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on 19 May 2017
This wasn't for me but a friend of mine. It was in very good condition and she was very happy with it
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Ten years have passed since the events of the first book. The Estorean Conquord is riven with discontent as the Advocate sponsors the development of the Ascendents, whilst the Order is implacably opposed to them. With religious strife threatening the Conquord with dissolution, the Tsardons launch a renewed invasion, this time with the 'fallen' Ascendant Gorian providing them with vast armies of undead warriors. The Conquord is forced into a military confrontation it cannot win whilst the only people who can stop Gorian are also the most feared and reviled people in the empire...

I was disappointed by Shout for the Dead. Cry of the Newborn set up an interesting premise with impressive, exciting battle sequences and fast-paced storytelling (despite its mammoth size) which more than made up for its lack of in-depth characterisation and its sometimes workmanlike prose. That book was basically an action blockbuster with some interesting ideas on the introduction of magic into a nonmagical world and on that level it worked well.

Shout for the Dead feels somewhat laboured. I get the impression from comments in interviews and on his website that Barclay struggled with the book, and that comes through here. Characters vanish with no explanation (whatever happened to the King of Atreska and Megan, the politician who replaced him?) and Barclay fails to make the battles as compelling as in the first book, perhaps because they almost entirely consist of vast hordes of zombies marching over the opposition. The only bits where the book explodes into life are when the Ocetanas turn up and start kicking some serious ass. The scene where Iliev takes on a bunch of undead single-handed is superb ("Gentleman, I'll be needing my papers,"). The naivete and stupidity of certain characters is also incredibly annoying, and the ending is rather unsatisfying.

Shout for the Dead (**) is a disappointing and lacklustre conclusion to what promised to be an entertaining action series. However, there was plenty of promise in the book, and I really enjoyed the adventures of the Ocetanas. Hopefully they will be front and centre if Barclay ever chooses to return to this world.
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The second and final book in his Ascendants series. I enjoyed the first once I got into it and this one was okay, but for some reason it did not engage me as much as the first. Very dark at times and the author is prepared to kill off any character if it helps the story or provides shocks at the right moments.

Following on from the previous book (which you do need to read first) the Ascendants have grown up but the outcast Gorian has a plan to raise the dead to fight for him and set himself up as God and ruler of a dead world. While the good guys deal with panic, insurrection and religious fanaticism, an army of the dead is approaching, and of course anyone killed joins their mass.

This is gory and dark, but I felt the fighting scenes took something away from the characters and I did not engage with them as much as I would have expected. Having said that, although this is not for the faint hearted, this is solid stuff from a very good author who now has a significant presence in British fantasy.
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on 23 June 2009
After a fairly sedate start to this story in cry of the newborn, shout for the dead really does up the ante. The characters are now fully developed and much more interesting, the pace of the book is almost frantic at times and the whole thing was a pleasure to read.
after finishing this though and knowing how well barkay writes it does still surprise me that the first book took so long to get going. Overall though as a complete work it was very good indeed
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on 5 September 2007
A Shout for the Dead sees the conclusion of the two-part Ascendants of Estorea. Set ten years after Book 1, the Ascendants are now training and developing the next strand of emergent talent. There is a lot to this book and several storylines and threads develop well but perhaps it was a bit too ambitious and it seems to run out of puff at the end.

Gorian, in isolation from the Ascendancy, has developed the ability to raise the dead. This creates a powerful army that the Tsardon King seeks to utilise, unaware that he is merely a pawn in Gorian's master plan to achieve God-like status. The relationship between Mirron and Paul Jhered develops throughout and the constant battles between the Advocate Herine and the brilliantly over-zealous Felice Koroyan builds the tension up nicely. The sea-borne Ocetanas feature too and the sea battles are well done but all this hints at the complexity and over-ambition.

There is a hint of Troy, Master and Commander, Rome and the Raven about the book. There is a good pace set and the sense of dispair builds cleverly right up until the final pages when for me it ends too quickly and easily as if the book just got too big and had to be stopped. Maybe it should have been a three-book series.

I dont think enough was made of the secretive Sirraneon people. I did wonder if they were going to turn out to be a race of Ascendants themselves. It is a bit odd that Gorian's talent develops so far beyond the other three Ascendants and the emerging Ascendants were a bit of a waste of time.

That said, these are minor irritants in another worthy James Barclay book. His willingness to kill off major characters continues from the Raven books to here (but don't over-do it now James). The Ascendants series is well written and the world of Estorea is portrayed in magnificent detail. I do recommend the series and this book to those that like their Fantasy intelligently written and "believeable" but I preferred the Raven series.
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Whilst many would consider James as one of the authors to watch he is perhaps best known for his Raven series. But what makes this author different, is the fact that he really doesn't pull punches and is more than happy to slay characters left right and centre being a firm believer in the thinking that if there isn't a chance of walking out of a situation then they might as well go down fighting. Whilst the first novel of the series was something revolutionary for James this second offering lacked pace and to be honest just strolled along rather than running up to its full potential. The characters also could have been worked on and were more washy and bleached than full 3D characters that we have come to expect with the use of combat seeming to replace any errors within the writing which unfortunately came across as trying to distract the reader from trying to identify with the characters through the use of window dressing. Whilst some authors would have seen this as a cracking effort in this case I did feel let down and hope that James picks up for the third installment.
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on 9 January 2007
James Barclay's Shout for the Dead. This is the second part of his Ascendants duology. You need to read the first part really to understand this book fully. Set in the romanesque world of the Conquord with a strong religious base. The Ascendants, who have the ability to manipulate the elements and were born into the world in the first book, are still not fully accepted. One has gone rogue and is mustering an army of the Dead.

It is different from his Raven series, much less light hearted.

However it still has his hallmarks of good camaraderie between characters, a beautifully described magic system and a detailed world and systems of beliefs, law and structure. It has excellent legion battle scenes and characters to love and hate in equal quantities. He doesn't pull any punches when it comes to killing people off either. War is war and he takes casualties.

I loved it, it is as it says on the back, truly excellent heroic fa
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on 17 July 2013
The first book was excellent full of interesting characters and plot, this second book was very slow to get started and made you feel as though the author was trying to find a way to move forward, however once you get into the battle scenes thinks really start to happen and quickly, to an interesting finish
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on 23 July 2015
Great stuff. Took me time to get into the first book in the series but once I was in thjey both flowed really well. Great read.
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on 22 July 2014
Great story line. Too much description and quite repetitive throughout. Would make a great film. One I would definitely watch.
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