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The Dark Blood (The Long War) Hardcover – 3 Jul 2014

4.5 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Head of Zeus (3 July 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 178185226X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781852262
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 4.4 x 15.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 375,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'Like Martin crossed with Lovecraft.' Scifi Now.

'Interesting and enticing. Thrusts you towards the next instalment.' SFX.

'Sieges, catapults, battles, longswords, beheadings a-plenty, profanity and rather bloody mayhem. Brilliant.' SFFWorld.

About the Author

A. J. Smith spent twelve years devising The Long War cycle. When not living in the Lands of Ro, he works in secondary education.


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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Parm TOP 500 REVIEWER on 10 Oct. 2014
Format: Hardcover
Review

I was (am) a big fan of A J Smiths debut novel, while it’s not a perfect fantasy book, it was cleverly written (a little on the epic side) …well read my Review.

Writing a review for an author is also even more of a pleasure when you meet the author and you find out they are genuinely a really nice person. (if you get a chance to go to the next Goldsboro books Fantasy in the Court you really must)

So how does book 2 measure up? if I’m honest its significantly stronger than book 1, the author seems to have taken his licks from the book one reviews (and there were a few, a fair few uncalled for) but channeled the feedback and energy into a tremendous second book.

There is a significant clarification to the plot, the protagonists and the overall plot. What had in book one slowed the flow and i think led to confusion for some readers has been solidified into a much tighter defined intense story, answering many of the questions outstanding from book one.

I feel the author has been channeling his inner GRR Martin, the world and over all plot is wide-ranging, with a large cast, of which no character is safe. The characters are also on the real side, there are dark personalities, frailties, flaws, all of which making up real people, for me a very GRRM character building trait. Book 2 continues its narrowing of focus with the characters, giving a much more defined group for the reader to follow than book one, which was as much an intro into the authors mind and world building as it was telling the story.

As second books go it’s a great triumph of writing and shows there is much more to come from the new voice in fantasy.

(Parm)
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It's a good story with a gripping and compelling plot. However, I found myself (ever so) slightly disappointed that it didn't quite maintain the pace and novelty of the first in the series. Whereas the first one was young and vibrant, this one had settled into middle age and was a bit more pedestrian and predictable. I'm still looking forward to the third one but must admit to being slightly fearful that the decline may accelerate. That said, any book that includes the menacing Dark Young and sinister Seven Sisters (or however many remain) is still innovative enough to keep me reading.
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Format: Paperback
I could not put this book down! I got totally swept away with it. I found it better than the first book as the characters had been set up ready for this sequel. I found it was well written and the story arc was great, i cannot understand why this has not been made into a TV show! I love the fact that even the horrid characters are written from a sympathetic point of view and you can understand why they do what they do. Can't wait to read 'The Red Prince'!!
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I really loved every page of this great book. I was thought "The Black Guard" was great story-telling, and "The Dark Blood" was every bit as good. Each of the lands, their peoples and religions makes perfect sense, and events flow with great cumulative impact and logic. August - and "The Red Prince" cannot come soon enough.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I really liked the first part and this is a definite step up. Does what a great sequel should. Expands the world, shows you more of what was good and generally tightens everything up. There's a lot going on, but I didn't find a weak plot thread or anything, so it all gels really well.
Again, the world is awesome. Feels really natural and consistent. If anything, I think Mr Smith has got into his stride more. The writing is more confident and the descriptions feel effortless.

A warning: there is more of the same in terms of violence and profanity. I think it adds to the book personally.
If he continues getting better at this rate the next part will be a classic.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I loved this book. From the opening chapter i could see it would be a continuation of the brilliant first book. As a fan of Erikson, Gemmell, Jordan, Sanderson and more recently Anthony Ryan and Scott Lynch i really recommend you get this. Humour, pathos tension and excellent character development make this one of my top reads of the year. Perfect summer reading.
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5 stars for a fantastic well written enthralling book. Characters engage well and keep you wanting to read more. A. J. Smith has that special touch that makes the story flow well and keeps you engaged.
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For those having enjoyed A.J.Smith's debut The Black Guard (The Long War 1), here comes the second instalment, which is in my opinion comparably strong, even if by now somewhat more settled. The fronts in the long war now become clearer and some actions - which appeared somewhat puzzling in the first book - are more logical after the revelations in the second.

The balance tilts away from being very strongly focused on the human element of the world to also delving into the divine aspects of the Long War, with more players being brought to bear, and with interesting - if at times annoying - additions to the world being brought in.

The author also toys with some of the many protagonists and you never quite know how many, and in further consequence which will make it out of the book alive, and which not. This is definitely a strong element to keep you guessing and while he does not keep on constantly decimating the cast like George R.R. Martin, he also does not approach his characters in the happy go lucky manner of some lighter fantasy, where each and every one of the 'positive' ones is definitely a survivor en-route to a happy ending.

The focus is now also stronger on a handful of characters, while some others are left lingering in the background, possibly to be brought to the fore in the next volume; with some more or less completely new additions, too.

In any case, the book remains a very strong mix of Machiavellian plotting (even if not quite so wide ranging as in
...Read more ›
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