Three of Swords

Empire Asunder, Book 1
Narrated by: Matthew Jackson
Length: 7 hrs and 47 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
4.5 out of 5 stars (21 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

Character-rich epic fantasy in the tradition of A Song of Ice and Fire and The Demon Cycle.
 

From humble beginnings is greatness born....
 

With one fateful decision, the Empire of Twelve Kingdoms drifts from tenuous peace to limitless conflict. Emperor Eberhart's unexpected abdication creates an absence of power just as the land most needs leadership. Kinship, unity, and hope give way to ambition, conspiracy, and tragedy. Royal families, once allied, now fight for the throne, heedless of a rising threat from abroad. All the while, an ancient, sinister presence looms in forgotten corners, awaiting the opportunity to reclaim a world it once enslaved....
 

Yet some stars shine brightest on the darkest nights. An unheralded prince places honor and conviction above privilege and prestige. A quiet soldier's unwitnessed heroism has the potential to save a kingdom. A common servant boldly confronts the face of unnatural evil. And the unlikeliest of love blossoms in the midst of hatred and violence.
 

Three of Swords is the irresistible first act of the Empire Asunder medieval fantasy saga, featuring political intrigue, turbulent warfare, and star-crossed romance.

©2017 Michael Jason Brandt (P)2019 Michael Jason Brandt

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    12
  • 4 Stars
    8
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    12
  • 4 Stars
    6
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    12
  • 4 Stars
    6
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Audiobook version

This is a review of the audiobook version of the story.

This excellent, fast paced story of a tranquil and stable empire which suddenly finds itself unraveling into separate warring kingdoms really shines in the audible version. The narrator has a great voice for this type of story and the characters develop just as nicely to the ear as they do to the eye in the print version.

If you are a fan of audiobooks, you won't be disappointed by giving the first book in this series a listen.

2 people found this helpful

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

Solid start to a fantasy series.

Three of Swords is a great start to a fantasy series. There are tons of characters to follow from different kingdoms and they are all pretty interesting, I think it will be very interesting in future installments to see how they all come together. With all the characters I can see it being difficult to follow and keep track for some people. My only real problem with it myself I couldn't really picture where all the kingdoms are in relation to each other, I don't know if the physical copy of the book includes a map of the world but I think it would be really helpful to have and possibly supply a pdf version with the audiobook so you can better visualize things, I mean there are twelve kingdoms so I think it would be very helpful. The story begins with the Emperor of the Twelve Kingdoms suddenly abdicates his position which then leads to intrigue and civil wars within the empire as a power struggle begins. There is also a deeper danger that is eluded too and seems to be the reason the emperor has abdicated in the first place and seems to come to play near the end of this novel. There are so many 'main' characters that I won't really get into them in depth but there are a lot and they are all very interesting in their own ways and can't wait to see how things progress with them.

I would say this is somewhat Game of Thrones esque as there are tons of characters, power struggles, politics, intrigue, betrayal etc. I don't know if it is as grand but we will see how future installments progress. The narration by Matthew Jackson was great and fits the story and style very well. I would definitely recommend this book and I can't wait to read the next book to see how the story progresses and how the characters will evolve.

"Please note I was given this free review copy audio book at my request and have voluntarily left this review."

1 person found this helpful

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

Awesome Book!

I loved this book so much. I became interested during the first paragraph of the prologue. "A lazy breeze wafted through the king's chambers, bearing the aromatic essence of hyacinth and narcissus from the castle gardens. In calmer times, Hermann would stand sentinel on the enormous stone balcony overlooking these colorful grounds, their row upon row of trimmed plots as pleasing to the eye as their scent to the noise. He considered doing so now, to reassure his restless mind--a mind that needed reassuring, for although resolute in decision he was not wholly without regret. It was not easy to kill one's son."

Brandt created so many interesting characters and intriguing friendships in this book. I quite enjoyed this aspect of the book more than any in recent years. I relish when a book introduces me to ordinary people who surprise me and do extraordinary things, all while being believable with an enjoyable pace. It was refreshing.

I was concerned about the different kingdoms and their struggles, so much that despair washed over me during some of the battles. I adore when I can see no hope and then am surprised, completely surprised by an unexpected rescue. There are some very satisfying twists in this book, satisfying and heartwarming.

I would read or listen to another book written by Michael Jason Brandt, especially the next one in this series.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request, and have
voluntarily left this review.




1 person found this helpful

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

Sword fights and Demons

Brandt creates a realistic world where magic plays in the background and brutality governs the people. This is not a fairly tale. Bad things happen to good people and it's how they react that makes it a good story. Brandt offers us political intrigue as well as choreographed sword fights. I was sincerely interested in finding out how the story would turn out.

Jackson is amazing in the way he narrates. I truly believe that he will be the next great fantasy narrator. However, because he is so good, I had to give a four star in the performance because I feel that he is at such a high level yet missing a key piece of the storytellers skill. I think that if there had been more voice acting of not only the dialogue but in the exposition between it would have been a perfect narration. There was no tempo change nor voice inflection change between scenes of sadness or action. Yet Jackson's read held such tremendous gravitas. Matthew if you read this I don't give the four lightly. I hope to listen to many more books from you.

If you like a more realistic medieval fantasy adventure then I recommend this book to you.


I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review

1 person found this helpful

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

Wow, where is this going?

I listen to this a while ago, but my review was missing. I shall try to make up for that, but unfortunately I do not remember the finer details. This is the first book I’ve read/listened to by this author and I quite enjoyed it. I’d like to listen to more in this series. We get introduced to a lot of characters and events. I like how the people seem to be more realistic. Circumstances do not always go as planned and not everything works out easily for the good guy. The story follows several character arcs and they start to come together at the end. It’s obvious there is another book.

This is the first book I’ve listened to by this narrator ( Matthew Jackson ). He does a wonderful job narrating. He makes excellent use of accents and tones. His female voices are as good as the male.

There are no explicit sex scenes, or excessively gory violence. I don’t recall any swearing.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and voluntarily left this unbiased review.
Please feel free to comment on whether you found my review helpful.

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

Epic story

This is an epic story with lots of moving parts and characters. I enjoyed it, but I did find it challenging going back and forth between the characters, especially when the story didn't pick up exactly where it left off. It was clear the characters kept going while the reader/listener was transferred to another group, so that some action occurred off-page. The story seemed to be mostly a dynastic struggle to control the empire, until near the end when it suddenly took a dark, paranormal turn. It seemed a sudden shift that caught me a little off guard. Still, I am interested to see where the story goes from here.

The narration was good and well-paced.

I received a complimentary copy of this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this honest review.

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

Great high fantasy series!

A great fantasy story, with many characters and nations to keep up with. Looks like a great series and worth following through. Hints of magic, but more of the sword than sorcery here. Likely heroes and heroines and many realistic characters. GoTs -ish, but without the graphic sex. Great narration to boot!

I received this book in exchange for my honest review. Glad I gave this author and series a try!

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

Not what I expected, but not disappointed.

I was given this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

It took me a little while to get used to the narrator because sometimes he felt a little… I don’t know, not flat… I just feel he could have done more. I even felt at moments like I heard hints of that potential, but it never came out fully. Still a solid performance. Not really a complaint, more an observation. It didn't pull me out of the story or anything.

The world was the unexpected part. It was a lot grittier than I thought it would be, but I mean that in a good way. It makes me realize that something has been missing from many other similarly set books.

It’s the first book in a series, so I can’t expect everything to be tied up in ribbons, but the author did a good job of bringing us through a satisfying arc while leaving good potential and interest for the next installment.

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

Good start to the series

Three of Swords is an awesome start the series Empire Asunder. The book is well written and the characters engaging. The narrator did a good job with it all.

I received this free audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Al
  • 06-10-19

The start of a series that shows potential

The author was very kind to throw a copy of his audiobook for Three of Swords for me. There were no expectations of a review, nor were my opinions altered by this. I also have the e-book, but opted for the audio version to jump my TBR. That’s the disclaimer bit out of the way. Now onto the review!

The Empire of the Twelve Kingdoms is in trouble. The emperor has abdicated and it seems everyone is vying for power in his wake. But that is not the only problem. With everyone’s eyes pointed inwards, an ancient threat is raising an army on the outskirts, taking advantage of the confusion to stake its claim. All is not lost though. In trying times, heroes rise in the strangest of places, but can they rally the Empire in time to face the real threat?

Here’s a series of random observations about the book:
It’s an audiobook, and the narrator does a good job with a range of characters/voices
There’s not a lot going on in this book for those who like lots of action in their fantasy. There’s an attack early on, a battle we hear about more than see, then a pretty exciting attack at the end. But this book isn’t really about the action. It’s laying the battle lines for the rest of the series, and it does a nice job of it
It’s medieval European based fantasy. If this is not your thing, and I know Euro-med fantasy is anathema to a lot of people, then this is not for you. If you, like me, will read any fantasy as long as it’s good, then read on
Most of the characters are a bit ho-hum at first. The Empire’s falling apart and all they can think of at times is their current romantic entanglement, which can be annoying at times. Also the initial plotlines are a bit run-of-the-mill initially, but there are signs of life for the rest of the series
Johan and Jenna (I think that was their names, I’ve on my fourth book since I finished this a few days ago) are easily the most interesting people to date, or at least their plot line is. Stranded after their unit is decimated, they have to fight off all manner of critters and the weather to bring news of their attack back to base. They manage with Jenna badly injured for most of the time
The attack at the end was great, very tense and exciting, and hopefully this what we can expect over the next couple of books. Also, this is where it jumps into proper fantasy, as opposed to seemingly historical fiction, And the bad guys are pretty cool
Finally, the historical fiction aspect is apt, as much if this appears very realistic. There are no glittering swords or magic armour, Weapons have a shelf-life and varying quality, armour has vulnerabilities, and wounds become infected. Your allies don’t send you 15,000 crack troops when you need help, they send you 39, and it can make a difference. Battles are small, but no less ferocious and plot-altering. Well done on this side of things, MJB.
So, a book with a lot of good things, and a series with a lot of potential - 3½ out of 5 stars. Roll on book two.