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on 1 August 2006
Jack of Ravens is a great read and a massive scamper through history from Celtic times, Romans, Elizabethan, the Blitz through to the 60's and America. If you haven't read the previous books it doesn't matter, you will just get a slightly different perspective on it.

If you have read them then you will be pleased to be reunited with the original Brothers and Sisters of Dragons. There is some good dry humour in amongst the action and tension. The characters have plenty of flaws and a sense of evil truely comes out from the villains. I couldn't put it down either and as usual I was left with plenty to think about. :)
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on 21 August 2006
This book, begins a third sequence in the "modern-world collapsing as technology fails and magic returns" setting that marked out the Age Of Misrule and Dark Age sequences as two of the most interesting fantasy trilogies of recent years.

All of the Chadbourn features are here- credibly flawed characters, taut writing, deep research and a plot that absolutely tears along, but this book has an engaging warmth to it that draws the reader in more than it's predecessors. Perhaps it's the return to familiar characters ( you should certainly read the Age Of Misrule books before starting this one- in fact, you should read them anyway as they're great ) or something about the way they grow through a story which revolves around the importance of hope and humanity but I felt more emotionally engaged by this than any of it's predecessors.

Running behind the scenes of reality, on a whistlestop tour of some of history's more mysterious corners, this is a very promising start to the new trilogy.
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on 22 July 2006
I could not put this book down! I was awake until 4am reading it just because I had to know what happened. This follows on from both Always Forever and Hounds of Avalon. All hope has been lost but Jack Churchill is fighting his way back to the future to Ruth, whom he knows he loves, but can't remember much else after being thrown back in time.

I'm not really doing it justice here... This book was so beautifully researched I'm sure it could be used as a history textbook. It opens your eyes to different eras of history, yet keeps the people real... The year may be different, but underneath it all people are fundamentally the same. The same hopes and the same struggles and I think that's one of the important messages in the book.

This is the first in a new series, and my hopes are big. It has already impressed me far more than the Dark Age trilogy, mainly due to The Queen of Sinister, which I felt to be a bit lacking in depth, with characters that didn't really resonate with me. Here we have the original (and best!) five, almost back in business, struggling against despair to become champions once again.

This book wraps up nicely at the end, with a satisfying ending, but it also leaves you with a sense of dread, because other events at the end make you realise everything is not going to be ok. And it's this feeling which has got me filled with so much anticipation for the next book - I can't wait!

Chadbourn's completely on form, and he shows here better than ever his ability to show you the people at the heart of humanity, and makes you feel like you know them better than yourself. Worth it, undoubtedly.
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on 29 July 2006
Mark Chadbourn has once again surpassed himself with this brilliant novel. It has everything. A fast pace and plenty of action through history for the Brothers and Sisters of Dragons to hopefully save existence and to top it all, we have Church at the helm again.

Fans of all the original characters (Church, Ruth, Veitch & co)are in for a real treat. We meet them all again, along with some new friends, and some new villains!

I couldn't put the book down, but then, I never can when Chadbourn's the author.
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on 29 October 2014
Fantasy should be fantastical in its very nature, but here lies the issue with the genre itself. If a book is too fantastical, what can you believe? For a fantasy world to work it must create its own set of laws and the author must tell the reader what these are, that way wonderful things can happen, but at least you know there are limits. ‘Jack of Ravens’ by Mark Chadbourn is a prime example of a book that sets no limitations and for this reason undermines itself. How can we possibly care about what is happening with our hero when any character can suddenly pop out of a fairy hole and save the day?

There are elements of ‘Jack’ which are very interesting; it splices urban fantasy with a time travelling adventure. These things should be right up my alley, but it introduces another ingredient; fairy magic. This is the sort of whimsical nonsense that means a writer does not have to think about what they are doing as they can quickly write themselves out of a hole by making something up. There appears to be next to nothing stopping some of the characters leaping around in time and space. This is not only confusing, but makes it hard to feel trepidation.

When the book does settle down for a decade or two the book improves. 70s San Francisco and the World Wars are used well. However, when the book drops into the various magical courts it loses all of what is up and what is down. This may be the point at times, but by not binding the magic in some formal way Chadbourn has left the possibilities too open. The story unravels and as it is part of a series, it has no end. Perhaps book 2 will stay in the modern era and the story will settle down, as it is, book 1 is a mess.
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on 24 April 2008
Jack of Ravens is a great read and a massive scamper through history from Celtic times, Romans, Elizabethan, the Blitz through to the 60's and America. The locations and history have been beautifully researched adding real depth to the book. If you haven't read the previous books (Age of Misrule and The Dark Age trilogy) it doesn't matter, you will just get a slightly different perspective on it.

If you have read them then you will be pleased to be reunited with the original Brothers and Sisters of Dragons. There is some good dry humour in amongst the action and tension. The characters have a very realness to them and a sense of evil truely comes out from the villains. I couldn't put it down either and as usual I was left with plenty to think about. :)
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on 25 November 2006
This was an amazing read. It was like meeting up with old friends after a long absence. Mark's characters are so well written they are like family and Church is my favourite. As Jack works his way back to his own time we finally understand how Niamh came to love him. The Brothers and Sisters of Dragons finally come together in their fight against evil and you realise things aren't going to be that easy. Whilst I'm trying to wait patiently for the next instalment I wonder and worry about the characters as you'd wonder and worry about an old friend. It's a thrilling and exhilarating read. The research is amazing a definite must read. Make sure you start at the very beginning though with The Age of Misrule series.
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Well when I first read about a new series from Mark I was ecstatic, I loved his Dark Age series and wondered which direction he would take for his latest novel. Mark is a man in love with British myths and as such delivers proving Tolkien wrong about the land having no Historic Epics to call their own. Well Marks novel generates a history for us in this sense, much the same way that the Western generated one of America.

Glued from the beginning I was left with one complaint, I needed more than I got or to put it bluntly, give me the rest of the series. Definetely don't take this on holiday as you wont the pure pleasure of the break as you'll be stuck with your head in the book. Your other half will not be happy (or the kids (delete as applicable)) as you'll hardly stick your head up unless to order another drink.

Thanks for the help in giving up the cigs Mark, your book kept me away from them for many an hour.
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on 21 July 2006
I could not put this book down! I was awake until 4am reading it just because I had to know what happened. This follows on from both Always Forever and Hounds of Avalon. All hope has been lost but Jack Churchill is fighting his way back to the future to Ruth, whom he knows he loves, but can't remember much else after being thrown back in time.

I'm not really doing it justice here... This book was so beautifully researched I'm sure it could be used as a history textbook. It opens your eyes to different eras of history, yet keeps the people real... The year may be different, but underneath it all people are fundamentally the same. The same hopes and the same struggles and I think that's one of the important messages in the book.

This is the first in a new series, and my hopes are big. It has already impressed me far more than the Dark Age trilogy, mainly due to The Queen of Sinister, which I felt to be a bit lacking in depth, with characters that didn't really resonate with me. Here we have the original (and best!) five, almost back in business, struggling against despair to become champions once again.

This book wraps up nicely at the end, with a satisfying ending, but it also leaves you with a sense of dread, because other events at the end make you realise everything is not going to be ok. And it's this feeling which has got me filled with so much anticipation for the next book - I can't wait!

Chadbourn's completely on form, and he shows here better than ever his ability to show you the people at the heart of humanity, and makes you feel like you know them better than yourself. Worth it, undoubtedly.
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on 28 April 2008
Having read none of Chadbourn's previous books I didn't find myself not understanding anything about Jack of Ravens. Most of the mythology I read I had learned from various videogames (Xenosaga and Shin Megami) and so was a very joyful read to learn some more about the mythology.

The story is brilliant and fast paced with some of the most likable characters; Jack Churchill is a great protagonist and a character that you really do find yourself on the side of and also the Libertarian; one of the antogonists is cruelly genius and every page that he was on was intense and mesmerising.

Can't wait to pick up the next book because this series is astounding!
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