- Hardcover: 528 pages
- Publisher: Del Rey (4 July 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0091949890
- ISBN-13: 978-0091949891
- Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 4.4 x 24 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 721,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Thousand Names: The Shadow Campaign (Shadow Campaign 1) Hardcover – 4 Jul 2013
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"The Coolest Fantasy Story You'll Read This Week" (i09)
"an excellent book" (SFX)
"A spectacular epic" (Fantasy Book Critic)
"Exceptional military fantasy" (Jason M. Hough National Bestselling author of The Darwin Elevator)
"Wexler’s polished military fantasy, first in the Shadow Campaign series, distinguishes itself from other epic doorstops with its unique setting, intricate plotting, and layered characters…This excellent series debut is for fans of Peter Brett, Daniel Abraham, and Joe Abercrombie." (Booklist)
A bold new direction for epic fantasy with muskets, demons and magic.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
There may well be a nifty term for these kind of books, not quite 'sword and sorcery' but more 'muskets and sorcery' but I can't immediately recall what it is - there's a comment in there somewhere about Napoleon's military expedition to Egypt being a major influence on the story line and I can see that quite easily. Essentially most of the main characters are soldiers, some of whom have been stationed in a desert country in support of a weak monarch but who now find themselves fighting a war on multiple sides against the people who want to overthrow him and also a group of religious fanatics.
I'm not a great fan of battle scenes so there were a few places where I skimmed my way through a dozen pages or so to get to the next part of the actual plot, with apologies to the author who probably worked hard on those. We discover quite early on that one of our main characters is actually a woman disguised as a man, only for another to turn up later on - one seems statistically possible (as we know it happened historically) but two within a smallish group of soldiers somewhat strains credibility. I guess if you're wanting to write historical fantasy but also want female characters who do something, it's a little too tempting to go down that road.
Anyway, overall plot-line: under the command of a new colonel, the soldiers find themselves pursuing artefacts of power deep into the desert.Read more ›
The beginning of the book I found a bit of a slog to read; info-dumps, awkward names and the lack of any movement didn't convince me early on that this was something I'd want to continue reading.
Once the plot gets moving though, the main strength of the book comes to the fore: its characters. The two POV focus-points, Marcus and Winter, are given backgrounds, real personality and are the kinds that make understandable decisions as the plot progresses: they're likeable, and really helped turn large parts of the book into compelling reading for me that otherwise wouldn't have been.
The plot itself isn't particularly interesting, the Arabia-esque desert style setting works fine, but most of the book simply follows an army from engagement-to-engagement. Action set-pieces a-plenty are fine, though verging on getting a little tired toward the latter half, but do serve effectively to broaden out the POV characters and the interesting set of secondary characters, particularly the mercurial Colonel Vhalnich.
The final stages of the book introduce a magic system. Subtly hinted at earlier in various chapters, its final revelation isn't exactly spectacular – the religious overtones not helping one bit – but was effective enough, despite a tame "boss-battle", that I'd be interested in finding out the next part in the stories of Winter, Janus and the captain.
I'm not exactly running to The Shadow Throne (the follow-up novel), but I'll get to it at some point.
I’ve come to find –recently in particular- that I am a great fan of military fantasy, which I think The Thousand Names should certainly be classed as. The fact as well that it challenges the traditional ‘sword and shield’ fantasy trope, made the read a voyage of discovery for me.
I engaged with the plot quickly, enjoying the fact that ‘magic’ was considered mysterious by the protagonists and was therefore side-lined to a certain extent. While the twists were a little predictable in places (at the risk of spoilers, one of the characters not being what (s)he seemed), the ingenuity displayed by the protagonists in various of the tight spots they found themselves in was incredibly entertaining.
Overall I found the book very entertaining, in large part for its focus on the military and campaigning aspects. The way the sequel was set up in the last chapter makes me wonder whether or not I will enjoy it to the same extent. On the strength of The Thousand Names however, I am certainly willing to give it more than a chance.
As with Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen, the scope is huge, the cast massive (with something for everyone) and when added to pace alongside prose that will more than keep you glued all round makes this something pretty unique. Throw into the mix that this debut is massively impressive alongside the twists and turns within really is giving people the chance to get in on the ground level so early on. With luck, Django will continue to work on the success of this, learn lessons from some of the problems within and won't be struck down with the infamous book two curse.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Solid fantasy, similar in nature to parts of the powder mage trilogy but more detailed and less magic. Highly recommendPublished 4 months ago by James Shepherd
Strong, intelligent plot, great characterisation and strong females to balance the storyline. Excellent writing style keeps the book intense even while the author establishes the... Read morePublished 9 months ago by the game (spy lords)
Suffice to say I immediately ordered the other books from the Shadow Campaigns series after finishing this one. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Donnar
This series has the potential to be incredible. Potential is the key word here because whilst there were many fantastic elements in this book, there were some major problems. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Hugh
Bought on Kindle on a whim. Engaging and magical (literally and figuratively!) . Great plot, unexpected twists and thoroughly entertaining characters. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Kim Otton
Book is amazing full of action and mystery. Could not stop Reading itPublished 18 months ago by Bartek
Marcus and Winter are the two main protagonists and Wexler has nicely balanced the narration between the two. I thoroughly enjoyed this tale. Read morePublished 20 months ago by sjhigbee