• The Last Smile in Sunder City

  • The Fetch Phillips Archives, Book 1
  • By: Luke Arnold
  • Narrated by: Luke Arnold
  • Length: 7 hrs and 55 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (1,580 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In a world that's lost its magic, a former soldier turned PI solves cases for the fantasy creatures whose lives he ruined in an imaginative debut fantasy by Black Sails actor Luke Arnold. 

Welcome to Sunder City. The magic is gone, but the monsters remain.

I'm Fetch Phillips, just like it says on the window. There are a few things you should know before you hire me:

  1. Sobriety costs extra.
  2. My services are confidential.
  3. I don't work for humans.

It's nothing personal - I'm human myself. But after what happened, to the magic, it's not the humans who need my help.

Walk the streets of Sunder City and meet Fetch, his magical clients, and a darkly imagined world perfect for fans of Ben Aaronovitch and Jim Butcher.

Praise for The Last Smile in Sunder City:

"Arnold's writing and narration combine for a strong addition to the contemporary fantasy genre and kick off a new series with a powerful start. A must-listen, especially for fantasy lovers and Arnold's fans." (AudioFile)

"A richly imagined world.... Winningly combining the grit of Chinatown with the quirky charm of Harry Potter, this series opener is sure to have readers coming back for more." (Publishers Weekly)

"A marvelous noir voice; Arnold has captured the spirit of the genre perfectly and wrapped it around a fantasy setting with consummate skill." (Peter McLean, author of Priest of Bones

Fetch Phillips novels:

  • The Last Smile in Sunder City
  • Dead Man in a Ditch
©2020 Luke Arnold (P)2020 Orbit

Critic Reviews

"[T]he focus on meticulous worldbuilding and highly detailed backstory as well as the cast of fully developed and memorable characters are unarguable strengths.... The first installment of an effortlessly readable series that could be the illegitimate love child of Terry Pratchett and Dashiell Hammett." (Kirkus)

"A marvelous noir voice; Arnold has captured the spirit of the genre perfectly and wrapped it around a fantasy setting with consummate skill." (Peter McClean, author of Priest of Bones)

"A richly imagined world... Winningly combining the grit of Chinatown with the quirky charm of Harry Potter, this series opener is sure to have readers coming back for more." (Publishers Weekly starred review)

What listeners say about The Last Smile in Sunder City

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  • Overall
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Noir Fantasy Ride to Remember

The Last Smile in Sunder City is a beautifully crafted tale that takes you on a journey, unlike any other. Fetch Phillips, the antihero of the story, is a PI for hire. The narration was done in a noir fashion and set in a fantasy world where magic is dead, and the monsters aren't like any you've ever imagined. The backstory is just as intriguing as the mystery unfolding. What a talent Luke Arnold has that he can so easily stay true to each of his characters' personalities. At times, I had to remember this was one person narrating the tale and not a full cast of narrators. My only complaint is I wish the sequel were available now. I loved this tale! I'm convinced you will, too

62 people found this helpful

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How Lovely to Have the Book read by the Author

Luke Arnold has long been known as a spectacular actor, and what a privilege to have that talent combined with his literary work!

At many points throughout the book, I found myself smiling at a voice or quirk Arnold threw into his reading. This book is FUN. I blazed through listening because the visuals, characters, and story took me on a rich journey.

If you like an antihero, Arnold is serving you Fetch Phillips (his wry protagonist) on a silver platter. He manages to capture all the fantasy tropes we love, and frame it all in a new light. I would highly recommend this book to any reader that gets tired of the heteronormative, cis-centric, romance-focused fantasy that fills shelves. In Sunder City you will find a world of such intriguing characters that you’ll wish you could head right into a sequel.

37 people found this helpful

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Definitely noir, definitely urban, a tad morose,

but it kept me entranced for an entire day. I'm a fan of Nero Wolfe series, a moderately enthusiastic fan of the new Rivers of London series, and a moderate fan of 1950's noir. This is related to all of these, and also a very intriguingly written story, coming apart in layers. I might not buy another in the series, but I am glad I listened to this one.

28 people found this helpful

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Beautifully descriptive

If I wasn’t already intrigued by the mashup of some of my favorite genres and entranced by the plot, I’d recommend this book for his diction alone. The metaphors were unique and outlined Fetch’s attention to detail using every sense it’s possible to feel and more. Usually I listen to audiobooks while doing chores, but I frequently had to sit separate from my world and close my eyes in a successful effort to enter the world Mr. Arnold so thoughtfully created for us.

22 people found this helpful

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An original!

This book isn’t derivative of 100 others but is a real original. With the exception of one author I refuse to buy books read by the author. Now I have two exceptions.

20 people found this helpful

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A Fun Ride!

A story that gives everything it promises. Full of fun and mystery that keeps you listening. 1

14 people found this helpful

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A Fantasy/Noir book definitely worth the listen.

I had been looking for a new magic/fantasy book when I saw the summary for Sunder City. It gave off a strong dark fantasy vibe that reminded me of Carnival Row. A magic (or magic-less in this case) world with a dose of realism that is hard to capture and tends to get lost in other books. After listening I agree that, if you've read/listened to the Dresden or Alex Verus series, you'll like this book. They've got the same kind of flawed protagonist that's doing his best to do good but doesn't always succeed. However, Fetch Philips is his own character and you won't feel like your listening to a cut and paste version of the others. Additionally, Luke Arnold did a really great job narrating his book. Not every author can pull off their own narration but Luke Arnold and his production team did. I am looking forward to the next book in the Fetch Phillips series and seeing were Sunder City goes from here.

13 people found this helpful

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  • AJ
  • 02-29-20

A great story with my new favorite narrator!

I am not going to lie, I am a fan of Luke Arnold. That being said this book would have popped up as a recommendation for me to find on its own. It is a well crafted world with characters brought to life with wonderful detail. A brilliant first book and can’t wait to read/hear what author Luke gives us next. His narration is brilliant! On par with some of my favorites (Nick Podehl and Luke Daniels), his voices and accents let me imagine a movie playing just for me. Needless to say I hope he continues to write and maybe narrate some other books between his stage & TV work!

10 people found this helpful

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It’s not a happy story.

Need a story to fit the angst-ridden, quarantined cesspit of 2020? Want a story to make you feel worse about life than you already do? Then this is the story for you! Otherwise, not so much. SPOILERS TO FOLLOW!

Fetch is a drunk. Broke, scrabbling for anything he can do to undo the horrible thing he did before, he takes a job looking for a missing vampire. He wallows in self pity and bitterness as he drunkenly stumbles through the motions of actually doing something. In flashbacks that really don’t fit into the story and interrupt the flow of the book, you learn that he hates himself for draining magic from the world. Vampires are dying. Trolls, dragons, and any magical creatures are doomed. The tree spirit (and owner of the title smile) he loved is now a statue. The world he describes is gray, drab and broken. Much like his life. Before the Coda, everything mechanical used magic to work. Now, without magic, there are no cars, no trains, no manufacturing. Got that? So WHY do televisions, radios and telephones work? This one little inconsistency bugged the crap out of me. There is no happy ending, no positive uplifting revelation, no “we’re gonna make it better” vibe. It’s depressing, it’s a downer, and there is no redemption. Or at least not enough to balance out everything else. The author narrates and he does an okay job of it, but even his narration is lackluster and dull.

9 people found this helpful

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Who is this supposed to appeal to?

First of all, authors reading their own works is just gross. It never works. Y'all need to stop.

About the story and characters. I guess you'd call the main character an "anti-hero". He's just kind of garbage. I think it must be a male fantasy to be a functional alcoholic? I don't know. Not appealing though. There was maybe 2 female characters, and they were one-dimensional hot girls. One of them was a tree. The male anti-hero didn't grow as a person, didn't make any valuable connections with others, didn't resolve anything. This is the white male version of vapid beach romance. It's all tortured angst and no real substance.

9 people found this helpful