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Master Assassins: The Fire Sacraments, Book One Paperback – 22 Mar 2018
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“This book has everything I love: Clean, crisp worldbuilding. Characters that live and breathe. A story that teases and surprises me. I like Master Assassins so much I wish I'd written it, but deep down, I know I couldn't have written it this well.”―#1 New York Times bestselling author Patrick Rothfuss
“The prose is spectacularly good. Your adrenaline will flow. Your emotions will be toyed with. You will find yourself drawn in, turning the pages and worrying that fewer and fewer remain. I read a lot of good books. Quite a few very good books. This is one of the rare 6-star series openers I’ve encountered.” ―Mark Lawrence, author of Prince of Thorns and Red Sister
“Robert Redick really nailed this one. What a great story! Fascinating plot and characters, and all of the author’s formidable skills at play. I cannot wait to read the next one.”―New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks
“An exquisitely written mix of heart-stopping action, masterful storytelling, and enchantment. Redick is a gifted wordsmith with a ferocious imagination. Master Assassins will produce many sleepless nights. I guarantee it.”―New York Times bestselling author Mira Bartók
“A blazingly smart thrill-ride of an adventure. The world of Master Assassins is deep, mysterious, terrifying, and utterly real, and I'll follow Redick's heroes, the mismatched brothers Kandri and Mektu, wherever they go in it. I can't recommend this book highly enough.”―Daryl Gregory, author of Spoonbenders
“Redick’s long-awaited return to fantasy is the start of a truly satisfying epic.”―B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog, “The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books of 2018 So Far”
“Subtle and layered, evocative and true.” ―Michelle West, Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine
“With spare, sharp-edged prose, Redick balances his rollicking adventure story against a tale of love and uneasy brotherhood, offering a thrilling glimpse into a world both haunting and haunted. His finest work to date.”―Jedediah Berry, author of The Manual of Detection
“An at once engrossing, entertaining and superlative read. The world building is epic and the characters developed well within the movement. I look forward to this series and the continuation of the Brothers Hinjuman quest.”―Koeur’s Book Reviews
“[A] taut, deftly-plotted story. . . carries the drama and suspense without collapsing the weight of building a world and setting up a few more books’ worth of storyline.”―B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog
“Though it is only April 6th, and there are many books left to read this year, Master Assassins has cemented itself in AT LEAST my top 3 books of the year, maybe even #1. It is that good. . . . I recommend Master Assassins to everyone. Period.”―FanFiAddict, 5/5 Stars
About the Author
Robert V. S. Redick’s Chathrand Voyage Quartet (The Red Wolf Conspiracy and sequels) is among the most beloved and critically acclaimed epic fantasy series of recent years. A social and environmental justice consultant, he has worked in Indonesia, Argentina, Colombia and many other countries. His new fantasy series, The Fire Sacraments, will be published by Talos Press. He lives with his partner in Western Massachusetts.
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The centre of the story are a pair of half-siblings, Kandri and Mektu. Kandri acts as the narrator, and our eye into the world. He is thoughtful, conflicted, and a romantic. As a man struggling with the results of his first great love, and with an ongoing rivalry with Mektu, the fault lines in his character are clear. Those lined are blurred by Kandris’ clear affection for his sibling, the shared experience, the shared pain which brings them together. Kandri is analytical, often afraid, but still someone to act opportunistically when required. Mektu, his half-brother, is something else. There is an individual who can talk. An extrovert without limits. Willing to chat the hind legs off of a donkey, or the sword out of someone’s hand before he cracks them over the head. But that gab is balanced by an impulsiveness, a desire to say the funny thing, rather than the smart thing. Mektu carries a one which rocks the boat, which accepts the restrains of authority only reluctantly. Mektu is the imp of the perverse, a man designed to outrage, who doesn’t always think far enough ahead to see the consequences of his choices. It's a complex pairing, a head-and-heart duo, whose relationship is often more than a little fraught. They’re tied together by a complex bond of blood and loyalty, and of past shared experiences which are slowly unfurled over the course of the text.
In this they’re assisted by an ensemble cast – ranging from their distant, mysterious father, through the quietly menacing and clearly barking mad Prophet who has led their people out of slavery, through a young soldier struggling with her experiences of violence, to the fanatical warriors of the Prohet’s religion, and the cold-hearted pragmatists fighting against them. As in reality, no-one here is just one thing, just vile, just a saint. No, they’re a swirling mass of contradictions, large and small, each a nuanced portrayal of an individual.
That’s helped by the world, of course. Redick shows us a continent wrapped in dysfunction and conflict after being quarantined by the rest of the world. It’s inward looking by necessity, a seething cauldron of political relationships, warfare and blood. We gain a sense of history too, of the old wrongs that shaped this world into its current, rather terrible state. And while religious wars play out, there’s a great many wonders on display around them. There’s a shattered salt pan of a desert, made when the sea which used to inhabit it was ‘stolen’. The winds ripping through the dunes, and the towering, twisted spires which once were islands are sights to inspire and awe. Then there’s the city on the edge of the sea, a broken-down metropolis run by an autocrat. This is a world whose sights feel real, where military camps and small farming communities and sweeping deserts are all realised with the same vivid intensity, in a world which manages to feel viscerally alive.
The story – well, that would be telling. But watching the dynamic duo as they scrabble to escape the many, many people who want them dead is a delight. The story begins as a bit of a slow burn, but catches fire by the halfway mark, leaving me rapidly turning pages trying to work out what happened next. There’s some great stuff in here; the exploration of the brother’s relationship is thoughtful, nuanced and sometimes raw and painful, but feels genuine. The splashes of magic and the supernatural scattered throughout add some sparkle, and their rarity increases their impact. There’s a not-small order of battles and some seriously well-crafted and kinetic fight scenes as well.
Overall, this is a work of intelligent, layered fantasy which will likely reward multiple reads; definitely worth a look.
This opening paragraph told me everything I needed to know about the novel in advance. It was going to be intriguing, exciting, beautifully written and I was going to love it. And oh my gosh, how I did. Even now that I finished reading it a few days ago, sometimes I just get this urge to re-open it and read on, to lose myself in the adventure again, only to remember that… bollocks! I already finished it!
In a harsh land, quarantined off from the rest of the world due to a deadly plague, ruled by a psychopathic tyrant who wields terror with practiced ease, two brothers run for their lives. They run from the wrath of their ruler, chased by their entire nation, hunted by elite forces, bloodthirsty monsters, and creatures darker, deadlier and more sinister still, through barren fields of devastation, towards the great desert called “The Land That Eats Men.”
Robert V.S. Reddick expertly weaves many threads back and forth into a rich, colourful and epic tale of rivalry, adventure, friendship, mystery and love. Kandri and Mektu, the two main characters find themselves in one extraordinary situation after the other, yet it’s their troubled relationship that make their story even more absorbing. In some instances, the bond they share reminded me of that between Thor and Loki from the Marvel universe. Kandri, a bit like Thor, is valiant, thoughtful and caring, while the younger brother, Mektu is selfish, mischievous and careless. He annoys Kandri no end with his continuous troublemaking, who in turn is worried for him half the time and wants to kill him himself the other half. Unlike their Asgardian counterparts, they are far from being Gods. They are flung into the heart of danger by chance rather than face it by choice. Yet the harshness of their world, the threats they need to face, the choices they have to make, sets the bar impossibly high. They must clear it or die.
And as if all this wasn’t enough to make a great book, the level of mystery surrounding the half-brothers, their past, their families and the world around them impressed me greatly. I very much enjoyed the way the secrets slowly untangle as the story flows through the pages, satisfying many of my questions, yet leaving enough unsolved to make me eager for the next volume.
On the first page of my copy there is a note from the senior editor, in which they say Talos Press is proud to present this novel. They have every right to be. I wouldn’t be surprised to find in the future that Master Assassins was just the beginning of a masterpiece in the making.
two erm 'Master' Assassins, four days to
finish, one fantastic read. Robert V.S. Redick
has done something special here with Master
Assassins and I couldn't stop myself from devouring it over a weekend.
It's intelligent, deep, and chocked full of immersive prose that kept me engrossed throughout. The world building is great and at no point did I feel utterly and completely lost in this world as can be the case with some fantasy. I think it was the characters that kept me coming back though, along with the aforementioned brilliant writing. Kadri and Mektu make for a wonderful pair, or a disastrous one I suppose you could say, and it's the relationship between these two brothers that felt so real to me with their bickering, connection, distance.
The book reminds me of Senlin Ascends in many ways with how it gave me something I didn't know I wanted. I can't wait to dive into the sequels, to explore the world more and find out more about the mysteries it presents but I also just want to dive back into this book and to be engrossed by it once more
I found myself reading it fast and wishing I had the second