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The Heretic Land [Paperback]

Tim Lebbon
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 Aug 2012

Arrested by the Ald, scholar Bon Ugane and merwoman Leki Borle find themselves on a prison ship bound for the island of Skythe - a barren land and the site of long-ago wars.

Warped and ruined by the ancient conflict, survival on the island is tough and its original inhabitants are neither friendly nor entirely still human. But something else waits on the island, a living weapon whose very existence is a heresy. Destroyed many years ago, it silently begins to clutch at life once more.

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The Heretic Land + Echo City + Dusk
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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit (2 Aug 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841499382
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841499383
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.6 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 583,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Smartly-written and briskly-paced, The Heretic Land is one half prison break, one half war story. The combination makes for an entertaining read, and Lebbon successfully stuffs his dark fantasy island with inventive and incredible ideas (SFX)

Lebbon has created a startlingly authentic world, a parallel universe in which the lineaments of our equally strange reality - its creatures, its mysteries, its brooding religions - stand out in stark relief (DAILY MAIL)

Book Description

A brand-new dark fantasy novel from New York Times-bestselling author Tim Lebbon

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dangerous Worlds.... 31 Dec 2012
My brother bought me this book for Xmas, and I read it over the next few days. Am not going to go into the main characters and plots, but suffice to say if you like science fantasy dark and gritty then this book is for you. I tried to compare this writer to others in the same genre but failed at this. Tim Lebanon has his own style and voice, and I have just purchased 2 more books by him on the strength of this excellent read. Give him a try you will not be disappointed!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lean and Mean 18 Oct 2012
Great fun- Lebbon has taken what he did brilliantly with Echo City and crafted a horror thriller which works as an edge of your seat chase story, with gods, super soldiers, engines, assassins, giant underwater monsters and lots and lots of violence.

All of this is written brilliantly too- it never feels gratuitous and the plot whips along at a good pace.

To my mind, this is even better than Echo City- and that was a great book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't stand out for me 6 Aug 2012
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition
I love a good fantasy tale so when you get one that blends elements that should make a cracking story, I'm a reader that tends to get annoyed if I feel unfilled. Whilst part of this book had feelings that were reminiscent of Steven Eriksons Chained God, others brought a feeling of Chateau D'If from the Count of Monte Cristo. Add to this some monsters and an enclosed population and all in it should have been something spectacular.

Sadly for me I felt it that the principle character wasn't as defined as he could have been, he didn't move me into really caring for his fate and when the other elements started to come together it left me thinking that it was a mishmash of things I've seen before. Don't get me wrong, the concept was solid and of course the prose was decent but overall due to these failings, it isn't a title that for me stood out against the masses out there.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, but... 9 Jan 2013
By Brian A. Wimpey - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
My taste in fantasy is catholic, ranging from the classic fantasy of Lord of The Rings to the surreality of China Mieville. Among others, I have devoured the works of Roger Zelazny, Steven Erikson, Joe Abercrombie, Robin Hobb and Patrick Rothfuss, savored Le Guin's Wizard of Earthsea, wondered what the fuss is about regarding Locke Lamora, failed to understand Scott Bakker, fallen in and out of love with Martin's Songs of Ice and Fire, and left Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time to grind inexorably onward without me.

Regardless of the type of fantasy, however, I have always sought out stories that engender `a sense of wonder' and The Heretic Land provides that in spades, even if the senses are a little dulled by the dark and macabre nature of the author's vision.

The story is set against the backdrop of a war between the nations of Alderia and Skythe which culminated in the annihilation of the latter six hundred years in the past. During that brief and one sided war, Alderia scoured the island of Skythe with magic `engines' that twisted the land, warped the human inhabitants and created bizarre beings. To add insult to injury, the Alderians have since been using Skythe as a dumping ground for criminals, heretics and other undesirables.

As the novel opens, Bon (the protagonist and a heretic) is aboard a ship en route to exile on Skythe in the company of fellow political prisoners. Skythe is considered so dangerous that the prison transport ships do not make landfall and the jailors throw the exiles into the inimical sea some way from shore. Fortunately, during the brief voyage, Bon befriends an amphibious woman, Leki, and she shepherds him through the horrifying dangers of the sea until they are rescued by Juda, an Alderian living on Skythe, for his own purposes.

(Spoiler ahead)

The stories of Bon, Leki, Judan and others you meet along the way are fascinating and intricate, but to my mind, secondary to the underlying theme. Literally, (but not immediately obvious) the story is about a struggle between two ancient beings (gods?) represented by Skythe and Alderia, and the actions of the protagonist, fellow travelers and antagonists are almost irrelevant to the tragedy that plays out.

But don't let that put you off. Although the story is dark, visceral, and in some cases, macabre, Tim Lebbon is a gifted author and his world building is several rungs above most fantasists. For instance, during Bon's short voyage to Skythe and his subsequent frantic swim to shore, Lebbon artfully reveals his world, furnishing glimpses of the bizarre and fantastic creatures that inhabit it.

If you like China Mieville, and perhaps more pertinently, Alan Campbell's Sea of Ghosts, give The Heretic Land a go. If you like happy endings or a story that ties everything up neatly, avoid this novel.

Finally, I refrained from rating this novel five stars because, despite the literate nature of the work and the abundance of wonder, I failed to connect with any of the characters. Whether this is a failing on my part, or the result of the irrelevance of the characters to the underlying story, I leave to future readers to discover.
5.0 out of 5 stars tim lebbon 28 July 2013
By robyn moran - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
i find tim lebbon to be one of the most fascinating authors have have been lucky enough to have read would recommend him to all who enjoy a book that cant be put down
2.0 out of 5 stars Peter RV 12 May 2013
By Medieval Mystery Buff - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
He my be a good writer, but did not suit my taste. I have trouble visualizing things like the "engine" as the description was vague. The story line had potential but seemed to go of the rails in places and left me confused.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Want Some Cheese? 30 Oct 2012
By smitty jones - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is good but I dont think it is as good as his Noreela books. The characters in the book are really good, and well rounded. The background information for them is perfectly delivered. Their are a couple of plot twists that you wont see coming and i thought they way he pulled the off was perfect. I had some issues with the pacing but it did not have an impact on my enjoyment of the book. The writer has created everything in the book, and does not rely or fall on the clilches that have become common in fantasy today.
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