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Dawnthief: Chronicles of the Raven 1 [Paperback]

James Barclay
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
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Book Description

13 Nov 2008 Chronicles of the Raven

Chronicles of the Raven: One


The Raven are an elite. Formed of six men and an elf, they're swords for hire in the wars that have torn their land apart. For years their only loyalty has been to themselves, and to their code.

But that time is coming to an end. The Wytch Lords have escaped and The Raven find themselves fighting for the Dark College of magic, on a mission which soon becomes a race for the secret location of Dawnthief. It's a spell - one created to end the world - and there's a danger that someone is going to use it . . .

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Dawnthief: Chronicles of the Raven 1 + Noonshade (Chronicles of the Raven 2) + Nightchild (Chronicles of the Raven 3)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; Reprint edition (13 Nov 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575082755
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575082755
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 188,320 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Barclay was born in Felixstowe, Suffolk, in 1965 and is the third of four children. He gained a BA (Hons) in Communication Studies in Sheffield before heading to London to train as an actor. With acting roles in short supply, he worked in marketing and advertising until 2004 when he became a full time author.

James is the creator of the two Raven trilogies: Chronicles of The Raven and Legends of The Raven, and the epic fantasy duology, The Ascendants of Estorea. Following that, he published the seventh and last Raven novel, Ravensoul. He has written two novellas, Light Stealer and Vault of Deeds. He is currently working on a new fantasy trilogy, the first of which, Once Walked With Gods was published in August 2010.

Away from fantasy, James is writing contemporary young adult fiction, and is collaborating on a TV drama, a comedy sketch show and a very British screenplay. James has recently begun acting again and has a role in a gritty Brit-pic called 'The Estate.' The film will premiere in October 2010.

For his sins, James is a lifelong supporter of Ipswich Town FC and still believes England will win the next major championship they play. He loves watching cricket, rugby, tennis and darts and indeed plays all these sports when he can. He's just not very good at any of them.

Beyond writing and acting, James spends as much time as possible with his son, Oscar, who was three in January 2010, his wife, Clare, and Mollie the Hungarian Vizsla. That's a dog to anyone not in the know. They all live in Teddington, Middlesex.

Product Description

Amazon Review

This energetic first fantasy novel is familiar in outline, but told with unusual intensity. "The Raven" is a group of seven mercenaries, just starting to lose their fighting edge, who reluctantly get hired by a mage from a college of magic with a nasty reputation for blood sacrifice. Their mission: to save the world from major bad guys called the Wytch Lords. These, defeated long ago at great cost, have escaped their sorcerous confinement and will be unstoppable once they've grown new bodies; meanwhile their teeming minions are already going to war. The only hope is Dawnthief, a lost super-spell which, if correctly cast, can zap even Wytch Lords--but make one mistake and the sun will never come up again. A typical fantasy-quest shopping list emerges: you need the dragon-guarded amulet to open the ancient mage's workshop to find the portal leading to the demon watching over the parchment with the spell, which itself requires three "catalyst" talismans hidden in difficult places. What makes Dawnthief a ripping yarn is Barclay's ruthless pace and lack of sentimentality. No character is too nice, innocent or important to die or suffer hideous tortures. The death toll is horrific, as are the many exotic ways of dying in this dangerous world. This is a breathless, action-crammed fantasy thriller. --David Langford --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A fantasy epic with the action of David Gemmell and the characterisation of Robin Hobb from a major British talent.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Restored my faith in Fantasy 15 Sep 2007
......after many years of reading sci-fi & fantasy, I abruptly tired of the "purple rain falling on the orange grass" or "I can't be the heir to the Sword of Garglebad, I'm just a stable-boy" and stopped looking at these genres for many years (Iain M Banks excepted).

I decided to give escapism another go recently, and after a completely false start with the execrable "Orcs" book (if ever a good idea went to waste...), I, purely by accident (first trip to a library for years), stumbled across these - sad to say, decided by not much more than "interesting cover!?".

I write this review now having read all 6 and although as many reviewers have said, they get better (characterisation, plot, pacing, etc) book by book, the fact of the matter is, I wouldn't have even read book 2 if this was poor.

What I loved about this book (series) :
- you're dropped straight in (figure out man! no screeds of exposition)
- the goodies ain't invincible (does Barclay get kicked out of the club for this - innocents & major characters die!!!)
- ooh-ya, ah-ya battles expertly described, putting you into the maelstrom (think start of saving private ryan, er, with swords)
- excellent humour (reminiscent of IM Banks IMHO)
- the people are real (they wind each other up, get upset, tired, have hopes etc)
- elves are in it, but forget the namby-pamby poetry and chiffon - these guys are psycho ninja killing machines! (later book to be fair)

Really - buy, beg, borrow, steal these - they are rip-roaring reads - but there is an intellectual & emotional maturity that is very satisfying indeed.

.......and no purple rain.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Fantasy 24 Nov 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The first James Barclay book I have read and I wasn't disappointed although I found it a bit tough going in the first couple of chapters - but I am glad I persevered. Hirad the lead character for me was down to earth, tough and driven and gave me a few chuckles now and then but can Denser be trusted? Read it to find out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not up to scratch 1 Sep 2011
I picked this up at the library because it had got on my radar somehow, but from the opening passages it was clear this wasn't going to survive comparison to some of the other names writing similar books--Gemmell, Abercrombie, Erikson. There is some interesting stuff here, but too much that is generic, bland or just badly written. To be fair, it might have seemed fresh in 1999, but since then we've seen much better. For a clue to what I mean, just look at the map...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book 27 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Recommended this series of books by fans of David Gemmell. Really glad I took that advice. Great story, strong characters, great plot and several books in the series. Couldn't ask for more. Enjoy.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovably unpretentious 28 Feb 2005
I like to read books that I think will change my life. At the end of the day, they're just books, so I generally return to normal quite quickly, except maybe with an increased desire to use 'whom' in the right context and semi-colons in the right place. But in that fashion I churn through Murakami and Orwell and Mervyn Peake, and hey, I love them- pretentious as my motives may be- and it's led me to all sorts of books that I wouldn't have picked up had I not been so, and I in turn loved them too- Ian M Banks, Raymond Carver, Bill Waterson. I think of myself as reasonably widely read. What leaves me at a loose end is fantasy. I mean, out-and-out pure fantasy- there's loads of it, but what's the point? Fantasy never overtly tries for relevancy (except with the obvious satires of Pratchett) settling instead for reccounting historic fables of a past we never had in some parralell universe, or whatever. I guess I was embarassed to approach a genre so determined to have no impact on the world, and more importantly, on me. I didn't feel like the effort was there. Fantasy is so formulaic- Demon Lord/ Dragon/two Demon Lords threaten humanity or some self-conciously multi-cultural society ('you can't have humans to captain ships, you must have a completely separate race of boat people!' Good one. [Disclaimer- this may never have happened in a fantasy novel, but it seems like it would]) and a group of people, possibly with some sort of Messiah-type killjoy in tow being all confused about his 'calling', have to save everything by doing stuff. Read more ›
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Action, Friendship, Wonder. 3 Dec 2000
By A Customer
Being in the workforce now, I am extremely picky about what I want to read and it was after much consideration that I thought to give "Dawnthief", written by a new author, a go.
Being a don't beat around the bush kind of person, this book is a stunning read.
- Gritty action where you fear for the characters. They DO die without mercy. - The spirit of The Raven shines and sheds new light on the term "Team". - No pages upon pages of description and emotional angst which you have to slog through. This is a "strictly essence only" story which don't waste your time. - Brings back the fantasy feel which has been quite jaded and lost (in innovation) in recent times and trend.
I, for one, am looking forward to see what would happen next.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The beginning of something wonderful
I make no secret of it. Mr Barclay is one of my favourite authors.
Balaia is a believable setting, it's not all sunshine and rainbows, but neither is it all doom and... Read more
Published 28 days ago by Mr. James A. Flinders
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting and engaging
I have to say I bought this because it spoke about ravens. Sadly no ravens in this book but it is about a band of men available for hire, called the Raven, and their adventures... Read more
Published 4 months ago by StarFishSwimmy
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant
best fantasy trilogy I have read in years. Took a bit of getting in to but once past page 80 I was hooked
Published 5 months ago by Mr. W. J. D. Murphy
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
This is one of my favourite series, and when I wanted to reread it, the local library had lost their copy of the first book. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Ellie Tucker
5.0 out of 5 stars Paul, Barton, Lincs
Enjoyed these stories, I found them easy to read, found myself identifiying with the plot and enjoying the up's and down's the author puts you through......
Published 9 months ago by Paul Wilton
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant series
I read these some years ago and had lost my copy of dawnthief so I finally got round to replacing the matching one!

I really do recommend this series. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Stargirlphotography
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary
In a genre so encumbered with half arsed and derivative writing, when you find an author that stands out it's a special joy. James Barclay is one such joy. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Jolyon M. Bain
1.0 out of 5 stars I've seen deeper and more entertaining puddles.
I must say I've never come across a fantasy book so far that read so much like a 'choose your own adventure'. Read more
Published on 2 Dec 2011 by beccajwp
4.0 out of 5 stars book review
Seems like a decent book,unusual in books of this type though,a hell of lot of main characters die.Well worth a read.
Published on 18 Nov 2011 by jim
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointment
I was quite disappointed about this title.

I saw a review in a literary magazine and then I read the ones online, all praises for it. Read more
Published on 29 April 2010 by Amazon Customer
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