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Winterbirth [Hardcover]

Brian Ruckley
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 Oct 2006
It is a godless world. An uneasy truce exists between the human clans and ancient races. But now the clan of the Black Road move south, and their arrival will herald a new age of war and chaos. Behind it all seems to be one man, Aeglyss, a man whose desire for power will only be sated when he has achieved his ultimate goal: immortality.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 564 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; First Edition edition (5 Oct 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841494232
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841494234
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 744,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Winterbirth is written with great assurance and tells a gripping story that builds to a grim climax. No one who enjoys heroic fantasy should miss this' - The Times 'An intriguing and imaginative story... particularly evocative' - Dreamwatch --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

A spectacular epic fantasy debut from a new British author destined to become a major new name in the field. --This text refers to the Perfect Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An elf by any other name... 17 Feb 2013
I like Brian Ruckley's writing style and I liked his last book 'The Edingurgh Dead' very much, so I was very much expecting to like this...and I did but I don't think I will be following the series to it's conclusion. From this you will gather I had a couple of problems with it which I shall explain.

Firstly Ruckley's world is completely bewildering as he invents it from the floor I admire the ambition in this but I am not sure it always helps. Lets take the Kyrinin. These are wood dwelling humanoids (though of a differing race to man)who are able to move silently, are very graceful and are experts with spear and bow..Look their elves! why not just call them elves and have done with it, we then have a reference point we know in place. I get the desire to build your own world and not be accused of borrowing from Tolkien, Fiest et al but when the world you then do create is essentially the universal D&D world we all know and love why bewilder us with a load of new names for things.

Likewise the names of the characters 'Gryvan oc Haig' 'Kanin nan Horin-Gyre' they don't exactly trip off the tongue and it was a good third in before I had sorted who was who and what sides they were on! Again I get that authors may have their little self created world in their heads but very few manage to make it a graphic and 3D landscape which you are able to immerse yourself in. That was what made LOTR so great. Likewise China Mielville's 'Perdido' world, reading those books was to leave planet earth for a while. For most authors I would rather they worry about plot, dialogue and character development. Get this right and the lead character can be called Tom, Dick. Bob or Harry and the quest take place in Croyden as far as I am concerned.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great tale from new author 27 Aug 2006
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Arriving in the post with advertising that said "combines the epic scope of David Gemmell with the political human drama of George RR Martin"; this novel had a lot to live up to. Not only that but it was promoted with additional material stating that it would be enjoyed by fans of Robert Jordan, Bernard Cornwell and Steven Pressfield.

With so many big names on the material connected to the novel it put my back up to start with. Not that there's anything wrong with press like this but I reserve my judgement until I've read the piece rather than believe the hype that publishers tend to add to this sort of thing.

So, whilst this may sound like I'm on a negative vibe to start off with, I just thought that I'd clarify my position before getting into the novel. I'm not the sort of guy that's easily impressed with titles.

However that said, I have to admit that I did enjoy this novel, although the first 20-30 pages read a little on the clunky side the novel picked up quite sharply after that and became something that I enjoyed sitting down to read. Although I would say that the use of Jordan's name isn't something that I think is favourable. This author actually seems to have an idea as to where he's going with a definite plot and strong characters that don't conform to the stereotype presented by other authors.

They have a realistic 3d presence with subtle nuances that strike a chord with the reader. A hard trick to learn and an even harder one to pull off well. The tale moves along at its own pace which keeps the reader wondering what's going to happen and with the guerrilla war being fought within the pages the readership will be greatly split as to which side they wish to route for.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent debut! 16 Feb 2007
Well, 2006 is turning out to be the year of the hot debuts. Hal Duncan, Naomi Novik, Scott Lynch, Joel Shepherd, Joe Abercrombie, and now Brian Ruckley. In any other year, Winterbirth would undoubtedly be considered the best fantasy debut. But this year, the opening chapter of The Godless World trilogy must share the spotlight with powerhouses such as Vellum, The Lies of Locke Lamora, and a bunch of other spectacular debuts. Such is the quality of this year's new talent. . .

I learned about Winterbirth while browsing through the various threads on Some readers there opined that fans of George R. R. Martin would probably enjoy this one. Upon reflection, I agree with their assessment. Yet I wish to clarify one thing: Winterbirth is nothing like A Song of Ice and Fire in terms of story. In style and tone, however, Winterbirth is similar to Martin's series. It's a dark and gritty fantasy; don't expect humour and bantering dialogues in this novel. And not unlike GRRM, Ruckley is not averse to killing off his characters.

This book is a fine example of good worldbuilding, even though we only catch a glimpse in this first volume. Still, the author provides many hints which indicate that this universe has a lot more depth. A past not yet buried offers a few fascinating glimpses which truly piqued my curiosity. The dissension among the True Bloods was a bit predictable at times, though.

I enjoyed the way magic is subdued to some extent -- again very similar to the manner with which Martin portrays it. The na'kyrim resemble Katherine Kurtz's Deryni in many ways. The storylines involving the Bloods of the Black Road and the Inkallim were my favourites.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Winterbirth
It's not a bad book, I bought it ages ago in hardback in one of those offers. I started to read it and got into it straight away - so I got it on my Kindle. Read more
Published 11 months ago by JSL
2.0 out of 5 stars Where am I?
I cannot remember the last time I started a book and didn't finish it.

Correction, I can. And this is that time. Read more
Published 21 months ago by J. Stocks
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as bad as all that!
I feel a lot of people are being harsh, so I gave it an extra star (compared to some of the books out there averaging 4+ stars, this one isn't any worse!). Read more
Published on 8 Sep 2011 by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid but flawed and confusing debut
It's the mark of a good book for me if I can't put it down. Give me George R R Martin's books - even a second time round - and I can't put them down until each one is finished. Read more
Published on 18 July 2011 by MrGrumpie
2.0 out of 5 stars A let down
I'd like to say that I read some of the negative reviews on hrer and I chose to ignore them and buy the book anyway. I think that was a big mistake on my part. Read more
Published on 22 May 2011 by Daniel Skelton
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and clunky
Fantasy is my favourite genre and I've read a lot. There were some good points in this work but some really fatal flaws, in my opinion, let it down. Read more
Published on 12 Sep 2010 by Dr. C. Forester
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good debut
I liked this book, the first of the serie is very good, the level goes down a little bit in the following books. Overall very entertaining..
Published on 20 Jun 2010 by Zar Mostovoi
5.0 out of 5 stars a brilliant original and brutally realistic fantasy story!
Ruckley has obviously gone for the magic is rare 'Tolkien, terry brooks' style rather than the magic is everything 'Rowling, Trudi Canavan' style. Read more
Published on 17 April 2009 by Lou
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid debut
Admittedly, I've come late to this party. Winterbirth, Book 1 of The Godless World Trilogy, was released at the end of 2006 and picked up some good press that put Ruckley firmly in... Read more
Published on 17 Mar 2008 by A. Whitehead
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Start but can get better
I started into this book twice before I got into the story, once in there I enjoyed the read, it isn't as dynamic as some other new authors hitting the scene at the moment and the... Read more
Published on 6 Mar 2008 by Mr. M. Regan
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