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Blood Song: Book 1 of Raven's Shadow Paperback – 4 Jul 2013

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Paperback, 4 Jul 2013

Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (4 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0356502473
  • ISBN-13: 978-0356502472
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 4.3 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (534 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 845,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anthony Ryan is the New York Times best selling author of the Raven's Shadow epic fantasy novels as well as the Slab City Blues science fiction series. He was born in Scotland in 1970 but spent much of his adult life living and working in London. After a long career in the British Civil Service he took up writing full time after the success of his first novel Blood Song, Book One of the Raven's Shadow trilogy. He has a degree in history, and his interests include art, science and the unending quest for the perfect pint of real ale. For news and general wittering about stuff he likes, check out Anthony's blog at:

Product Description


Blood Song is a tremendous debut . . . fast-paced, action-packed and character-driven (FANTASY BOOK CRITIC)

A top contender for most impressive debut of the year . . . Blood Song is a powerful epic that, while ending with a sense of closure, hints at more to come (SFFWORLD)

An utterly engrossing high-fantasy epic from a major new talent that explores themes of war, faith, and loyalty amidst incredible action scenes and artfully developed characters (BUZZFEED)

A mix of The Name of the Wind and The Left Hand of God . . . I cannot recommend this book enough (BESTFANTASYBOOKS.COM)

Blood Song delighted me again and again with its minty-fantasy freshness (FANTASY FACTION)

This is epic fantasy at its best with action, rivalries, espionage, the promise of future revelations and ever-present twists (BOOKBAG)

Smartly-written coming-of-age story . . . Compelling (SFX)

I still love - and want - that feeling of completely absorbing escapism that good fantasy can supply - and Blood Song brings it in force (PORNOKITSCH)

Ryan hits all the high notes of epic fantasy-a gritty setting, ancient magics, ruthless intrigue, divided loyalties, and bloody action (PUBLISHERS WEEKLY)

Well wrought characters, a fascinating world, and crackling prose . . . Not to be missed (KING OF THE NERDS)

Blood Song is a remarkable and wonderful book, and frankly, the best fantasy I have read all year (The Quillery)

Impressive world-building, fast-paced action and well-crafted characters (BOOKTOPIA BLOG)

Gripping, thrilling, intriguing and exciting (GULF NEWS)

Blood Song is unique . . . The next Epic Fantasy book everybody should read (Blotted Pages)

A new master storyteller has hit the scene (Michael J. Sullivan)

If you like your fantasy Rothfuss or Sanderson-style this is a great book for you. It's a meaty epic fantasy with a really strong main character. I was sucked in and definitely want to read the next one! (Felicia Day) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

From the publishers of David Gemmell, a powerful epic fantasy debut in that same tradition from an exciting new British talent

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

98 of 101 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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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER on 25 Jun 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
There's a lot to recommend about Anthony Ryan's Blood Song. In most respects it's a traditional fantasy novel that respects the genre's conventions, but's it's well-written and engaging and it has an interesting perspective that gives it a little bit of an edge and sets it apart from most works of this kind.

Even if the early part of the book seems to be fairly standard plotting, there's an underlying unease about the situation then that keeps you involved. This is as it should be since the "blood song" of the title is indeed a guiding sense of warning that keeps the young Vaelin Al Sorna alive throughout the difficult years of his training as a warrior in the service of the Sixth Order, defenders of the Faith and the United Realm of King Janus. The first part of the book then goes through the standard template of apprenticeship, the honing of Vaelin's skills through tests and bonding with fellow warriors, but in addition to being well told, you do get a sense of other elements of the wider problems in and beyond the Realm that will undoubtedly come into play once we get to the world outside.

Even that seems fairly familiar territory, with war being on the horizon and conflict not only with foreign states, but also with Deniers of the Faith and from mysterious agencies that use the power of the Dark, Vaelin seeming to play a part in a Destiny that has been foretold in ancient books. It doesn't take too long however to recognise that it's not all peace, love and goodness under the rule of King Janus, that the expected divisions between the forces of Good and Evil aren't that clear and that Vaelin - known now as Hope Killer - might not even be on the side of Right.

It's this kind of touch that makes all the difference.
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58 of 64 people found the following review helpful By callum on 2 April 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
So, minding my own business, I was looking through the recommended section on my kindle and saw this for a few quid. As always I looked at the reviews, and immediately became suspicious. One bad review out of near a hundred good ones- but I took a gamble, and boy was I rewarded.

This is quite possibly one of the best opening novels I have ever read. My normal genre is fantasy, and as such I think I have quite high standards when it comes to these books- I haven't been this impressed with a first book since the farseer trilogy (Robin Hobb).

In terms of the book itself, there was something for me on every page. Not once did I become bored or frustrated with events, characters, story, or, well... anything! The pacing is extremely well done, as are the characters. Whilst it lacks the depth of detail in environments that I am used to with authors such as Hobb, the rest of the factors more than make up for this- character arcs are extremely well done, and I found myself thoroughly engrossed in the fate of almost everyone the book introduces to you.

Literally the only thing I found mildy off putting was initially the names were quite foreign- but this is something that I eventually liked anyway as it does perform the role of setting it slightly apart from standard lord-of-the-rings esque names for everything.

Believe the reviews, I have never been so grateful for taking a risk on a book- which is also minimised by the unbelievably cheap price I got it for. Brilliant read, and I cannot wait for the next book of what I hope is a long saga.
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