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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Path of Vengeance...
General Dun-Cadal Daermon was there when the Empire fell - and he has continued falling ever since. At the beginning of Antoine Rouaud's very different take on a revenge fantasy, he is at the very bottom of a wine-soaked barrel, trading tales of the long-ended war for the price of a drink, and that is where the reader first meets him, through the perspective of the young...
Published 12 months ago by Steven

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but needs work.
I enjoyed this book, seeing the world from two opposing angles was quite refreshing, the story was interesting, a good plot, a sizeable and interesting world although the world building was often lack lustre.

Unfortunately some important parts of the book were a bit disjointed, I kept having to read back and wonder how on earth has that been put there. In fact...
Published 11 months ago by N. Offer


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Path of Vengeance..., 17 Dec 2013
By 
Steven "Reader, writer, imaginator" (Sheffield, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
General Dun-Cadal Daermon was there when the Empire fell - and he has continued falling ever since. At the beginning of Antoine Rouaud's very different take on a revenge fantasy, he is at the very bottom of a wine-soaked barrel, trading tales of the long-ended war for the price of a drink, and that is where the reader first meets him, through the perspective of the young historian Viola, who has arrived to stir old memories in her search for the sword that belonged to the former Emperor. It transpires quickly that Dun-Cadal is haunted by far more personal ghosts than his mere failure to protect the Emperor he once served - he also blames himself for the death of his apprentice, the oddly-named Frog. But Viola's arrival causes Dun-Cadal to question everything he thought he knew.

There is a very theatrical tone to this novel - the language is arch, feeling a little odd in translation, though the narrative quickly draws the reader in - if Sergio Leone had ever directed within the genre, perhaps this is what it would be like. Rouaud links his scenes together through repeated dialogue, words flitting through the action like half-remembered dreams. The plot itself is as finely meshed as this method of storytelling, split between the years of Dun-Cadal's prime and the battered wreck of a man who lives in the shadows of the new Republic that has replaced the Empire. With Rouaud making his presence felt as the director, The Path of Anger proceeds just as a stage production would, split into two acts. Without spoiling too much, suffice to say that Dun-Cadal's story is only half of the tale, and like the revenge tragedies of old, none of the characters are exactly as they appear. The second half of the novel follows a very climactic revelation but really does keep the momentum going - if anything, the pace is ramped up even further, along with the boiling anger that drives both Frog and Dun-Cadal to the book's bitter end.

So what makes it different? There's magic - the animus, which the Empire's knights learn with difficulty to control - and Rouaud is careful to keep his magic from overwhelming the story. Frog's use of the animus parallels his growing frustration and anger, but it is a dangerous tool. In one of the book's best action sequences meanwhile, Dun-Cadal and his former pupil Logrid battle through a chapel like armour-plated wuxia characters. There's also a definite European sensibility in the characters, locations and general world-building - this is a world where both the Empire and the Republic are flawed forms of government, and personal honour is prized most of all. But what strikes me most is that theatrical, almost operatic path through the narrative - it may be a weakness as much as a strength, in that there is no place for true humour, but it also serves to highlight the themes of honour, tragedy and vengeance. If Rouaud can do the same again, without the benefit of the artificial two-act structure, then I will definitely be on board for the ride.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but needs work., 25 Dec 2013
By 
N. Offer (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I enjoyed this book, seeing the world from two opposing angles was quite refreshing, the story was interesting, a good plot, a sizeable and interesting world although the world building was often lack lustre.

Unfortunately some important parts of the book were a bit disjointed, I kept having to read back and wonder how on earth has that been put there. In fact the memories were often interspersed with the present which made the book confusing at times.

The main thing lacking for me was excitement, I wanted to care and be involved but felt distanced from all the main protagonists. I will give the next book a read in the hope that the author develops further.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyable, 22 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Path of Anger: The Book and the Sword: 1 (Kindle Edition)
Thoroughly enjoyed this, a really solid debut. Definitely worth a read if you like a bit of swords and intrigue.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great fantasy debut, 10 Jan 2014
'The Path Of Anger' is a typical fantasy novel. It begins in an in, and as with many good stories, it's a dark and stormy night... Viola walks in with her mysterious protector and finds an old man she's been told is called Dune. When she discovers he's actually Dun-Cadal, the war hero she's heard a lot about, she persuades him to begin talking.

The story jumps from the present, with Viola trying to get Dun-Cadal's help to find the sword of the Emperor, and the past, where he narrates some of his battles, and the events that lead to the fall of the empire. Then, just as Dun-Cadal seems to be wrapping up his story, and I thought the present day narrative would take centre stage, everything changes.

"Like a coin with two sides ... Two things as different in their forms as in their meanings, and yet, it's still one and the same coin."

From here, the story really starts to race along. I don't want to give too much away, but all that's been said so far gets cast in a different light as the second half begins. Dun-Cadal, Viola and her companions begin their task in earnest of launching an attack on the republic and its leaders. Their plan could go wrong in a variety of ways, and in the days leading up to the attack, there are several revelations that cause characters to wobble in their desire to do as they've planned. Will they do it? Will they make the 'right' choices, whatever those may be? Those are the questions readers are thinking as you read the rest of the book.

A great fantasy novel, I agree with the suggestions on the back - fans of Pat Rothfuss and Brent Weeks will also enjoy Antoine Rouaud's 'The Path of Anger'.

Overall, I give it 9/10.

~Ailsa [Review originally published by me on my blog, link in profile.]
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revenge and Tragedy, 5 Dec 2013
The Path of anger is a fantasy novel that wears the `fantastic' lightly. If a fantasy story needs magic, then this has it, but used sparingly. `The Animus' is the manipulation of the Air element as practiced by the Knights of the Empire, and, for sure, there are 2 strange creatures that give an otherworldly feel to the narrative. But it is not the fantasy aspects that determine or drive the story. This reads more like a historical fable in the form of a revenge tragedy.

So Rouaud is not fixated on the usual medieval period on which most comparable fantasies are based, particularly those from USA and UK writers. Instead his has a wholly (continental) European, feel, in the way that say, a French or Scandinavian film will differ from its Hollywood remake.

The Path of Anger is set in an un-named Empire and its subsequent post-revolution Republic, and the imaginative interweaving of different European eras and cultures builds a unique world for us. Elements of the 1st French republic and empire, Italian internecine struggles, a dash of `Ruritanian' pomp may be a puzzling or even disappointing context for readers expecting the normal fantasy world to be built and explained for them. What? No Maps? No Dynastic family trees?
But stick with it. These are not needed to locate the action. We are offered hints and speculations to build our own picture. Epochs and eras have merged into something truly strange, beautiful and memorable. Togas and tri-corn hats, spectacles chain mail and silk, oil lamps and armchairs, and an ancient blade of power that is described as `a rapier'...

This European feel is underpinned by the dialogue. Speech patterns and style (apart from one jarring USA idiom early in Chapter 1) are not deliberately elliptical, indicating perhaps a careful translation from a more `philosophical' register in the original language. Complex emotions can be expressed.
So Rouaud confounds expectations and offers a character driven narrative. We have the careworn knight-general Dun-Cadal, possibly the last decent man in a corrupt empire, and his strange protégé-squire, `Frog, whose mysterious past is slowly and shockingly revealed in part two. Part one tells the tale of the Empire's violent overthrow from Dun-Cadal's point of view. Part 2 belongs to Frog. Each tells the same story, but which is true? Events are overlapped, incidents told and retold to reveal hidden meanings, to expose betrayals and so to try and avoid the vengeance of the path of anger. Sharp visceral bouts of well-wrought violence ensure this latter hope is in vain.
A subplot about the search for a book of destiny and sword of power are additional threads which are used to help the development of the relationship, and perhaps to enable a sequel.

Ultimately, though, the stark truth of the real basis of the relationship between Dun-Cadal and Frog becomes clear, and it is not a comfortable or comforting one. I loved it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four star fantasy fun!, 25 May 2014
This review is from: The Path of Anger: The Book and the Sword: 1 (Kindle Edition)
Antoine Rouaud takes the things we've come to expect from traditional fantasy and gives them a new beat in this twisty, turny, misdirecting adventure.
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