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Drakenfeld Paperback – 10 Oct 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Tor; Main Market Ed. edition (10 Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 023076682X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230766822
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 676,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

This is a grounded and realistic example of secondary world-building that works well as an intelligent locked-room mystery and also gives us a cerebral, multi-layered protagonist. Game Of Thrones fans will find plenty to enjoy in the story's sharply-played political skulduggery, and this first book in the series stands as an intriguing introduction to a world that's challenging and provocative without falling into Grimdark clichés (SFX)

A richly written, always engaging work, with well-developed characters and a nice mystery to get stuck into (SciFiNow)

Charan Newton's new novel Drakenfeld shares more with the historical fiction and detective fiction novels than it does with traditional epic fantasy, but there's just enough to his world that will make this feel just at home with most epic fantasy readers. The result is a deliberate, interesting novel that grows in scale from beginning to end (io9.com)

Drakenfeld is an interesting blend of Historical Fantasy and Crime Fiction, set in a beautifully imagined world that seems to have been inspired by Ancient Rome . . . a novel that became more and more interesting as the depths of its groundwork became clear (The Book Smugglers)

Not every story has to have its own completely unique and original world. Sometimes taking inspiration from a past era works out better than creating a new world, and Mark Charan Newton proves that he can do both (Fantasy Literature)

Book Description

Inspired by the classical world of Ancient Rome and authors such as C J Sansom, Drakenfeld marks the start of a thrilling new fantasy crime series

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mark Charan Newton brings us a new series with new characters in a new setting.

After receiving news of his father's death Sun Chamber Officer Lucan Drakenfeld is recalled home to the ancient city of Tryum and is rapidly embroiled in a mystifying case. The King's sister has been found brutally murdered - her beaten and bloody body discovered in a locked temple.

Lucan Drakenfeld is a very interesting character indeed; he's a cunning and determined investigator. The book is written in the first person, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. For me it worked and the more I read about Drakenfeld and his motivations the more I wanted to know about the world they inhabit. The order of Sun Chamber which Drakenfeld is a part of is very enigmatic, almost secret and whenever it's mentioned it instantly commands respect.

The setting of the book is a city called Tryum which takes its influences from Rome and Greece albeit in a very subtle way and not overtly obvious.

The lock room mystery was interesting, but gladly wasn't the entire focus of the book, just very cleverly put together in its simplicity once the solution is revealed. It certainly makes you think and question what you know as Drakenfeld's investigation unfolds. Drakenfeld has his work cut out for him trying to separate superstition from certainty.

As the plot steadily unfolds we learn more about Drakenfeld and the struggles he faces, in the shadow of his more famous father, even in death. Drakenfeld's determination to find the killer quickly makes him a target as the underworld gangs of Tryum focus on this new threat to their power. The secondary characters especially Leana and Senator Veron are well formed and the author gives them time to grow in the world they inhabit.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I've blown hot and cold with Mark Charan Newton's books over the last couple of years. Nights of Viljamur was fantastic and augured well for a new fantasy series but the follow up, City of Ruin, I found so bitterly disappointing that I largely ignored the next two in the series, although coming to them late - and probably with a less than open mind - I confess I enjoyed them a lot more. Anyway, when Drakenfeld turned up I did sniff at it a bit suspiciously not least because it smacked of historical fiction, something I struggle with at the best of times, but also because I wasn't sure which Newton had written it. Rest assured however that this is the immensely talented Newton that writes good books, and I was well pleased.

Set in a world very much influenced by Ancient Rome, the eponymous Drakenfeld is a rising star of the Sun Chamber, a law enforcement body whose jurisdiction covers the entire Vispasian Union and all monarchies and lands therein. Upon receiving news of the death of his father, Drakenfeld returns to his home city of Tryum to lay him to rest and put his affairs in order. It soon becomes apparent, however, that his father - himself a once prominent member of the Sun Chamber and a force to be reckoned with, let alone lived up to - was living a complex lie, and circumstances surrounding his death are not as straightforward as they at first seem. To add to this mystery, a member of the royal family is murdered during a big party and, as the only Sun Chamber official around, it falls to Drakenfeld to investigate the crime. With all eyes upon him and his own life seemingly at risk from all quarters, Drakenfeld's investigation lead him to the heart of power in Tryum where the truth could upset the delicate balance of the whole continent.
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Format: Paperback
Drakenfeld is a nice easy-going read - it's not the sort of book to grab you by the lapels and drag you on a fast-paced rollercoaster ride, it's more like the friendly arm around your shoulder, guiding you through the twists and turns of the narrative. I'm not by any means suggesting that Drakenfeld is slow-paced, I think it's about right, picking up speed at all the right times and sucking you in to the point that the pages turn quickly and easily.

I thought the main stumbling block for me here would be that Drakenfeld is written in the first person, which is definitely not my preference. This didn't spoil my enjoyment of the book in the slightest, and the style worked well here with the story we're following, allowing a natural access to the thought processes of our protagonist as he tries to solve an apparently impossible crime.

The crime itself is a classic murder mystery but it's the `who' and the `why' that provide more intrigue than the `how' we spend a fair amount of time puzzling over. When that little chestnut is cracked it's almost a little disappointing in its simplicity, but the other two aspects make up for it, and the cleverness of a second major death is the icing on the cake. There's plenty of room for making your own assumptions, but I did find it a little odd how one key player I suspected almost from the start was never even suggested as a potential suspect in Lucan Drakenfeld's investigation. Perhaps I missed something there, or perhaps it was just my suspicious mind trying to beat Drakenfeld to solving the murder.

The characters and the world they're in are as well fleshed out as the story they're a part of. We're shown the world when we need to see it, allowing it to grow and develop well as we become more deeply engrossed in the story.
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