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Author Topic: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!  (Read 35703 times)

Offline wissenlander

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Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #75 on: February 24, 2009, 02:18:08 PM »
Wissenland is my WFB crack. :blush:
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finding photographic evidense that Wiss smiles is going to be hard...

Offline Midaski

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Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #76 on: February 24, 2009, 04:11:00 PM »
I have to say, I am mystified why anyone would want to read any of these books.  :icon_lol:

I bought quite a few that were in a sale on Play.com last year and have been gently working my way through them.
I was a prolific reader as a boy, up to about age 15, and then sport took precedence, and since then I only tend  to read when on holiday.

Latest one is slightly unusual as it is "Knight Errant" by Anthony Reynolds. First chapter and I thought what a load of crap, and I put it down disappointed.
Then last night I happened to go to bed early and thought: "Oh I'll read for 10 minutes," ...... and an hour later I had to make myself stop.
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Offline Dannyfave

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Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #77 on: February 25, 2009, 04:05:18 AM »
Riders of the Dead, by Dan Abnett:

Riders, by GW's best author (by some margin), is an excellent story. Two pistoliers get separated in battle, and end up on opposite sides of the conflict: One captured by Tzeench chaos, the other recruited by the Kislevites who give the book its title. I understand the story is loosely based off a Chinese legend, and I certainly can believe that stories with this basic skeleton have been around for a long time, but for the most part this is firmly set in the Warhammer World.

Dan Abnett uses the two strangers to introduce us to the rich and well thoughtout cultures of the Chaos Horde and Kislev. If you have any interest in the background of Kislev, pick this book up right now. Chaos is also well illuminated as more than rank upon rank of warriors in black armour: We will meet slavers, monks and nuns as well as warriors, catalysts of a convincing metamorphosis in the character observing them.

The story of the character who rides with Kislev takes a little longer to pick up, but is equally well developed: By the end of Riders, you will have a clear understanding of who the characters are, where they're headed and what influence their culture has on them.

I'd recommend this book to everyone, especially those with an interest in Kislev


This is by far my favorite black libray novel, I love the setting, the story and everything else involved in this book :::cheers:::

As a sie note, Volks and the other main character were Demi-lancers, not pistoliers...
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Offline neverness

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Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #78 on: February 25, 2009, 04:15:59 AM »
Good reviews. I have to admit, Midaski's review of Runefang is fairly accurate. I tend to only read (novels)right before I go to bed, and this book has been a struggle, pretty much for all the reason's he pointed out. (and I have a cat that hates it when I lay in bed holding a book; she attacks it! This is the 2nd cat I've had that does that)

Favorite scene so far was the goblin ambush. That actually had me engaged, and I like the Crone of Morr; gets the 'most interesting character' award (so far).

Tales of the Old World is a much better read, and I've been picking through that as well. Still my favorite Warhammer Novel, so far,  is Grudge Bearer.

Rufus, to assist with your mystery as to why anyone would want to read these books, it's because we not only love the genre, we love the setting. Reading the novels however, is a bit of a crap shoot (pun intended) as a writer who scored big before, may flop hard another time. Besides, we don't have a fraction of the hacks to weed out like fans of other genres have too (Star Trek, Star Wars, Dragon Lance, Forgotten Realms, etc.).
« Last Edit: February 25, 2009, 04:26:59 AM by neverness »

Offline rufus sparkfire

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Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #79 on: February 25, 2009, 04:26:30 PM »
I like the setting too. But the books are not appealing at all.

I still regret buying 'murder in marienburg.'  :icon_evil:
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Offline Dihenydd

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Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #80 on: February 25, 2009, 06:39:13 PM »
The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay

Lions is Kay’s third novel (1995) blending history and fantasy into a new literary genre after completing his widely successful Fionavar Trilogy.  In this novel he is attempting to retell the struggles and changes at end of the Moorish occupation of Spain.  Replacing well known figures and landmarks in history with his own characters and storylines, he is able to tell a story in an unencumbered form.  In Lions, GGK resists the strong fantasy elements common in his other novels and instead focuses more on the mundane aspects of human behaviour.  He squeezes 80 years of Spanish history into a few short years to increase the dramatic effect such changes wrought on the people of that time.

GGK’s use of an alternate fantasy history is deliberate and liberating.  Answering the question himself, he feels that it is the height of literary dishonesty to put ones own words into the mouth of real people.  To ascribe motivations, words and deeds to say a Ceasar Augustus that are not existent in historical record is to demean the person and their role in history all for the sake of your own story.  Instead GGK creates his own world mirroring some of the aspects of our own.  He is then free to create amalgamations or unique characters in similar positions.  They are free to make their own decisions and actions leading to similar but different outcomes without the burden of actual history.  He adds a fantasy element to these stories consistent with his own literary journey.

The bulk of the novel focuses on three characters representing the three religions present in Al-Rassan at the time of its fall.  Each is a rich well of depth of character, drive and skill.  As the three religions attempt to find their way in end of their peaceful coexistence these three individuals will collide in a confrontation each knows is coming but cannot avoid.  In this world all three cannot survive and you cannot but feel for each.  In a more normal novel each would be a hero in their own right, here they are combatants, none with ill towards each other, but each loyal to the life they represent.  Each of these people surround themselves with people of deep character and it is the lives of these characters GGK is able to fully showcase his art as a writer.  In a genre that typically creates stereotypes GGK creates people, albeit with incredible skills at their disposal. 

As the personal struggle of each character is examined, we also see the effect of change on the grand scale of nations.  Responding to the outside forces that each eagerly want to exploit the region for their own ends, the nation of Al-Rassan itself is torn asunder, never again to reach the splendor it has enjoyed in its rich history.  We witness the end of a paradise in the name of political religion and personal vainglory.

In the cynical society we live in now, it can be difficult to write what we call a ‘happy ending’ we can believe in.  Once again GGK is able to bring home all the threads of a rich tale and bring us to a point of believing in something good while still respecting the story.  On a personal note, I had to stop reading the final 10 pages before the end, take a breath, and go back and reread before reading the last 2 of the epilogue.  GGK cut his literary teeth with his friend, Christopher Tolkien, son of JRR, on the editing and polishing of The Silmarillion in 1974.  He has used this inspiration to create his own worlds every bit as deep and satisfying as Middle Earth.

Note:  Lions of Al-Rassan has been optioned as a ScreenPlay.  Work is slow on associating the talent to the project.  GGK has not been optioned to write.

GGK’s novels are:  (in reading order)

Fionavar Trilogy
Tigana
A Song for Arbonne
Lions of Al-Rassan
The Sarantine Mosiac (2 novels)
The Last Light of the Sun
Ysabel
Blah

Offline neverness

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Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #81 on: February 26, 2009, 04:58:46 AM »
I like the setting too. But the books are not appealing at all.

I still regret buying 'murder in marienburg.'  :icon_evil:

Not read that one. I did see the 'sequel' in the bookstore this evening though.


This might deserve it's own thread, but since it's about reviews anyway, I'll bring it up here: I wonder if we should have our on W-E rating system for Warhammer books? We have reviews in the Library and this thread, but nothing that would immediately tell someone at a glance how users of this site (typically warhammer players with an Imperial bias) felt, on average about a particular book. Here's my 5-star system (the Neverness scale):

5. You must read this book. Your knowledge of the Old World is incomplete without this and you'll be regarded as a neonate if you publicly mention never having read this. The book is priceless.
4. Good book. You'll hate that it ended and want more. A book you'd recommend, but still not quite the best. You got your money's worth.
3. Entertaining, but not essential. Not a waste of money, but not vital either.
2. This book is subpar at best, only recommended for completists. This book makes, or should make, no significant impact upon one's view of the Old World, but by no means is this the worst thing ever. You'll likely feel that you wasted your money if paid more than half the cover price for it.
1. Avoid. Clearly this manuscript was accepted simply to meet a deadline and is a hacked effort at best. Mentioning publicly that you liked and recommend this book will likely have you ostracized and ridiculed -Perhaps banished- by those regarded to be well versed on the background, history and character of the Old World.


Offline wissenlander

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Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #82 on: February 26, 2009, 12:22:47 PM »
Karl Voss came up with the 'great cannon' system, which basically equates to the 5 stars.  Though that information is usually at the end of the review and not the beginning...
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finding photographic evidense that Wiss smiles is going to be hard...

Offline GamesPoet

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Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #83 on: February 26, 2009, 12:37:22 PM »
I still regret buying 'murder in marienburg.'  :icon_evil:
Yes, a very disappointing read.
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Offline GamesPoet

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Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #84 on: February 26, 2009, 12:56:59 PM »
The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay
Excellent book, and I highly recommend.

Quote
GGK’s novels are:  (in reading order)

Fionavar Trilogy
Tigana
A Song for Arbonne
Lions of Al-Rassan
The Sarantine Mosiac (2 novels)
The Last Light of the Sun
Ysabel
Enjoyed "Tigana" enough to pick up "Lions of Al-Rassan", and hopefully will get around to reading others.
"Not all who wander are lost ... " Tolkien

"The beauty of curiosity and creativity is so much more useful than the passion of fear." me

"... my old suggestion is forget it, take two aspirins and go paint" steveb

Offline rufus sparkfire

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Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #85 on: February 26, 2009, 03:07:28 PM »
Dihenydd : thanks for the review! I'll add it later.


As for the idea of giving the books a score out of five (or whatever): I like the idea very much, but the problem is applying it retroactively to the reviews we already have. I suppose I could just guess what the score might have been in each case.

I think I'll do that, and put the score next to the title of the book on the reviews index page. I'll use the 'neverness' ranking.  :icon_smile:
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Offline Karl Voss of Averland

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Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #86 on: February 26, 2009, 06:20:01 PM »
Karl Voss came up with the 'great cannon' system, which basically equates to the 5 stars.  Though that information is usually at the end of the review and not the beginning...

It didn't become a system until you started using it too. Before that, it was me just being silly.   :happy:
Quote
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Offline rufus sparkfire

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Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #87 on: February 27, 2009, 12:19:35 AM »
It didn't become a system until you started using it too. Before that, it was me just being silly.   :happy:

Well, you've only written one review. Feel free to write some more.  :icon_smile:
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If I wanted to.

Offline Karl Voss of Averland

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Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #88 on: February 27, 2009, 01:59:04 AM »
It didn't become a system until you started using it too. Before that, it was me just being silly.   :happy:

Well, you've only written one review. Feel free to write some more.  :icon_smile:

Tell the Black Library to write some good books!  :icon_evil:

I could write book reviews for other non-warhammer related books, but they would have no use to the warhammer book reviews (Currently reading Catch 22 by J. Heller)
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I sexually violated the cat.  When we have children I will push harder for this time honored and enjoyable tradition

Remembering what Rufas started and endures in us all

Offline rufus sparkfire

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Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #89 on: February 27, 2009, 12:43:19 PM »
Quote from: Karl Voss of Averland
Tell the Black Library to write some good books!

People will read any old rubbish so long as it's fantasy, I've noticed. That's how horrible writers like Terry Goodkind stay in business.


You can review anything you like. There's a review of a modern zombie horror book on the site already!
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If I wanted to.

Offline neverness

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Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #90 on: March 05, 2009, 03:22:17 AM »
True about the hack fantasy. There is a lot of it! Trees worth of it moldering in the used book stores through out the civilized world.

I'm curious to see the 'great cannon' system. Where's it located at? My system would work best if balanced with additional user reviews, but Amazon we're not! But if i were to use it, I'd rate the following (and the few) BL novels that I've read thus:

Grudgebearer. 4.5: Not a perfect book, but definitely the most enjoyable BL book I've ever read. I really didn't want it to end, and was a bit let down with the ending it had. (it sort of left you feeling there was more to tell).

Fell Cargo: 3.5. I enjoyed it, but it's spaggetti-like plots are to it's detriment. Although it avoided predictability, it was hard to care for characters when the supporting cast died in such droves.

The corrupted: 3. I enjoyed it at the time, but the ending was very "WTF". Having learned more about the old world, and Kislev in particular, I've determined that the writer thought that the city of Praag was truly on the border of the Chaos Wastes. (dangerously close, yes, but there is a lot ground between it!). I enjoyed the witchhunters fates.

Runefang: still reading this, but, sadly, it's feeling like a 2. Maybe a 3. I'll know soon.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2009, 02:31:38 AM by neverness »

Offline Midaski

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Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #91 on: March 05, 2009, 12:02:49 PM »
"Knight Errant" by Anthony Reynolds

Synopsis:
Bretonnian setting, and about two half-brothers who are knight errants, and sons of a Lord. He's ill and they have to answer a call to arms to help with a greenskin problem across country.
 400+ pages.


As an Empire devotee, it was quite strange getting used to the Bretonnian theme, and I almost got annoyed in the initial chapters at the 'division' between the 'haves' - the nobility - and the 'have-nots' - the peasants.
Indeed you got the impression that every peasant was retarded, and disabled or mal-formed.
However it toned down, or I got immune to it as the book went on. In the early stages the young knights are also portrayed as somewhat arrogant and irresponsible, and their experiences do see them mature thoughout the story.

The plot is reasonable, with a lot of fighting, firstly against Orcs and Gobbos, and then against Beastmen. The attempts at keeping the Beasts as a surprise element, are somewhat diluted by the front cover showing some Gors .............  :icon_wink:

There is a fair dose of treachery, which may be a heavy dose of irony given the supposed Bretonnian traits of honour and nobility.
The author however does play to the subject introducing a godlike Grail Knight who seems to be 15 foot tall and invincible, and a Questing Knight who isn't ................
We also have an Empire 'guest' with disgusting black powder pistols.

I also have to observe something about the 'Evil Leader', which I have also now realised happens in "Runefang". In both cases they are not really developed, and not really explored.
In Runefang it was almost just a simple primitive ethereal creature - with basic primitive motivation.

In Knight Errant, it is not too hard to work out who/what the 'creature' is, but again it has very simple 'motivations'.
The authors in both cases seem to have a token 'evil creature' who is just 'bad' and does revenge and annihilation.

I am not saying that is necessarily a bad thing, as in both books there are plenty of other characters to go around. I criticised Runefang as several of them had little part to play in the story, but in this book all the characters were of more relevance.



If we are grading now I would have given Runefang a '3' and this is slightly better at around '3.5'

 :engel:
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Quote
Metal to Finecast - It is mostly a swap of medium. 

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Offline t12161991

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Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #92 on: May 11, 2009, 03:19:42 AM »
Can we write reviews for any book? Because I some a while back. For a bookstore, and a smallish local magazine.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2009, 03:49:30 AM by t12161991 »
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Hail! to the conqu'ring heroes
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The leaders and best!

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Offline wissenlander

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Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #93 on: May 22, 2009, 11:22:57 AM »
Yes, you can do any book.
Me and Wissenlander had babies!

not together.

finding photographic evidense that Wiss smiles is going to be hard...

Offline Uryens de Crux

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Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #94 on: May 22, 2009, 11:48:31 AM »
Yes, you can do any book.

Really? Any Book?

okay...

Retribution Falls (aka Tales of the Kitty Jay Vol1)
Chris Wooding

For those of you who have read Scot Lynche's novels (Lies of Locke Lamora, etc) then this will be right up your street.

Its a similar tale of a rogue, not so lovable, and his disperate crew/henchmen. While Scot Lynch writes in a firmly fantasy setting however, Chris Wooding is a in sort of faux Victoriana/Steam Punk/Deisel Punk kind of setting.

Retribution Falls is a well written tale of betrayal, bonding, determination, revelation and ultimately redemption (of a sort), I found it engaging in story, pacing and writing, with well rounded characters and not obvious plot developments (apart from one which was too good not to do anyway, so thats ok)

All in all its a 4 out of 5 book

(PS if you havent read Lies of Locke Lamora then put down whatever the heck you are reading and go get it right now, thats a 6 out of 5 book)
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Offline wissenlander

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Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #95 on: May 22, 2009, 11:53:00 AM »
Yes, you can do any book.

Really? Any Book?

Someone reviewed Max Brooks' World War Z, so I'd assume so.
Me and Wissenlander had babies!

not together.

finding photographic evidense that Wiss smiles is going to be hard...

Offline rufus sparkfire

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Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #96 on: May 22, 2009, 03:18:13 PM »
Anything at all is fine!

The reviews might even get put on the site one day... my excuse is that I'm waiting for Calvin to fix the system.
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If I wanted to.

Offline Dihenydd

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Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #97 on: May 22, 2009, 09:52:38 PM »
The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay
Excellent book, and I highly recommend.

Quote
GGK’s novels are:  (in reading order)

Fionavar Trilogy
Tigana
A Song for Arbonne
Lions of Al-Rassan
The Sarantine Mosiac (2 novels)
The Last Light of the Sun
Ysabel
Enjoyed "Tigana" enough to pick up "Lions of Al-Rassan", and hopefully will get around to reading others.

Its been a few years since I last read Tigana and after writing the review I decided to re-read my collection.  Time had allowed me to forget the last 2 pages of Tigana and once again I was completely surprised and had a thrill go up my spine when reading the last sentence.  Amazing book.

If you are working through GGK, I strongly suggest reading Fionavar before Ysabel (spoiler).  But then I always recommend that anyone read these books in order.  They aren't in anything close to a timeline and aren't related, but each expands and makes oblique references to themes introduced in previous books.

I just read in my quarterly GGK newsletter that Last Light was recently optioned for film as well.  yay!
Blah

Offline t12161991

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Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #98 on: May 23, 2009, 01:53:16 AM »
Ok then. You'll have at least a few from me. If I can find the documents they were in.
Grutch:  Careful, someone I know on a forum I visit works for Sony.  He says they aren't to be trusted.

Hail! to the victors valiant
Hail! to the conqu'ring heroes
Hail! Hail! to Michigan
The leaders and best!

10-2

Offline der Hurenwiebel

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Re: Wanted: book reviews for the Library!
« Reply #99 on: August 11, 2009, 05:45:33 PM »
If you don't mind I'd like to reveiw the series, A dream of eagles starting with the Skystone.

Jack Whyte, the cover has the sentence on it stating, "Before Camelot, there was a dream", and indeed of all the tales I've ever read about the arthurian mythos this is the most realistically presented I've yet read.  Including Cornwell's series. 
     The series begins some time before the fall of the roman west, and britain is fully under the govornance of Rome.  In the telling of these tales you get a sense of a fairly modern mindset in the part of the roman's themselves  In a way this is intentional as they were quite sophisticated and humanist at that time. 
Not to reveal too much about the story It starts with the relationship between two characters Publius Varrus a descendant of the disgraced general Varrus of the Teutoburg wald.  And who also is his legion's primus pilus, and who's family business to which he'll return once his military service is up is Blacksmithing.  The other main character is Caius Britannicus, the Legate of the twentieth legion stationed in Bitain.  Caius is a patrician and a bit of an anachronism for his day in that he believes in the old discipline, of the legions that built rome as well as the disciplined application of the new tactics of the late imperium as we would call it.
     The stories in the series are meticulously researched and care is taken to have the fiction mesh with real world events in an almost seamless manner.  In short this book series is reenactor porn.
    Regarding the plot line and story arc, imagine if you will a late Roman general who during his service comes to the conclusion that too many systemic problems exist within the governance of the empire so he becomes a survivalist, enlisting his RSM to join his little colony near modern Ilchester.  During the course of setting up this little colony, the characters inadvertantly start a long lasting feud with another powerful roman family.  The personal motivations are believable, the relationship connections are gripping and the history fits with the tale.
Te series chronology is thus, the skystone, the singing sword, the Eagle's Brood, the fort at river's bend, metamorphosis, (both under the subtitle Sorcerer), Uther, Clothar the Frank, The Eagle. 


All in all I'd give the 8 book series 4.5 great cannons out of 5

I think the book series would make for a great TV series, a la Rome HBO.

"DEfighter wrote:
Hey, trolls stay the hell out, this is a serious thread. Empire are cheese. 2 steam tanks, a war altar and 4 cannons is so obviously overpowered. Anyone who thinks otherwise clearly hasn't had their dragon shot down on turn 1 yet."

oh really now.  LOL ROFLMAO oh the irony.