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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dont read without reading book one.
The second novel in Mark's "Jack of Ravens" series and one that seemingly is getting nigh impossible to explain to a layman. That said its addictive, its adventurous and above all it does make perfect sense when you're reading the series even if you can explain it afterwards. LOL Extremely well written and a cracking adventure to be had within its pages. However you...
Published on 7 July 2008 by Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog

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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars feedback
I would not order from this person again, as it's been nearly five weeks and i still haven't received my item
Published on 28 Feb. 2011 by Danielle Curtis


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dont read without reading book one., 7 July 2008
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
The second novel in Mark's "Jack of Ravens" series and one that seemingly is getting nigh impossible to explain to a layman. That said its addictive, its adventurous and above all it does make perfect sense when you're reading the series even if you can explain it afterwards. LOL Extremely well written and a cracking adventure to be had within its pages. However you really do need to know Marks work and having read his previous releases I'm fairly up there with all the knowledge that is hinted at within this story's pages. If you're uninitiated however this really wont do much for you except leave you terribly confused and wondering what the hell is going on.

So if you have to read this book make sure you've at least read Jack of Ravens and you'll be fine although it's a shame to miss out a lot of the references and with the Battles within the pages coming down to war with the gods of numerous mythos then you can pretty much see that the third conclusive novel is going to be epic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A riot of myth and magic, 14 May 2008
Jack (Church) Churchill and his motley band of warriors, the Brothers and Sisters of Dragons, are cast into a fresh vortex of myth and legend where they must fight or be annihilated - according to the whims of various gods.

This is book two in a trilogy. And yes, I know: this is book eight in Chadbourn's on going sequence. Reading the previous seven volumes would probably be useful, but on this occasion I would venture to say that's far from essential: The Burning Man starts with both a forward and an extensive prologue of previous events. In addition, Mark Chadbourn does explain much of prior histories as the story progresses.

In essence The Burning Man is all about cosmic balance and the struggle of human beings to gain control of their own destiny, free from divine intervention, for good or for evil. To recount the plot itself would not only spoil things for the reader but also take almost as long as the book itself. I will just say that Chadbourn's heroes battle demons and spiders, humans and gods who are possessed by spider demons. The novel embraces the gods and peoples from just about every pantheon you care to name, from the myths and legends of Celtic, North American, Norse, Chinese, Egyptian and probably a few others I have forgotten in the melee.

The Burning Man is action packed and rushes onward at an unrelenting pace that allows scant time to draw breath between each fresh intrigue. Jack and company fight their enemies with gritty determination. They also fight not only amongst themselves but on occasion even their own selves; with as many love affairs as there are grudge matches between the erstwhile companions. Of course as befits the middle of a trilogy, The Burning Man ends on a cliff edge ready for the final volume, but it's none the worse for that. The novel is complex and compelling and there is one thing you should never do when reading this book: do not blink or you will miss some tiny and vital clue along the way! Sound confusing? It should be in theory, but being so skilfully written its multi-stranded complexity never detracts from an enthralling story. First rate. Highly recommended.
--- Jan Edwards
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No review can do this book justice, 27 May 2008
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Read Me (West Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
Church returns with his Brothers and Sisters of Dragons to find a way to beat the Void and return humanity to the world it should have. Reuniting the groups from both previous trilogies means that everyone's favourite charcters should be here, and as the character's memories return they begin to realise their role in existence.
The cover states this is book 2, and it is but when there are 2 trilogies before it you might need to read up a bit in order to get the full flavour of this. Jack of Ravens (book 1) was about Church's journey across 2,000 years of history - this is a race against evil forces around the world.
Chadbourn always weaves myths and legends brilliantly into these books, and while the Celtic Gods are still the main characters we now have Norse, Chinese and Egyptian Gods making a play for the title of most bloodthirsty and confusing beings. As another reviewer writes it should be really confusing but when you're reading it its not - Chadbourn hooks you so skillfully into his world that you never realise how indepth it is until you try to explain it. Its so brilliant that I never want the series to end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Horrible Mystery Tour, 28 Feb. 2011
This review is from: The Burning Man: Kingdom of the Serpent: Book 2: Burning Man Bk. 2 (GOLLANCZ S.F.) (Paperback)
Horrible mystery tour.

At least for the Brothers and Sisters of Dragons, anyway. For the reader, this is as good as the last book.

Church and the rest of his Five have begun to realise what is going on with the Void's Mundane Spell - so that the everyday person is a bit stuck in the Matrix, if you like, supernatural style.

The first thing they need to do is to pull the other modern day group out of it, and this is where the start of the book finds Ruth and Church - out to retrieve Mallory and Sophie. The others have similar missions to gather the remaining two corporeal members of Mallory's Five. Tom's prophetic abilities also begin to come back, similarly.

The other problem is their power source, the Blue Fire is ebbing, and this entails a world tour and encounters with pantheons of all sorts (you even get Church going toe to toe with the Norse God of War!)

The various Tuatha and their realm still play an important part, for better or worse, helping, harming, fighting by and betraying the various members of the Five - and this is where having read the earlier volumes the Age of Misrule will enhance understanding of what is going on. Plenty of other supernatural strangeness to be had and weapons to be gathered.

Veitch and his injustice society version, the Brothers and Sisters of Spiders are still doing their own thing, as is the Libertarian. In the case of the former, an interesting dynamic develops between Etain, Veitch and Ruth. Church and company also want to make contact with those of the past Five members that Veitch and friends have not managed to slaughter, for help in the final battle.

With this rapidfire set of supernatural religious power confrontations undergone, Chadbourn also reveals there are Gnostic underpinnings to his story, and the titular figure actually comes from something a bit New Age - The Burning Man Festival. This is counterbalanced by entertaining pop culture banter anmd insults between the bunch, even to the level of Legion of Substitute Heroes jokes.

Chadbourn continues to deliver.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant fast paced fantasy, 23 April 2008
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This is the second book in the Kingdom of the Serpent trilogy which started with Jack of Ravens. Where the first book was a meander through history, this is a flat out gallop around the world. It picks up where the first book ends and the synopsis above covers enough of the plot. It is, as I've come to expect from Chadbourn, very well researched with detailed settings from around our world and mythology from all cultures brought to life. The pace never really lets up and you get a real sense of urgency for the characters and their tasks. They continue to be very human, flawed and showing plenty of real emotions. Certainly not your stereotypical heroes. This is dark urban fantasy at its very best, with a good dose of dry humour in the right places. The trilogy follows on from his other two: the Age of Misrule and the Dark Age. While you don't have to have read them first to enjoy this book, I think you'd get a much richer reading experience as they provide the back stories to all the characters and the setting. If you have read them, you won't be disappointed.
Can't wait for the final installment
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars feedback, 28 Feb. 2011
I would not order from this person again, as it's been nearly five weeks and i still haven't received my item
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1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars All tip, no iceburg, 14 July 2008
As a standalone this is very near indecipherable; even having read its prequel, Jack of Ravens, there are still gaps in my understanding of the grand overarching plot, a battle between the Void and Existence.

No one can fault Chadbourn for lacking ambition - my problems with the novel, and its predecessor, are not with plot or artistic vision but for the way it's all presented. Some of Chadbourn's characters sparkle to life with voices so strong you can almost literally hear them - take for instance the Green Man and his urgent warning to Laura, just as she begins to awaken from the Mundane spell. Then, a page or two later, we're introduced to The Libertarian, a ridiculously cliche villain too weak for an early batman comic, who may as well have twirled a pointed mustache and cackled, gold tooth gleaming.

Some have praised the series as 'fast paced' but Chadbourn overdoes it. Jack of Ravens had effective lulls in action (such as the opening scenes when Church is stuck in the village), where Chadbourn's well researched mythology could strike more haunting, eerie notes. Here, the book feels like one of those action movies bounding from one special effects spree to another. It's Gene Wolfe meets Matthew Reilly, and that is NOT a good combination.

Though I'm hardly the final arbiter of what is or isn't good reading, I want substance amongst the fireworks. Here, character development is, in my view, paid lip service; in passing, characters display this or that emotion, then it's onto the next battle scene. That isn't depth - if you've read real literature, this stands out like a sore thumb. Chadbourn spends too much time on the bells and whistles, not enough on the hard stuff, the meat and bones of what makes a novel a good novel, regardless of its genre.

Forget the grand themes, forget the symbolism - that's all polish. Where's the substance? Is the author capable of it?

I'm left wondering.
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The Burning Man: Kingdom of the Serpent: Book 2: Burning Man Bk. 2 (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
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