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Blood Song: Book 1 of Raven's Shadow Audio Download – Unabridged

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Product Description

We have fought battles that left more than a hundred corpses on the ground and not a word of it has ever been set down. The Order fights, but often it fights in shadow, without glory or reward. We have no banners.

Vaelin Al Sorna is the Sixth Order's newest recruit. Under their brutal training regime, he learns how to forge a blade, survive the wilds, and kill a man quickly and quietly - all in the name of protecting the Realm and the Faith. Now his skills will be put to the test.

War is coming. Vaelin must draw upon the very essence of his strength and cunning if he is to survive the coming conflict. Yet as the world teeters on the edge of chaos, Vaelin will learn that the truth can cut deeper than any sword.

©2013 Anthony Ryan (P)2013 Penguin Audio

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

117 of 121 people found the following review helpful By A. C. F. Guile on 12 April 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
You can get the gist of the story from other reviews here, I won't bore anyone with another summary.

What I will say is that I am a picky so-and-so and, as an example, I recently read Mark Charon Newton's first book (Nights of Viljamur)- didn't like it (dull characters and too many quotes lifted directly from 'The God Delusion', etc) despite other rave reviews, and have given up on various other traditionally published books over recent years despite the time, effort and money spent on publishing them. There was a time I would finish a book even if I found it dull or hated it, I can't do that these days. I just don't have the patience for bad writing or stories that I don't like or don't grip me.

This is self published and is the best fantasy read I have had this year - though Mark Lawrence's Prince & King of Thorns is a close second.

It's not all constant action, it's a slow burn novel (like Robin Hobb and others) but you're always kept interested and the depth of character achieved and the nature and strength of the bond between the 'brothers' is great stuff. There's plenty of intrigue and the authorial 'reveals' along the way as the story unfolds have been paced very well indeed.

Ok, there are a few typos (names spelt wrong and a coma or two missing ...IMHO) but those issues are irrelevent and I forgive the author 100%. This is an amazing effort and a fantastic story.

Thank you, Anthony you have given self publishing a good name!


EDIT - I have the self published version. I see that Mr Ryan has quite rightly been picked up by a traditional publisher now. Quite right too. Well deserved. Comparison to David Gemmell though is something I don't understand. Ryan has his own voice. DG was indeed an Legend and while Ryan might quite enjoy the comparison, I think he stands up perfectly well on the strength of his own efforts.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By JPS TOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 April 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a rather superb piece of “heroic fantasy”, especially for a first novel, and it is indeed well worth the five stars that so many other reviewers have given it. It is not perfect, but then no book really is, and it all depends upon what is meant by “perfect” anyway! However, it has just about all the ingredients that make a piece of “heroic fantasy” outstanding: world-building, plot, characterisation, action, and talent in keeping the reader engaged.

The first quality of this book is the world-building, and the way it is done almost incidentally, in a seamless way as you read through the book.

You do not get “treated” with pages and pages of glossaries, because the author has accumulated so many characters and names of places that you would be simply lost and confused in the absence of such glossaries. You do however get a few maps: a general one at the beginning, and one blown up section of this general map that corresponds to each of the main parts of the story.

The story of Vaelin Al Sorna is told by one Lord Vernier, a historian and a noble of the Alpirian Empire and each part of the book begins with his account and comments on the events as told by Vaelin. However, each part is followed by a much longer piece that tells what really happened, as opposed to the rather “sanitised” version served by Vaelin to Lord Vernier. This is one of the tricks that keeps the reader engaged and interested all along, at least that is how it worked out for me as I looked out for (the many) discrepancies in the two tales.

The world in which the story is set is that of the Unified Realm, a northern continent made up of what were formally four kingdoms which one of the Kings forcefully unified a few decades before.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mr. T. Stacey on 30 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I won't bore anyone with another summary. I'm just here to point out a few of the reasons why I enjoyed this novel so much and to add my own 5 star rating to the masses.

> The Characters - No black and white heroes/villains or run down cliche's here. Just characters that are all too real, with their own unique personalities, world views and faults. And as they go through deep life experiences, they actually develop! For example, when we first met Nortah, I envisioned him being your typical spoilt, petty brat. Very quickly I was disspelled of that impression - by the end of the book, he was one of my favourite characters. People shouldn't be judged solely based on first impressions, and they can change.

> The Pace - Considering the first 300 or so pages are dedicated to the 'training' section, there are a surprising amount of significant moments, many of which foreshadow later events. It nevers gets boring. Mr Ryan finds a fine balance when building his carefully crafted world, never cramming too much information in, yet not leaving his readers hanging either. It kept my interest, left me wanting more.

> The Intrigue - So many mysteries, large and small, are scattered throughout this novel: from the reason Vaelin was given to the Sixth Order; The Witch's bastard, the One Who Waits, and many questions surroundings the plot and various characters goals and motivations. What I especially enjoy is the fact that many of the answers are within the text before the reveals! Mr Ryan has created a consistent world, where every action makes sense within the context of his world. Learn the rules, then pay close attention.

All in all, a fantastic debut and an excellent start to the Raven's Shadow Trilogy. I will certainly be purchasing the next book, 'Tower Lord'.
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