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Imperial Fire by [Lyndon, Robert]
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Imperial Fire Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Length: 529 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

What makes this novel exceptional is an in-depth characterisation seldom found in the adventure genre. (Historical Novel Society)

An incredible journey (For Winter Nights (blog))

Imperial Fire is a true tour-de-force... a page-turning odyssey packed with the perfect blend of adventure, conspiracy, pulsating action, a sprinkling of romance, and history in all its raw, brutal, grim and glorious reality. (Blackpool Gazette)

Book Description

Imperial Fire is the latest epic masterpiece from the highly acclaimed author of Hawk Quest.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1823 KB
  • Print Length: 529 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1847444997
  • Publisher: Sphere (2 Jan. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CTMAAGQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #71,971 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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By Kate TOP 500 REVIEWER on 12 Feb. 2014
Format: Hardcover
It is 1081 and there is no limit to the ambition of the Emperor of Byzantium. He has set his sights on the `fire drug' of the East, a fabulous powder that explodes when lit, rumoured to exist on the other side of the world in China. Vallon, a Frankish knight in the Emperor's service, is promoted to General and given orders to lead a small force on a mission to China, bearing gifts and promises to be exchanged in return for this miraculous weapon. The mission, though, will take years and Vallon expects few of his men to survive the hazards of the journey. He himself has no illusions concerning the chances of returning safely to his wife. With him, though, are old friends from an earlier adventure who for one reason or another have travelled to Vallon's home - Hero the scholar and Wayland the falconer. With them will also travel Vallon's adopted son Aitken, his door warrior Wulfstan and Lucas, a young overzealous and uncontrollable spirit who has his own reasons for making this long and onerous trip.

Hawk Quest was one of the most ambitious and outstanding works of historical fiction published in 2012. Ten years in the making, it was (and is) everything you'd want from a historical saga, not to mention a hard act to follow. In Imperial Fire, Robert Lyndon picks up the lives of Vallon, Hero and Wayland several years after their previous mission from England to retrieve rare white falcons from the far north and carry them eastwards to Byzantium as ransom. Hawk Quest is a stand alone novel as is Imperial Fire and so you do not need to have read one to enjoy the other.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is volume 2 of the adventures of Vallon, the Frankish mercenary captain from Aquitaine, Hero the doctor and Wayland, the Saxon huntsman. It starts in 1081, some 8-9 years after Hawk Quest, the first volume of the series. At the outset, it is fair to mention that this volume can be read separately from the first instalment although, and almost as usual with series, it might to preferable to read to read Hawk Quest first.

If you do this, however, you might be a bit disappointed, or at least I was since I preferred the first volume to this one. “Imperial Fire” is not a “bad” book, although it took me over a week to finish it which is never a very good sign for me. This is because I found the book to be somewhat uneven, and perhaps even a bit of a mixed bag.

The first part, which takes place in Byzantium during the first very troubled months of the reign of Emperor Alexis I Comnene, is one of the best ones. The first twenty pages or so, which see Vallon becoming a hero during the disastrous Byzantine defeat at Dyrrachium against the Normans, is certainly gripping, and a largely successful attempt from the author to drag and immerse the reader into the action.

Except that even there, there are some problems and some elements which are rather unrealistic. One of these is Vallon’s attendance at the Emperor’s war council where, of course, he comes up with wise advice which will not be followed. To have a mere mercenary squadron leader, and a Frank to boot (where the enemy are the Italo-Normans of Robert Guiscard and Bohemond which included a number of Frankish knights as well as Lombards) attending such a meeting stretches credulity to the limit.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not as good as the first book, Hawk Quest, but that was as close to perfection as a novel can get, and deserved six stars out of five.
Vallon returns, and rides to the east - in fact, to China. This is a fantastic story, and one of those books that I didn't want to end.
Buy it, but be sure to read Hawk Quest first.
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By Jeff VINE VOICE on 11 Mar. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very similar in its way to Lyndon's previous novel 'Falcon Quest' and no worse for that, this is another fascinating tale of a long journey in difficult terrain, this time across central Asia in 1089. If you haven't read the first book it might be an idea to do so as some of the characters roll into this one, but it isn't strictly necessary. One adventure follows another and you keep looking forward to the next with a sort of 'Boys Own' excitement [if you're of a certain age!]. Well written, exciting, with characters you can engage with. I was a bit indifferent to Vallon, the supposed main character, my favourite by far being Wayland, the charismatic drifter [and his dog!].
I was sorry when it came to the end. Talking of which [the ending] - I can't say I was totally happy. NO SPOILERS!! Lyndon disposes of a number of characters for some reason - one I can think of in a highly acceptable [if regrettable] manner but one I saw no reason for whatsoever and the one in the last page totally unnecessary. It's fairly obvious, I think, where the next book is likely to be set and there are sufficient indicators, I think, that some characters may return but how and in what context, I shall have to wait and see. I look forward to it very much. Highly recommended!!
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