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The Scar-Crow Men: The Sword of Albion Trilogy Book 2 (Sword of Albion 2) Paperback – 28 Apr 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Press (28 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0593062515
  • ISBN-13: 978-0593062517
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 3.6 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 623,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A two-time winner of the prestigious British Fantasy Award, Mark has published his epic, imaginative novels in many countries around the world. He grew up in the mining community of the English Midlands, and was the first person in his family to go to university. After studying Economic History at Leeds, he became a successful journalist, writing for several of the UK's renowned national newspapers as well as contributing to magazines and TV.

When his first short story won Fear magazine's Best New Author award, he was snapped up by an agent and subsequently published his first novel, Underground, a supernatural thriller set in the coalfields of his youth. Quitting journalism to become a full-time author, he has written stories which have transcended genre boundaries, but is perhaps best known in the fantasy field.

Mark has also forged a parallel career as a screenwriter with many hours of produced work for British television. He is a senior writer for BBC Drama, and is also developing new shows for the UK and US.

An expert on British folklore and mythology, he has held several varied and colourful jobs, including independent record company boss, band manager, production line worker, engineer's 'mate', and media consultant.

Having travelled extensively around the world, he has now settled in a rambling house in the middle of a forest not far from where he was born.

Product Description

Review

Pulse-pounding...combined with references to myth and history, it's potent stuff. (LOCUS magazine)

Book Description

Swashbuckling adventure, authentic historical fiction and supernatural thrills come together in the new novel in Mark Chadbourn's genre-busting Swords of Albion series.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Pablo Cheesecake (The Eloquent Page) TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 29 April 2011
Format: Paperback
Alone and on the run, Elizabethan England's greatest spy must defeat a dark and bloody plot. Or die...

The Scar Crow Men by Mark Chadbourn is the second novel in the Swords of Albion series. It sees the return of Will Swyfte, gentleman spy, and his ongoing battle with the dark forces that threaten Great Britain during the reign of Elizabeth the First.

Two years have passed since the events in the first novel and Swyfte is facing troubles both at home and abroad. Different factions vie for Elizabeth's favour and in the midst of all this political maneuvering one of Will closest friends is killed. While members of the royal household continue to plot and scheme the Unseelie Court, the Fay, have begun to tear down the magical defenses that protect all humans from their evil. They have unleashed the Scar Crow Men to help bring about a shift in power that will allow them control everything.

There are a couple of things that I think elevates Mark Chadbourn's writing beyond the norm.

He really knows how to set a scene, his descriptions of Elizabethan London are rich and vibrant. I was truly engrossed by the level of detail and found it all marvelously evocative. Nothing is sanitised in this version of the capital city, the streets are dirty and the houses are disease ridden hovels. There is a chapter involving an escape from a plague pit that is memorable for being particularly gross. That imagery is certainly going to stay with me for a while

Chadbourn also peppers his vivid landscape with many fantastic characters. Will Swyfte is a charismatic charmer and has the air of a real hero about him. Though only human, he will stop at nothing to rid the country of the threat of the Fay.
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Format: Paperback
Some might think a book set during Elizabethan times would have little relevance to contemporary culture. Yet, despite the setting and overt fantasy elements, The Scar-Crow Men is as much about our current political climate as it is about the fairies' Unseelie Court plotting retribution for their imprisoned queen.

The Scar-Crow Men is the second book in the Swords of Albion series by Mark Chadbourn, who is perhaps most famous for his break-out trilogy The Age of Misrule. The Swords of Albion series follows England's greatest spy, Will Swyfte, as he seeks to protect Queen and country against foes foreign and domestic, mundane or mystical. Although The Scar-Crow Men is the second in the series, knowledge of the first is not a prerequisite. Having missed the first book myself, I was easily able to follow the plot, and previous events were subtly revealed to the reader without cumbersome exposition that can otherwise kill a novel.

This time in The Scar-Crow Men, Will Swyfte is seeking revenge for the murder of his friend Christopher Marlowe (yes, the one who wrote Faustus), and uncovers a plot by the Unseelie Court that threatens to topple England itself. However, this time it is not just the faeries who are after Swyfte, but the whole of England, after he has been declared a traitor to the crown. The Scar-Crow Men is an edge-of-the-seat fantasy-thriller at its very best!

One of the greatest draws of this series is the seamless line between fact and fiction. Chadbourn weaves events and personalities of that time, such as Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Thomas Walsingam, to create a story that could almost be plausible if it were not for the strong fantasy elements.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Louis "LEC Book Reviews" on 6 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
Last year Mark Chadbourn introduced us to Will Swyfte, spy and adventurer-extraordinaire, his spy companions and their struggle for Queen and country against England's human and magical enemies. Swyfte is back in The Scar-Crow Men, a novel a tad darker than the first `Swords of Albion' novel, but also better. Swyfte is, like before, a joy to accompany as he fights continuously mounting perils, unravels twisted conspiracies and, yes, saves the day. In terms of historical fantasies, Chadbourn's books are quickly setting the bar for what defines high caliber fiction.

A return to Will Swyfte's world is welcome, though The Scar-Crow Men was a bit difficult for me to get into. Thrown directly into the thick of the action, there is very little time to orient oneself. Eventually the characters and certain other familiarities pulled me into the story to the extent that this second novel felt somewhat more gripping than its predecessor. This can perhaps be put down to the more sinister atmosphere of the novel which is at once more intriguing and thrilling.

More than one might expect, Chadbourn's books aren't just about fun spy stories in an Elizabethan setting. That would be great, mind, but what he offers the reader in his `Swords of Albion' books is those great spy stories, but coupled with some well fleshed-out characters that have a lot of chemistry in their interactions. In fact, this second novel provides remarkable insight into some of its characters' minds. The dark mood of the novel impacts the characters - Swyfte especially - and in turn this has affects how we as readers relate to them.

Also, The Scar-Crow Men has a more refined taste than The Sword of Albion, freed of some of the clichés of that novel.
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