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The Grey Bastards

The Lot Lands, Book 1
Narrated by: Will Damron
Length: 17 hrs and 47 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (330 ratings)
Regular price: $35.00
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Publisher's Summary

"A dirty, blood-soaked gem of a novel [that reads] like Mad Max set in Tolkien's Middle Earth. A fantasy masterwork." (Kirkus Reviews)

Live in the saddle.

Die on the hog.

Call them outcasts, call them savages - they've been called worse, by their own mothers - but Jackal is proud to be a Grey Bastard.

He and his fellow half-orcs patrol the barren wastes of the Lot Lands, spilling their own damned blood to keep civilized folk safe. A rabble of hard-talking, hog-riding, whore-mongering brawlers they may be, but the Bastards are Jackal's sworn brothers, fighting at his side in a land where there's no room for softness.

And once Jackal's in charge - as soon as he can unseat the Bastards' tyrannical, seemingly unkillable founder - there's a few things they'll do different. Better.

Or at least, that's the plan. Until the fallout from a deadly showdown makes Jackal start investigating the Lot Lands for himself. Soon, he's wondering if his feelings have blinded him to ugly truths about this world and the Bastards' place in it.

In a quest for answers that takes him from decaying dungeons to the front lines of an ancient feud, Jackal finds himself battling invading orcs, rampaging centaurs, and grubby human conspiracies alike - along with a host of dark magics so terrifying they'd give even the heartiest Bastard pause.

Finally, Jackal must ride to confront a threat that's lain in wait for generations, even as he wonders whether the Bastards can - or should - survive.

Delivered with a generous wink to Sons of Anarchy, featuring sneaky-smart worldbuilding and gobs of fearsomely foul-mouthed charm, The Grey Bastards is a grimy, pulpy, masterpiece - and a raunchy, swaggering, cunningly clever adventure that's like nothing you've heard before.

©2018 Jonathan French (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"A filthy, charismatic and frankly excellent read." (Mark Lawrence, international best-selling author of Prince of Thorns and Red Sister)

“A funny thing happens when reading The Grey Bastards. You’re rolling along, smiling at the novelties on display, but then, almost without warning, you find yourself truly in the world French has created, and it all becomes wonderfully familiar and convincing. The world-building creates exactly the kind of seamless transition that makes fantasy literature compelling, informative, and just plain fun.” (R.A. Salvatore, New York Times best-selling author of The Legend of Drizzt)

"French flips the fantasy script as the monsters become the good guys, fueling an action-packed, sneakily smart adventure. Half orc and all badass, Jackal is a hero you won't soon forget." (Scott Sigler, New York Times best-selling author of Alive and Infected)

"Refashions high-fantasy tropes into something both vibrant and highly entertaining..a fantasy take on Sons of Anarchy might seem an unlikely starting point for an excellent novel, but Jonathan French manages it with considerable aplomb." (Anthony Ryan, New York Times best-selling author of the Raven's Shadow trilogy)

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Flawless

most days, after a long day in the salt mines the only thing I want to put in my ears is grandmother's icepick. I then found The Grey Bastards and now there are two things. for fans of Joe Abercrombie, Scott Lynch, Sam Sykes, and any other authors of dark, gritty fantasy with. an oxcart full of black humor and well defined and represented characters. this nifty collection of words elicited many genuine LOLs from me and I quickly became invested in these wonderfully unique half orc antiheros. Author has created a refreshingly new fantasy world that I can not get enough of. buy this book.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Even for a fantasy book, this not believable.

The writing is good but the characters are horribly written. Without spoiling much, let me explain. Imagine you are a strong warrior & an orc killer. Then, your brother that you dearly love since childhood wants to kill you on a whim for no good reason. As in no argument, nothing. Just because. Just on a whim. And imagine your reaction to that is wishing that he doesn't get hurt in the act of killing you, while you lay down to make it easier for him. If such weak characters annoy you, I would suggest you avoid this book. If senseless melodrama & romance is what you seek, where characters, who are described as veteran warriors, make emotional decisions like a child as opposed to a normal person, you would love this book.

I was fooled by the 5 star reviews and wasted my money on this one. So I'm leaving my review here for people who enjoy strong characters to not be tricked like I was.

35 of 49 people found this review helpful

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Terrible <br />

Just Terrible. Stopped with 5 hours to go. Just hated the main character. Pu**y whipped, Dumb, just did not want him to succeed in anything.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Fun, and original.

The premise of this book was original and well executed. The foul language and treatment of gender are far more reflective of what I would imagine for the cultural context of the book. This doesn't mean that I didn't find the treatment of women at times offensive only that this attitude and treatment fits the world these characters live in.

Overal I recommend the book for how it blends several genres and tropes into something enjoyable and original.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Gritty... believable... compelling...

Loved this novel! Gritty world with harsh realities and characters that seem realistic. They have flaws and perspectives and even impure motives. Tough dangerous protagonists that don't have all the answers... hell they don't even have all the questions....so refreshing to have a fantasy novel where the characters are competent yet not omniscient. We like to see the heros deal with real-world problems like a real person and not like an idealized caricature. This is a great story, well-executed and paced exactly right. The story leaves you wanting more while still wrapping up everything that happens nicely enough so that there's no resort to the cheap trick of a cliffhanger. I will definitely be buying the next books in the series and looking forward to enjoying them and hopefully many, many more works from this author.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Best Book on Audible!!

I’ve never been into Fantasy style books but I was a huge fan of the tv series Sons of Anarchy, which this book is (very) loosely based on. I’ve listened to this book 3x since purchasing it and I can’t wait until the next audiobook drops later this year. If you’ve been on the fence about getting into the “fantasy” style books this one would be the absolute best to pop your cherry!!

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Great ADULT fantasy fiction.

Great book. Note that it is not for young teens. Is crude and somewhat crass.

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The Scribblings Review of The Grey Bastards

Jackal is a Bastard, and proud of it.
One of several groups sworn to protect the hostile Lot Lands, these half-orcs patrol the area on their giant war hogs; fighting, carousing and generally behaving more like a gang than knights.

Orcs are often given short shrift in fantasy, portrayed as blood-thirsty savage creatures. Jackal and his cohorts, especially his two closest friends, while certainly capable of extreme violence are warm, mostly likable frequently funny. The bantering conversations between the three of them is a highlight.

Jackel, for all his qualities; strong, protective, loyal to his friends, is definitely flawed. Less an unreliable narrator and more of an unsophisticated one; he has a tendency to take everyone he meets on his pre-conceived notions and is frequently unwilling to listen to any opinion that contrasts with his own. Only when he is forced to by the actions (and the history) of others, does he reassess his thoughts.

The world building involved in this book is both fascinating and unexpected. The Bastards, and other groups of half-orcs, call themselves hoofs, and live by the creed of "Live in the saddle, die on the hog'; both by virtue of their war-hogs. These hogs are treated less like disposable mounts (a la many other fantasy novels involving horses) and more like beloved pets. The patterning of them after biker gangs seems almost inevitable.

Given the violence and language involved with this story, it's not necessarily going to be for everyone. But if that won't trouble you, I wholeheartedly recommend this book.

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Crass and Shallow

Narration is everything in audiobooks. I believe I could have finished this book if the narrator wasn’t so bad.. There were also so many moments where the story was.. well.. lame. Really takes away from the story when the banter between the characters just makes you shake your head in frustration. I give it 2 stars and will make sure I look up the narrators name to avoid in the future! Wasted credit.

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  • Bigt983
  • FRANKLIN PARK, NJ, United States
  • 01-12-19

Twists, turns, and mongrels oh my!

The Grey Bastards is a raw take on epic fantasy with a welcome POV change. The coarse language and brutality may take a little getting used and isn't appropriate for all audiences but it fits well in the world of the Half-Orcs. The story kept me continuously guessing and the ending was satisfying. I'm looking forward to the next installment!

It did take me a little while to get used to the narrator, I would suggest speeding up the narration a little bit (at least 1.15-1.25x) for faster talkers/readers.