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Return of the Ancients: The Valkeryn Chronicles Book 1 [Paperback]

Greig Beck
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 April 2012
Arnold Singer is just like any other fifteen-year-old boy growing up in the suburbs - average height, average looks. The love of his life thinks he's a geek ... that is if she notices him at all. Pretty normal, and pretty boring, really. But this normal life is about to change forever. On a school science trip to watch the test firing of a new particle accelerator, Arn is caught up in an accident that propels him into an extraordinary new world. In this new land, Arn is the last human alive. It is populated with mysterious and bloodthirsty creatures, some of whom want him dead, while others see him as their only hope for survival. Can Arn survive in a hostile world and save his new friends? Or has he arrived in time to witness the fall of a mighty empire? An epic tale of love, betrayal and war in a world both familiar and terrifying.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Momentum (2 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1743340273
  • ISBN-13: 978-1743340271
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 966,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Greig Beck is an Australian author residing in Sydney with his wife, son and oversized black German Shepherd. "Beneath the Dark Ice" was Greig's first novel, now published internationally, and available soon on Audio format.

Greig grew up spending his days surfing on Bondi Beach before entering a career in Information technology which took him around the world. After completing an MBA, he was appointed both an Australasian director of a multinational software company, and tasked with setting up the USA arm of the organisation.

Today, Greig is still involved in IT, but spends most of his time writing... with plenty left over for his beloved surfing.

More information about Greig and his works can be found at www.greigbeck.com and he can be contacted at greig@greigbeck.com

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantansy/fiction 19 Feb 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Time travel, tunnels with slimy things hiding in the dark, desert wastelands with giant bleached bones, and then a land populated by creatures that have evolved to be the new rulers of Earth - where was the kitchen sink?

This is Greig Becks first foray into fiction/fantasy, and I'm glad to see he hasn't totally ignored all the things that make his books fun - some frightening elements, the humor, and the big action and adventure. The world Beck creates is one of wonder - from tiny vampire worms, to the giant forests, and also to the clues as to what happened to mankind and how the new `beings' evolved.

Arnold 'Arn' Singer is pulled into a black hole and hurtled into the future. The moon is closer now, and its light imbues him with the strength he needs to survive in a world that is deadly and beautiful. Two mighty races have evolved who are locked in an eternal war.

I loved the ruthless Colonel Marion Briggs who sends through some kick-ass Green Berets to bring Arn back - no spoilers, but I'll just say, not everything goes to plan!

Beck includes one more new element in this book that I adored... a budding (unrequited?) romance between Arn and the female Valkeryn Eilif - I know its going to make me sad in the end....but fingers crossed!

I loved this book - hope the next one in the series comes soon.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this fantasy story. The characters were good and the plot line was engaging. It somewhat reminded me of playing games workshop and the baddies were like the Warhammer Skaven. I'm looking foreword to the second book and others to come.
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5.0 out of 5 stars love Greg Beck 21 July 2013
By laljam
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is different Greg Beck but nevertheless it was still excellent read can't wait for the next book really enjoyed it
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely excellent, a rare find. 18 Sep 2012
By Shep
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I did not want this book to end but the author left it hanging at just the right time (as long as the sequel isn't too long in coming). I must admit that I was getting so used to Greig Becks earlier novels that I kept expecting Alex Hunter to appear (now that WOULD be good). Well written throughout with only a couple of minor errors that I could spot.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  34 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New sci-fi series by Greig Beck gets off to a good start 19 Aug 2012
By James Tepper - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"Return of the Ancients:The Valkeryn Chronicles 1" is the latest by Aussie author Greig Beck, who has attracted a considerable following with his Alex Hunter "Arcadian" series, currently at 3 novels and counting. Return of the Ancients is the first of a planned trilogy set in a post-human Earth of the far future. High School student Arn Singer is thrust into this future world through a rift in space-time created as the result of a prank played on him at an experimental particle accelerator that his class visits on school trip (Yes, I know that sounds pretty lame but trust me, it gets better from there).

The world of the future is mostly unrecognizable, and is dominated by centuries-old war between the Wolfen, large, intelligent lupine bipeds with Norse names and religious beliefs, and the Panterrans, harder to visualize and describe, but very smelly, evil and possibly descended from felines. Arn finds himself allied with the Wolfen, gets up close and personal with the Wolfen King's daughter, and searches for clues to what has happened to the human race. There are interludes back in the 20th century, that in combination with the title would suggest that we will be seeing some mixing of of the past and future in forthcoming books.

All of this is rather different from Beck's other, very successful military sci-fi/horror series, in that this one seems to be aimed squarely at the Young Adult market. The protagonist is a nerdy teen named Arnold, the language is squeaky clean, there is no sex and the violence and bloodshed is tame by comparison to the military mayhem in the Alex Hunter novels. Nothing wrong with YA fiction, and many adults, including this reviewer, enjoy YA fiction occasionally. However, I think the publishers (or author) might have indicated the target audience for this interesting series.

I'll be around for the second entry, whenever that comes out.

Recommended.

J.M. Tepper
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strangest genre mash-up I've seen in quite some time 13 April 2012
By Susan Tunis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I've been looking somewhat wistfully at Greig Beck's debut novel Beneath the Dark Ice for a few years now, but I'm an opportunistic reader. Why get hold of a book I don't already own when there are already several thousand books in my home, with more arriving daily? Therefore, when Beck's publisher offered me a review copy of his latest, even though the story didn't especially appeal, I thought, "Why not?"

Return of the Ancients opens with a group of college students on a field trip to visit Illinois' Fermilab. The protagonist of the tale is 17-year-old Arnold "Arn" Singer, who you'd never guess to be Shawnee Indian based upon his name (or, frankly, any element of his characterization). But his ethnicity and general intelligence make him unpopular enough to be the brunt of a stupid prank by dumb jocks. They lock him in a dark room, which turns out to be exactly the wrong place at the wrong time. Arne has been put in the path of the latest test firing of the lab's particle accelerator. The scientists discover him too late to prevent the firing, and when the proverbial dust clears, Arn is nowhere to be found.

That's because, he's been blasted (through a wormhole?) many millennia into the future. It's a post-apocalyptic world, filled with dangerous and scary creatures. And one peopled by non-human races living in something like a medieval society. The first race he encounters (the Panterrans) look distinctly monster-like want to read his entrails. Therefore, it's no surprise the race of upright wolves (the Wolfen) seem pretty fantastic by comparison. Here, what started as a science fiction creature feature veers into epic fantasy and (?) Wagnerian opera! Yes, the Wolfen make frequent references to Odin and Loki, and dream of dying and battle and going to Valhalla. How their culture is somehow based on Norse mythology (of all things) is never even slightly explained.

Now, as far as I can tell, this novel is being marketed entirely as adult fiction. And the barrier between adult fiction and YA has become highly permeable in recent years. But this novel doesn't read like a story that could go either way, it reads like very young YA fiction; therefore, I can't figure out why it isn't being marketed as such. As for me, I read plenty of YA fiction, and have nothing against a story on that basis, but I do think that it's a good idea to let readers know what to expect.

Other than this discrepancy, I had several other issues with the tale, some of which are alluded to above. While clearly this isn't a character study, character development overall is superficial at best. By the novel's end, several characters do, indeed, go to Valhalla, and it was difficult to muster up the emotion to really care. Certain elements of the plot are handled somewhat superficially as well--though I may be premature in that criticism. This is merely the first book in a trilogy, so there is more yet to be discovered. And it must be admitted that Beck does a good job of salting unanswered questions throughout the tale to make readers want to come back for more. Beck also follows the unfortunate trend of ending the first novel of his trilogy on multiple cliffhangers with very little resolution of any kind. As a reader, this merely pisses me off. The other big complaint I have is that this story is neither fish nor fowl. Is it science fiction? Is it epic fantasy? I realize that many books cross any number of genres, but they do so a hell of a lot more gracefully than this one does.

Now that I've gotten my grump on, let's discuss what Beck gets right. This is a fast read, and the story moves quickly. He certainly surprised me with the direction the story took. Many of the characters were appealing, and overall, the story went down easily enough. I could see all the faults mentioned above as I was reading it; nonetheless, the actual reading experience wasn't unpleasant. Beck has a vivid imagination and has a lot of fun with his world building. And as strange as they were, the Norse mythological references were plenty amusing. My favorite was the enormous cave millipede monster called Jormungandr, after the world-encircling serpent of Norse myth.

Will I continue this trilogy? It's unlikely. I'm just not the right target reader. However, never say never. If the publisher delivers it to my Kindle (though why he would after this review is a mystery), who knows? I tend to read what's in front of me, and I certainly didn't hate this. What I will also say is that I'm still interested in reading Beneath the Dark Ice, which I'm convinced is much more my cup of tea. So, criticisms aside, I'm not writing off Greig Beck. I'll just be more selective in which of his books I read.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wow 11 Dec 2012
By ruffy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Arnold Singer is just like any other fifteen-year-old boy growing up in the suburbs - average height, average looks. The love of his life thinks he's a geek ... that is if she notices him at all. Pretty normal, and pretty boring, really.

On a school science trip to watch the test firing of a new particle accelerator, Arn is caught up in an accident that propels him into an extraordinary new world.

In this new land, Arn is the last human alive. It is populated with mysterious and bloodthirsty creatures, some of whom want him dead, while others see him as their only hope for survival.

Can Arn survive in a hostile world and save his new friends? Or has he arrived in time to witness the fall of a mighty empire?

An epic tale of love, betrayal and war in a world both familiar and terrifying.

This is a perfect Y/A book. It has all the elements of a good read. Suspense, mystery, teen romance and good fight scenes. Of course they had to end in a cliff hanger.

I am sure looking forward to the next book. Greig Beck is becoming one of my very favorite authors. This is a stand alone book.

It doesn't disappoint.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting Adventure 21 July 2012
By Angelya - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Arnold Singer, or "Arn" to his friends, is thrown forward in time after an accident during a school trip to a government scientific facility. In this strange future world, humans have been replaced by the honourable Wolfen, an evolved species of dog. The Wolfen lands are under attack from the evil Panterran, an evolved race of cats. There are plenty of other horrors in this world, but Arn's quest to find out what happened to the human race and get home again is put on hold. War is coming.

I must admit that I've been judging this book by its cover. After only scanning the blurb, I thought it looked like an adult dystopian war story. Turns out I was quite wrong, although there is war involved. Let that be a lesson to me!

Arn doesn't seem in any particular hurry to get home again, but is happy to take up warrior training with the Wolfen and fight alongside them against the Panterran invaders. The "prophecy" of the future links up with what happened in Arn's proper time rather well - I often wonder about the actual events behind ancient legends, and Greig has taken this a step further by showing us events in both time periods.

The only thing that I found a little off-putting about this story was the romance between Arn and a Wolfen girl (no spoilers...). Why would she be attracted to him so quickly? He looks like a fur-less freak to most of the Wolfen! I know, love conquers all and all that, but... they are different species. I just found it slightly uncomfortable.

That aside, I really did enjoy reading this story and loved the way each race had its rulers, its ambitious underlings and its honourable warriors. I'll look forward to the next in the series.

Return of the Ancients is a fast-paced adventure with plenty of twists and turns. I'd recommend this story for those who love reading about adventure in strange lands, preparations for war and time travel.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Have to read! 7 April 2012
By S. Hansen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was soooooo good and difficult to put down. Greig Beck is a fabulous author. You must read his other books too. His writing style is great and so easy to picture and feel what you are reading. His imagination is great to come up with the creatures and places in his books. I can't say enough good things about his books and my husband and I can't wait for his next book to come out. His first book I believe was "Beneath The Dark Ice" and I got it on Amazon for free and I was then hooked on this author. Both my husband and I have written to him and he writes back immediately which is awesome that he takes the time to write back to us. His books are very inexpensive on Kindle and I highly recommend that you read his books, you won't be disappointed.
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