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on 26 November 2011
Okay, so take your classic fantasy world, but imagine for a moment that the elves (or Terrarchs, as they are called here), rather than being benevolent forest-dwelling figures, instead conquered humanity with dragons and sorcery after fleeing their own world. Now advance that world a thousand years, to the point where the overlords with the pointed ears are fighting a protracted civil was using human armies wielding flintlock pistols and rifles.

Straight away, you might gather that King has thrown a few fresh ideas into the genre, and the result is both refreshing and exciting. This story, if I can compare it to anything, reads like a military saga in the Glen Cook/Steven Erikson mould, but written with the pace and flair of Robert E. Howard.

Our main protagonist is Rik, an ex-thief and part-Terrarch halfbreed, as we follow him and his fellow soldiers into battle against their masters' enemies. A mission against a renegade sorcerer leads him into the possession of a set of grimoires, and while his squadmates only see them as a source of profit, he is tempted by the dark secrets they hold...

For you see, in this benighted world, those seeking to overthrow the Terrarch do so by threatening to unleash the Lovecraftian gods and demons that ruled the planet in ancient times. Magic brings madness and corruption, and every soldier wears an Elder Sign for protection.

Rik is well-drawn, neither a shining paragon of virtue nor an outright antihero, just a young man trying his best to get by in a bleak world. The nearest thing we get to a romance is a faltering, clumsy relationship between him and a prostitute, and his friends include the mercenary Weasel and the dull-witted, violent Barbarian.

Our second POV character is Lieutenant Sardec, Rik's commanding officer, an arrogant Terrarch who disdains humans, and Rik in particular for his mixed blood. His is a much less sympathetic but just as interesting viewpoint, showing us some of the political machinations of the immortal race, especially during Sardec's interactions with the ancient, beautiful and magically puissant Lady Asea.

The story builds to a thrilling finale as the characters confront an unholy threat, dark powers are unleashed. This is a wonderfully gritty take on the fantasy genre, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. More please!
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on 1 January 2014
I will start by saying that I have been a firm fan of William King since I picked up one of his Warhammer-based novels, in my early teens. Since then, I have read and enjoyed everything he has done for Games Workshop, so I was very pleased when I stumbled upon some non-Warhammer based books by him in an Amazon sale. I have only just gotten around to reading this book- and I am happy to say that Mr King has once again lived up to my expectations!

My main issues with this book is one I often find with Kindle titles: lack of proof reading. There are a couple of missing full stops moments when words appear to have escaped and run off, leaving interesting holes in sentences. I can forgive that, though, and overall the story was well crafted and easy to read.

I did not give this a 5 star review because the tale was a touch predictable, and felt a little bit as if it was put together using a set formula. Having said that, the characters were engaging, it was fun to read, and it is a type of fantasy/sci-fi that I have not come across before. It stands out, and I will be purchasing the rest of the series ASAP to see what happens to these characters! I especially enjoyed the somewhat earthy, realistic humour that ran through the book- it added a real spark of life to it.

Overall, I would recommend it. It's a new take on a lot of things us fantasy and sci-fi fans know well, but well put together and well imagined.
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on 30 April 2017
This is a mash up of 18th Century, with Dinosaurs and Aliens added in. It sounds ridiculous but i liked William King in the Warhammer world and decided to give it a chance. He is a great writer and captures the bizarre and strange very well. In the end he has created a unique universe which is underpinned by a great story and some really good characters. I wasn't sure where it was going at first but i was happy i made the journey and look forward to the next in the series.
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on 30 March 2012
If you're like me and waiting for all the 'next in the series' to come out from the usual authors and have been scouring reviews and Internet sites trying to find a new author to add to the ranks, try this! This is classic adult fantasy and a brilliant, fast paced fun read that had me glued from start to finish.. It's sort of a Glen Cook Black Company (who if you have not read by the way, started the whole dark adult 'real life' fantasy genra and was the inspiration behind Erikson and more) meets Sharpe kinda book.

I can't recommend this enough and it's an astonishing bargain.... it is far, far superior to most of the books you pay over a fiver for and tramples over a lot of the hyped 2012 debuts that I put down after a hundred pages. I don't normally write reviews but having never heard of William King (and I've read almost every fantasy author of note) and the books are so cheap, you sort of feel compelled to write something and shout out to all your fellow readers how good this guy is. Just look at the stars and the ratings - This is one author to watch and this guy goes in my read anything he does category! Oh and don't be put of by the cover, it's a bit naf and needs an update, but the story and pace is oh so good.

So whilst you're waiting for Martin, Lynch, Lloyd, Erikson, Abercrombie, Sanderson etc. etc's next installments, give this a try as you'll not be disappointed.... and you'll have a new one to add to the wish list and frustratingly wait for their next book too.....
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on 8 May 2017
Humans are the lesser race to all powerful Terrarchs, a race with long lives and magical powers, who came here escaping a deadly enemy a long time ago, and crushed various races.
Now they are factionalised between those who enslave humanity and those who give them some lesser rights.
Both sides use human armies, and our protagonist is Rik, a half Terrarch footsoldier in the army.

Good and balanced mix of technology and magic, and a well developed world that is changing over time. Complex characters you can care about and good stories throughout, by the excellent Mr King.
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on 29 April 2014
I understand why authors let their first volume of a set go for free. It's a great way of drawing readers in and the readers seem to like the 'try before you buy' approach. I'm one of those readers but so often have been left with a feeling of 'meh' at the end of volume one and not inclined to go further. Not this time. This was great reading -a world carefully crafted, characters you ended up feeling for, lines of wit, action that lived in your imagination, the whole thing an experience I thoroughly enjoyed. I can't wait to read the next ones and will be downloading as soon as I can. It is good to find an author that makes me feel so positive! Thank you Mr King!
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on 30 January 2013
I had just finished Hunter's Run in my latest attempt to fill the gap left in my life after finishing the Game of Thrones series and was casually browsing Amazon for something new when the price-tag of this book caught my eye (FREE). I read the synopsis and a few reviews and thought to myself I have absolutely nothing to lose by downloading and having a quick read. I can tell you that after one chapter I was hooked. I can see why they made this one free - the author was a complete unknown to me, but somehow I feel like I've uncovered a hidden treasure in finding him through this simple marketing ploy. I have proceeded to buy through and read all of the Terrarch chronicles and a few of his Novellas and will have absolutely no hesitation in buying any future publication. Now I have the task of persuading my friend to get an ereader since unfortunately all of the books appear to be electronic only. Shouldn't be hard though, kindle app is free, this book is free.
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on 22 November 2013
I downloaded this one because it was free and also because I am fond of William Kings other fantasy series with Gotrek and Felix.
This book sets the basis for a new world where 2 sentient races live in the same world, humans and Terrarchs (think elves). Terrarchs have the good life and are in control but are a fading race, humans are now gaining ground both militarily and politically.

Enter the hero of our story Rik, who is is a "half breed", a smarter than average soldier who ends up becoming more than just a simple soldier. The book has magic, demons, gods, past and future wars and the action is well written.
Definitely worth a read.
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on 23 October 2015
Unique world building. An ancient world conquered by war-like Elves from another planet. Humanity as a repressed race. A sword & sorcery tale- plus gunpowder. A cross between the novels by Sven Hassel and Joe Abercrombie. Soldiers with enemies all around them, but mainly fighting for their own survival. This is epic fantasy, something you can get your teeth into. I would recommend this to any fantasy fan. Well done Mr. King.
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VINE VOICEon 9 July 2011
I'm delighted to see this on Kindle, especially since there are other Terrarch chronicles to follow (hopefully soon!). This background of 19th Century military mixed with battle magic suits Bill's writing to a tee. It has enough difference in setting from the standard medieval fantasy background to be fresh, and plays fair with fantasy staples such as elves, and young innocents picked for a high destiny. With Bill's usual sardonic slant to events, of course.
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