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The Oathbreaker's Shadow (Knots 1) [Paperback]

Amy McCulloch
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
Price: £7.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Paperback, 22 May 2014 £7.99  

Book Description

22 May 2014 Knots 1

Fifteen-year-old Raim lives in a world where you tie a knot for every promise that you make. Break that promise and you are scarred for life, and cast out into the desert.

Raim has worn a simple knot around his wrist for as long as he can remember. No one knows where it came from, and which promise of his it symbolises, but he barely thinks about it at all - not since becoming the most promising young fighter ever to train for the elite Yun guard. But on the most important day of his life, when he binds his life to his best friend (and future king) Khareh, the string bursts into flames and sears a dark mark into his skin.

Scarred now as an oath-breaker, Raim has two options: run, or be killed.

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Frequently Bought Together

The Oathbreaker's Shadow (Knots 1) + The Shadow's Curse (Knots 2)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi Childrens (22 May 2014)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0552566365
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552566360
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 662,810 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"The Oathbreaker’s Shadow is a very promising debut in what bodes to be an electrifying duology." (Robin Hobb)

"Absolutely gripping" (Conn Iggulden)


The Oathbreaker's Shadow is a rare, rare thing; something new in fantasy. At last we've got a story without all the tropes of elves, ogres and knights but a high adventure inspired by Mongolia.

McCulloch's story is rich with life, real, vivid and utterly compelling.

" (Sarwat Chadda)

"Exotic lands, cool magic and high adventure - The Oathbreaker's Shadow has it all . . . the most compelling fantasy I've read in years" (Jonathan Stroud)

Book Description

An action-adventure fantasy by an exciting debut voice in the genre.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Knots Sequence book 1 7 July 2014
By Sarah (Feeling Fictional) TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition
Amy McCulloch has created a very interesting world where promises made have much higher consequences than we are used to. Promises are made by tying knots and if your break your word you are not only scarred for life but also followed around by a shadow that shows the whole world you are an oathbreaker. Oathbreaker's are ostracised by the rest of society and forced out into the desert alone as exiles. If they manage to survive the journey there is one place they can go but they will never be allowed to return to their friends or family again.

Raim has had a knot tied to his wrist for as long as he can remember but he has no knowledge of the promise that was made for him to receive it. Whatever it was the promise was made well before he came of age though so he is sure that nothing will come of it. All of his life Raim has wanted to become an elite soldier and join the Yun, he has trained continuously and now that he is about to turn 16 he must face the final challenge to be accepted as one of their warriors. When Raim makes a special promise to his best friend, prince Khareh, it causes the unthinkable - the knot on his wrist bursts into flames and the scars that form show the world that Raim is an oathbreaker. He only has two choices: stay and risk execution or run in the hope of finding a way to clear his name.

I really enjoyed the world building, Amy McCulloch has such a descriptive writing style that I could almost see events playing out in front of my eyes like I was watching a movie. You almost feel the heat of the desert and Raim's desperation as he is forced to leave everything he has ever known behind him. As much as I loved the world I do think there were times when the story was bogged down in so much detail that the plot suffered for it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Few Problems, but Ultimately a Good Book 19 Jun 2013
By Ginny
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
See my review of this book, and many more, at

In Raim's world the words "I promise" are not to be taken lightly. For every promise you make a knot is created that binds you to your word. Breaking that word causes the knot to burn a scar into your skin, labelling you an oathbreaker. Scorn, hatred, and exile will become your life.

It should have been the best day of his life: Raim had just passed the last fight to become a Yun, an honoured warrior, and made a sacred vow to his best friend and Crown Prince, Khareh, until the knot on his wrist bust into flames. It had been with him for as long as he can remember - but he had no idea what the promise was. Running for his life across the desert, haunted by a spectre of Khareh, Raim is determined to discover the origins of his knot and clear his name.

The concept of knot binding for promises is a compelling one. The act of making a promise to another is taken with deathly seriousness, and the stigma surrounding an oathbreaker is ingrained throughout almost all the societies, but to make it worse they are be haunted by an image of the person they betrayed as a constant reminder of their mistake. Raim struggles with being labelled as a traitor and worse, tormented by the belief that he has done nothing to deserve it, and his painful journey arose the desert is one of the best parts of the book.

Although the friendship between Raim and Wabi was thoroughly enjoyable and progressed at a realistic pace, that could lead to a sweet romance in further books, certain situations towards the end gave the impression that Wabi was being used in the typical damsel in distress role in order for Raim to be the hero.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great First Novel! Great Start To A Series! 16 Jun 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
From the minute I picked this book up, I knew I wouldn't want to put it down. From start to finish, you can see the planning and work that has gone into making this book a work of art. Cannot wait for the next one to find out :what happens next?
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE OATHBREAKER'S SHADOW 6 Jun 2013
By mfu_11
THE OATHBREAKER'S SHADOW is an exciting YA fantasy adventure set in a vivid and fascinating world.
I loved the magic in this novel - the knots and the shadows in particular. In Raim's world, to make a promise to someone is taken very seriously. So much so that knots are tied between two people to represent the pledge, and if it is broken, the oathbreaker is physically scarred. Once discovered, an oathbreaker is captured and killed, or banished to the desert. Not only that, but they are then haunted and constantly goaded by whoever they betrayed. Both the shadows and the knots are such fresh and unique elements. The imagination here is astonishing.
Raim is a fantastic character. He is confident and ambitious - training to be a Yun warrior and first choice as protector of the future Khan, Khareh. When Raim binds his life to Khareh's, he unknowingly breaks a vow he'd already made and becomes the very thing he loathes - an oathbreaker. Raim needs answers, and his only hope of staying alive is to run, so we're taken on an emotional journey across a harsh, yet beautiful, landscape.

I'd recommended THE OATHBREAKER'S SHADOW to fans of Zoë Marriott - rich fantasy, beautiful writing and exceptional world-building.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In the world of The Oathbreaker’s Shadow, breaking a promise has deadly consequences. Raim has always had a strange knot around his wrist, which means some kind of promise, but has no idea where it came from. But when the time comes for him to take up his position in the Yun guard and bind himself to Prince Khareh, the string catches fire and burns him, indicating the promise has been broken. Exiled and in danger, Raim must find out what that promise really meant, and who he betrayed without even realising.

I absolutely loved the premise, and the world McCulloch creates is far from a stereotypical medieval fantasy world. There’s just enough detail to really immerse you in the world and the totally unique take on magic was fascinating. When a person breaks a promise, they’re physically scarred and haunted by the shadow of the one they betrayed. Raim’s emotional journey really drew me in.

A compelling story told in beautiful prose and with a complex and intriguing world. I’d absolutely recommend this to any fans of immersive yet accessible high fantasy!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich setting and adventure
Review: In Dahran, promises are big things. When you make one, you make a knot, and the promise is sealed with magic. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Nina (Death Books and Tea)
4.0 out of 5 stars Some interesting ideas
This book contains some interesting ideas and I enjoyed reading it. I will buy the sequel if/when there is one.
Published 11 months ago by ChrisDB
4.0 out of 5 stars Great fantasy adventure
In the land of Darhan, making an oath binds you for life. Their promises are bound up in knots and carried with honour. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Curiosity Killed The Bookworm
5.0 out of 5 stars Really Enjoyable !
I really enjoyed this book. The story draws you and really entertains, Its So gripping I had to hide it at work, because otherwise i would have never got any work done ! Read more
Published 12 months ago by Magikmat
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is absolutely AMAZING
Amy McCulloch is now my favourite author. You MUST read this book no matter what age you are! I love it!
Published 14 months ago by Mr. D. A. Balmer
5.0 out of 5 stars Hugely enjoyable adventure
I'm a few years past being a YA ;-) but I'm a strong believer that if a story is well told then it's worth reading so I had no concerns over the YA tag but The Oathbreaker's Shadow... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Review from The Word Fiend
Rating: 7½

The fantasy genre was one of my first loves as a young reader - the amazing worlds and characters that the authors brought to life in my imagination were (and... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Shelagh
5.0 out of 5 stars Just flows off the page
Originally posted on
I was excited about this book from the first time I heard about it and I was really pleased it didn't let me down. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Serendipity Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Had me hooked from the very first page.
In Darhan, promises are everything. When you make a vow, it is bound by magic and tied into a promise knot, which you wear until the day you die. Read more
Published 16 months ago by ReadingAddict13
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