this one.

Book starts with Ringil, Archeth and Egar on a journey to find the Illwark changeling. Journey takes them to various amazing places looking for the changeling where story breaks into two story lines. One follows Ringil where the other story line follows Egar and Archeth. Both are great, but Ringil's experiences are more abstract where he looks to master deadly forces for incoming conflicts. This element of the story is innovative and despite of high use of powers/magic, it remains mysterious and entertaining. During the book Ringil's character starting to remind me a lot of Elric and his sword. It has been a while since I have read the Elric saga, but I kept thinking of it.

Story line for Archeth and Egar is not simple either that their decisions are riddle with political and historical considerations. Banter between Archeth and Egar is entertaining as well along with mysterious actions of demonic helms. There arw plenty of twists in the plots which kept the book entertaining throughout.

Overall, book is very entertaining but will require concentration from reader. Like previous books in this series, it is dark edgy and sharp. Simon's narration is top notch as usual. He is able to capture the subtle tones of implications utilized by the character throughout the book. I enjoyed the book and I would highly recommend it to seasoned fantasy readers.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not the worst...

Wanted to love this series but despite loving a few of the characters I got bored to death Midway through the last book and for whatever reason felt I still had to finish it. narration was amazing Simon Vance is probably half the reason I could get through it. Richard K. Morgan is great, don't get me wrong but besides his excellent humor and witty retorts this book just dragged for me.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A God among men..

RKM shows his masterful story telling in yet another epic tale of geo-political intrigue. Deeply flawed protagonists, slang-rich cultural riffs, imaginatively detailed landscapes, evolving perspectives, and well-placed jabs at all too familiar religious/institutional stooges fuel this sub-genre fiction. I love this guy's work!

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    2 out of 5 stars
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The Definition of Anticlimaxes

What did you like best about The Dark Defiles? What did you like least?

The life and depiction of Egar the Dragonbane remains true to its spirit and injects a measure of realism in what is typically Conan the Barbarian territory. You'll likely have met people like him, but never for very long; some people need an enemy to define themselves, and once they've destroyed it, they can either find another or end up destroying themselves. I liked the ending least. The epilogue feels tacked on and irrelevent, and the Dark Court seems to make references to the earlier Takeshi Kovacs series but since this is the final book it's too little, too late, and too confusing. I get the impression that Morgan either ran out of ideas or, more likely, didn't get the greenlight to write the next few books needed to bring this series to a satisfying conclusion.

Would you be willing to try another book from Richard K. Morgan? Why or why not?

I'd love to try another book by Richard K. Morgan. The only problem is I've read them all.

Which scene was your favorite?

Archeth figuring out what the true use of all her knives is.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

No. I don't think it would translate well to a visual medium. So much of it relies on being in the characters' heads that a film wouldn't do it justice.

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  • Bob
  • East Hampton,NY
  • 06-14-17

Awesome and Epic Series

Exciting and raw. The story builds in each book with the last the most engaging. A challenge to follow at times, but very well worth it.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A diamond in the ruff

Coming from the first law trilogy to this trilogy was natural. Lots of adult language, content, and situations. Excellent books.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Yet another outstanding novel from Morgan

Continually fascinating and filled with suspense, twists, love, lust, and fantasy. Morgan's ability with words and Vance's interpretation make this audio book a must have. I will be looking for more work by these incredible individuals.

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

Excellent book!

I'd been anxiously awaiting the second book in 2011, did not have any trouble picking up where this story left off even after 5 years. Enjoyed the book very much and appreciate the superb narration, Simon Vance is a master. Many thanks to Richard Morgan. I've listened to everything by this author and hope to hear more in the future.