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The Steel Remains (Gollancz) Paperback – 9 Jul 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (9 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575084812
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575084810
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 127,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard Morgan is 39 and was, until his writing career took off, a tutor at Strathclyde University in the English Language Teaching division. He has travelled widely and lived in Spain and Istanbul. He is a fluent Spanish speaker.

Product Description


An epic tale of gods and magic, betrayal and survival . . . The Steel Remains will not disappoint. Morgan writes with an immediacy and frankness often hard to come by in fantasy, and his themes have great relevance to today's society. His portrayals of sex and violence are not for the squeamish reader, and his language is down-to-earth, but for those who prefer to have the sugar coating removed , THE STEEL REMAINS is a fantastic example of the modern fantasy genre. (WATERSTONE'S BOOKS QUARTERLY)

After five science-fiction novels that explored the seamier side of corporate machinations in grittily realised futures, Morgan turns his hand to classic fantasy. What remains constant is his flair for setting, complex political feuding, and strong characters forever on the outskirts of society. Ringil's character and his complex relations with those around him lift this novel far above the average. (Eric Brown THE GUARDIAN)

Morgan has taken traditional sword and sorcery tropes and given them a hard, contemporary kick. The antithesis of the cosy fairytale, this is one for big boys. (Lisa Tuttle THE TIMES)

"It compels you to read on with its gritty, visceral writing and intelligent plot. It's tense and fascinatingly peopled and given that the follow ups will doubtless be tremendous, you're encouraged to jump on from the start. Just, ahem, steel yourself." (Dave Bradley SFX)

"Richard Morgan's first foray into fantasy territory is, without a doubt, a grand success. Great characters in a great story are what drives all good books, and you get that here, with acres of bloody space for your imagination to gambol and play in. This is far, far better than any other fantasy you'll pick up this year." (Guy Haley DEATHRAY)

What raises the bar here from your run-of-the-mill fantastical hyper-narrative is the fact Morgan has written such a character-driven novel. All genres survive and thrive through reconfiguration and what Morgan has done with The Steel Remains is take a familiar template and rework it into something original, a novel that bends the traditional fantasy conventions to give a uniquely individual spin. Fast-paced and epically evocative. (James Jones GAYDAR NATION)

The Steel Remains is a dark, sometimes brutal tale that ably demonstrates why Morgan is one of the most adventurous fantasy writers around today. (Wayne Clews ATTITUDE)

The Steel Remains excels when Morgan steps back from the challenges to the reader, and the world-building, and really lets loose and has fun. Even at the bleakest moments in the book, the crisp, earthy dialogue between the characters never feels forced. Similarly, the action - sometimes quick and deadly, sometimes lavishly detailed - is always sleek, cinematic and brutal. Like rubber-necking at a collision of F1 cars. (PORNOKITSCH)

Dark, brooding, bloody, visceral and absolutely takes no prisoners. But the story it is telling is compelling, the characters are well-defined and the world throws up some refreshingly new ideas and concepts (THE WERTZONE)

Think 'The Dying Earth' with added barbarian badassery - this is some very superior genre-blending. Brutal fantasy fun. (SANDSTORM REVIEWS)

In a genre area currently filled with diamonds amongst the rough, it is one of the best books I've had the fortune to read this year. Those who know of Richard's SF, and like Fantasy, will be most impressed by The Steel Remains. There are going to be people who read this, not having read Richard's SF, who will be in for a shock. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. This was an eagerly awaited book which didn't let me down. Very highly recommended. (SFFWORLD.COM)

It's extremely good. Morgan is a gifted writer, and his gifts are lavishly on display here. The Steel Remains is a powerful turn-everything-up-to-eleven reading experience. It's the most impressive Fantasy novel I've read in a very long time: a big, brave, bollocks-out and often brilliant novel. It's not perfect, but it's a major novel for all that. I can't wait for vol 2. (Author of "Swiftly" ADAM ROBERTS)

"TSR would make an excellent introduction to Morgan's strengths as a writer of adrenaline-tinged, throught-provoking, memorable speculative fiction. An enjoyable, engrossing read." (Simon Petrie ANDROMEDA SPACEWAYS)

"A thoroughly entertaining read. If you're a fantasy fan (or fan of Richard Morgan's sci-fi work) then this is a book that you need to read this year. I'm already looking forward to the sequel!" (GRAEME'S FANTASY BOOK REVIEW)

Morgan has succeeded in keeping the scope and scale of the best in the genre, while making it more realistic through the introduction of more complex, fallible characters, with vices, doubts and fears (I wonder what Tolkein's Aragorn would make of Ringil). With his trademark hard-bitten, cynical characters, sex scenes that are more explicit than genre norms, and an effective, sparse writing style, Richard Morgan has really delivered the goods here. (BOOKGEEKS.CO.UK)

Since debut Altered Carbon, Richard Morgan has made a name for himself with taut science fiction thrillers; he now turns the same brutal energy to "fantasy noir". Our three protagonists are embittered, exiled, an embarrassment to the world they saved. They're dragged out of retirement to face a new threat, but the book's interest is as much in the psychology of these damaged, nostalgic veterans as in the gory action which ensues. Should appeal to both his fans and fantasy's. (Alex Sarll PRESS ASSOCIATION)

Bold, brutal, and making no compromises - Morgan doesn't so much twist the cliches of fantasy as take an axe to them. Then set them on fire. (Author of "The Blade Itself" JOE ABERCROMBIE)

A tautly-woven multi-layered fantasy tapestry with never-ending new discoveries and revelations, The Steel Remains kept me entranced and turning pages rapidly to learn the next new event or denouement. Author Richard Morgan truly delivers with this novel, which ought to appeal even to readers who don't usually pick up a story in the fantasy genre. I highly recommend this novel. (RAINBOW READS)

The characters are well drawn and detailed, and come complete with drug habits, taboo-breaking sex lives and shady pasts. It is a credit to Morgan that he makes such ¿warts-and-all¿ characters with all their attendant flaws so engaging, and he has a real knack for crafting believable dialogue. Fans of character driven, low-fantasy rejoice. Richard Morgan takes to the genre easily and rewards his readers with blood, sweat, tears and black humour. (Den Patrick DREAMWATCH TOTAL SCI-FI)

British novelist Richard K. Morgan, best known for his hardboiled science fiction (Altered Carbon, Broken Angels, Woken Furies, etc.) dips his toe into the fantasy genre with his new book The Steel Remains. Okay, he doesn't so much dip his toe as wade in tooth and claw swinging a broadsword. (SCIFI DIMENSIONS)

If you thought that the only thing missing from Lord of the Rings was some hot Aragorn and Legolas action, then The Steel Remains may be the book for you. Slaying dragons, saving worlds and sucking cock are all in a day¿s work for hero Gil Eskiath in this gripping sci-fi fantasy. Richard Morgan¿s first foray into fantasy has produced a stark, dark, brutalist vision. The characters themselves display a startling realism and depth that moves beyond the realms of fantasy. (THE PINK PAPER)

An explicit, eagerly awaited fantasy story that's full of brutality and grit. (MIDLANDS ZONE) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

This is fantasy - just harder, faster and bloodier.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By SJMatchett on 26 July 2010
Format: Paperback
If you are a fan of the likes of Steven Erikson and Joe Abercrombie then you will enjoy this `dark fantasy' title by Robert Morgan.

Many previous reviews have mentioned the graphic sex scenes, especially the gay scenes, so let's get that out of the way first then. The main character does work as a bitter and ostracised gay warrior, but I don't personally think that the main character, Ringil would have worked half as well if he was heterosexual. His very nature and mentality seems to be shaped on how he has been treated, so it works well. However had he been straight, it would be hard to have any sympathy for his callous attitude to sexual partners. In fact he would be very hard not to despise. The sexual scenes are a mix of all gender preferences and at times feel like pointless fillers, but there is only one real strong scene that might put off the homophobic readers, especially as it added very little to the plot.

The book is well written and the story fairly good, but it did feel like it should have been part of a series, with the ending seeming very rushed.

The other main characters seem to have little to do with the plot until the last hundred pages of the book, feeling a bit divorced from the main plotline until then. It is almost as if the story was edited very heavily and all the other main characters are sadly a bit disjointed from the main story as a result.

I'd be surprised if this isn't the start of a series as it was very enjoyable despite the points previously mentioned.

Well worth a read if you want something a bit more gritty in your fantasy genre reading.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By James Long on 8 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback
I'll be honest here: I didn't want to like this book. The huge hype that surrounded the novel (which has been discussed enough elsewhere), the really positive reviews, the fact that a sci-fi writer was attempting - or so it was suggested - to redefine the secondary-world fantasy genre...all of these made me hope that I didn't like the book. Perhaps that's rather petty, but it's the truth.

It only took me a few pages to realise that I was going to like The Steel Remains, whether I liked it or not.

Let me get something straight right now: The Steel Remains has not redefined the fantasy genre, it's not turned it upside down or set it alight. Yes, the violence is pretty brutal at times, there's plenty of swearing and some very full-on sex. But nothing that hasn't been done before. Well, except for maybe the sex. I wouldn't call these scenes gratuitous, but they are pretty intense. I must admit I actually found myself grinning like a naughty schoolboy when reading one of them, simply because it was so full-on. But that aside, I don't think there's much here that hasn't been done before in some shape or form. I would even go as far as questioning what the hell the hype was all about. I don't mean that in a negative way - just in the sense that by what was said, this novel was being made out to be the gritty (argh, that word again) fantasy novel to end all gritty fantasy novels. Which it's not. So, now that the hype issue has been kicked into touch, let's talk about the book itself.

As has been mentioned in other reviews, The Steel Remains is clearly driven by the characters. The undisputed star of the show is Ringil Eskiath, a former war-hero trading on past glories and living in something of a rut in a backwater village.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Nymia on 3 Aug. 2009
Format: Hardcover
I had a hard time deciding whether to give this book 3 or 4 stars. I eventually elected to give it three, because much as I loved Ringil who is a deserving five-star character, the story just wasn't enough to give it the final push to 4 stars.

Graphic sex scenes and extended combat descriptions do not put me off a book, unless badly written, and Richard Morgan is an experienced writer who is well able to handle these with aplomb. But I'm a girl who likes a beginning, a middle and a satisfactory ending in books, though I don't much mind in what order they occur as long as they are present. So much of The Steel Remains gave the impression that this is an epilogue, and the real story took place ten years before. Which would be an interesting plot device, were the previous story ever explained, but the "epilogue plot" itself struggles to demonstrate to the reader why this is more significant, and deserving of a book, than "what happened at Gallows Gap", and struggles to maintain the tension necessary to stimulate interest in the direction of the story - the "what happens next?" factor. There's plenty of scope to fill in the gaps in later novels though, so I can see that this is a good grounding for further books, but as a novel in its own right this just isn't strong enough.

Another reviewer has commented on the implausibility of the three lead characters meeting up at the end of the book, and I fear I have to agree - it's not really a likely coincidence, and jars slightly.

Now for the really really positive bit: Ringil. He really is the star of the show.
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