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Description

The Age of Kings is dead. And I have killed it.

Field Marshal Tamas' coup against his king sends corrupt aristocrats to the guillotine and brings bread to the starving. But it also provokes war in the Nine Nations, internal attacks by royalist fanatics and greedy scrambling for money and power by Tamas' supposed allies: the Church, workers' unions, and mercenary forces. Stretched to his limit, Tamas relies heavily on his few remaining powder mages, including the embittered Taniel, a brilliant marksman who also happens to be Tamas' estranged son, and Adamat, a retired police inspector whose loyalty will be tested to its limit.

Now, amid the chaos, a whispered rumour is spreading. A rumour about omens of death and destruction. Just old peasant legends about the gods returning to walk the Earth. No modern educated man believes that sort of thing.… But perhaps they should.

©2013 Brian McClellan (P)2013 Hachette Digital

Ce que les membres d'Audible en pensent

Notations

Global

  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Histoire

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Il n'y a pas encore de critique disponible pour ce titre.
Trier par :
  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joki
  • 08/02/2015

Intricate Yet Grounded

I've tended to avoid epic fantasy lately - typically, the investment of time and dreariness of the storylines can be daunting. But the unique set up, interesting world building, grounded and realistic characters, and intricate plot line had me completely hooked with Promise of Blood. The story is exceedingly well written and had me enthralled from the first scene.

Story: Adamat is a veteran police detective who finds himself on the doorstep of a coup - an overthrow of the monarchy. Field Marshall Tamas has led a revolution with his powerful powder mages but now must stabilize the situation in the City - especially with neighboring countries circling like vultures. His son, Taniel, resents his powerful but distant father but finds himself embroiled in the coup. And Nila, the laundress, will use all her wiles to protect a little boy, her noble employer's son, from execution. Together, they will find that Tamas' coup will have set far more into motion than either could ever have realized.

First off, this really is epic fantasy. I love that the feeling of a revolutionary era France was taken and woven into an intricate story featuring magic and Gods, guns and carriages. It could have really gone wrong but instead was a perfect complement of technology (guns), magic systems (from powder mages to "knacked"), and very intricate politics. The story starts very small, converges for a short time, and then explodes across the country as we follow the four main characters in their individual quests.

The characters were extremely well done. The interactions between Taniel and Poel, Adamat and SouSmith, Tamas and his generals/bodyguards were grounded, realistic, and fascinating. As well, the incredibly intricate plot that slowly builds and expands - starting with a coup but ending up being so much more, kept me intrigued. This isn't a simple story on any level - not the world building, characters, politics, diverse magic system, or plot. I am greatly looking forward to the next book in the series.

I listened to the audible version and the narrator did an excellent job with all the different characters.

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  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • 28/07/2013

Very enjoyable

Very well read, good choice of voices for the characters. On par with Joe Abercrombie.

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  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alex
  • 01/06/2013

Grim, different, stellar.

What made the experience of listening to Promise of Blood the most enjoyable?

The pacing of the story, and the way magic worked. The pacing was fast without racing ahead, and made for a tense yet enjoyable read. I kept on wanting to know what would happen next, and it was hard to put down.

What did you like best about this story?

I liked how all the different story lines were equally interesting, in their own ways. There wasn't ever a "Oh god, just get to the next chapter..." moment.

Which scene was your favorite?

Not gonna post spoilers in this.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The book made me excited, and some of the characters infuriated me (it was intended to be that way), but no overt emotional reaction.

Any additional comments?

an absolute stellar read. Christian Rodska does a good job keeping it interesting and at an understandable pace. Brian McClellan has done a wonderful job on his first novel. A great debut!

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  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Warwick
  • 26/01/2017

fantastic

great story. cool characters. interesting plot.

glad i picked this one up and keen to see where the story goes next

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Jefferson
  • 30/12/2015

"His squash soup was to die for."

Brian McClellan's Promise of Blood (2013), the first book in his heroic fantasy Powder Mage trilogy, begins with the summoning of middle-aged private eye Adamat to the royal palace in the city of Adopest (capitol of Adro). Middle-aged Field Marshal Tamas and his fellow "powder mages" have just staged a coup, assassinating the entire royal cabal of sorcerers so as to be able to execute the king and queen and most of the nobility, ostensibly because the king was about to sign an autonomy-ceding treaty with the Kez nation, and Tamas wants to hire Adamat to learn the meaning of a cryptic phrase uttered by the dying sorcerers: "Don't break Kresimir's promise." (According to the church, Kresimir is the god who summoned his nine sibling "saints" to found the Nine nations before departing to explore the universe.) Thus begins a page-turning, bloody, and at times fresh dark epic fantasy in the vein of Steven Erikson (but with less wit and imagination).

Tamas is trying to solidify his hold on power in Adro in the face of royalist resistance, Kez spies, and a traitor on his council. His son Taniel, bodyguarded by a mute "savage" girl of indeterminate age and mysterious magical powers, is trying to deal with the infidelity of his fiancee Vlora and with Tamas' seemingly cold use of him as an elite powder mage sniper. Adamat is trying to keep his family safe while working for Tamas and dealing with thuggish creditors and malevolent lords. And there is Nila, laundress for a duke's family when the coup hits and leaves her in charge of the five-year-old ducal/royal heir. McClellan rotates among these point of view characters through layers of perfidy, revelations about magic and gods, and lots of violence, from assassinations and boxing matches to sorcerous duels and desperate sieges involving fireballs and lightening bolts, guns and artillery, bayonets and swords, and razors and corkscrews.

Cool things in the book. Tamas' council members, a union leader, church arch-diocel, crime lord (represented by his eunuch spy-assassin), mercenary company owner (a woman), university vice-chancellor, and city reeve, are a varied bunch with varied agendas. Adamat's quest to discover the traitor among them introduces into the fantasy a hardboiled detective element (Adamat's "associate" is a hulking boxer). The charismatic and cheerful Lord of the Golden Chefs, Mihali, claims to be the incarnation of the god Adom (patron saint of Adro), but also says he escaped from an insane asylum by hiding himself in a huge cake. Whatever he is, he can make soul-healing gourmet fare out of thin air and a divine squash soup.

The fantasy world has three main kinds of magic: Privileged (sorcerers who reach into the Else to pull into the world and manipulate magic power of the five elements), Marked (mages who manipulate gunpowder so as to hit targets over a mile distant, push bullets around corners, and snort powder to heighten vitality and perception), and Knacked (low level types who have one gift, like eidetic memory or lie detection). Privilegeds and Markeds hate each other because they threaten each other's magical and political power. Witches, shamans, and super power immortals do other kinds of magic on the fringes of the Nine nations.

Unfortunately, much of the novel is disappointing. Characters regularly bare, clench, grind, or grit their teeth, a lazy way to express frustration that renders them too alike. Perhaps McClellan is striving too hard for gritty fantasy? (He also has Tamas' bodyguard Olem smoke cigarettes, tobacco being a new trend in Adro). Although some descriptions are fine ("The chalky, colored residue of sorcery covered the entire mountain like splatters of whitewash on the ground beneath a freshly painted fence") some are trite ("The man from the cloud was more beautiful than anyone Taniel had ever seen. His skin was perfect, his golden hair long and lustrous"). And cliches are common ("My son lies at death's door").

Certain words are puzzling. For some reason, a "geas" is a "gaes." Proper names are inconsistent, being exotic (Ka-poel, Sabon), familiar on a slant (Taniel/Daniel, Charlemund/Charlemagne), or European/Scandinavian (Henri, Jakob). Why call Adamat's boxer bodyguard SouSmith? And characters say "shit" and "damn" but nary an f-word. Instead, they say "pit" ("Shut the pit up!"). "Pit" also (usually) replaces "hell" ("Bloody pit!"). Why the pit is pit a bad word? The overuse of "pit" costs McClellan hardboiled cred, and the absence of the f-word and sex scenes makes the novel feel young adult, even though two of the three male point of view characters are around sixty.

The worst thing is that characters too often behave unbelievably or repugnantly. After catching Vlora in bed with a fop, Taniel nails her engagement ring to the guy's shoulder with a sword. When Taniel is preparing to assassinate his best friend from childhood, rather than reflect on their relationship he thinks about Vlora and himself. When he finally does recall his history with his friend, his only memory is when as boys they spied on the bathing Queen. Tamas ruins the career of a young mercenary officer (who's grown up in that mercenary army and feels total loyalty to his brothers in it) to get him into his own army. Although Tamas draws a line at executing noble children, he's caused so many other deaths that it nearly seems a moot point. Father and son often act like hot-tempered bullies.

The audiobook reader, Christian Rodska, is fine. His British accents are sensible (non RP dialects for rough characters), and his gravelly Tamas and arrogant arch-diocel are great, but his Chinesey accent for mountain monks, Russian accent for Lady Winceslav, and German accent for Androus, are odd for people of the same nation.

Although fans of hardboiled dark epic fantasy with elaborate magical systems would probably enjoy Promise of Blood, I can't bring myself to go on to the next book knowing there is a third waiting after that.

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  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Heisenberg
  • Heidelberg
  • 07/05/2017

Amazing book...

... definitely one of my all-time favourites! Some innovative new ideas, exciting and and just simply a lot of fun to read... I meant hear ;-)

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kunicross
  • München
  • 27/10/2016

Revolution and Magic

It's a quite interesting story and world, a bit like French revolution but with magic.
There are many interesting characters, much action and all in a kind of low-tec-steampunk world.

to keep it short - it's a fun and action rich story nothing too deep but I enjoyed it a lot.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nicklas Tank
  • 28/08/2016

Overall awesome

The story is truly addicting and binding. On top if that it is new. Not some story rewritten by dozens of authors in an ever repeating pattern. It makes the story hard to predict and truly breath taking.
Not to forget the simply awesome performance by Christian Rodska. I might end up giving an audio book a try simply because he is reading it.