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on 7 January 2013
I've always been a big fan of Dan Abnett since reading First and Only from the Warhammer 40,000 Gaunt's Ghosts series when it was first published, and many of his other Warhammer 40,000 titles are amongst my favourite books. Whilst looking for something to read that wasn't set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, I stumbled across this gem thanks to a recommendation on Amazon, and being familiar with the author, got it straight away in paperback form.

The whole setting is just superb, like a cross between Blackadder II and the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. Magic, intrigue, swashbuckling and comedy all rolled into one. On my first read of the book I could hardly put it down, it's a real page-turner. I gave my copy away this Christmas, but when I got an Amazon gift voucher off someone else, I just had to grab the Kindle version so I still had it in my collection, and am now reading it for the second time.

Well worth a read!
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on 29 June 2015
It's basically Blackadder but with magic and less jokes .... can't think of anything else you'd need to know to be honest
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on 26 August 2013
A mate of mine started reading this and was enjoying it so much he kept telling us about it whenever we would meet. I figured I'd give it a try and now cannot wait for the next one!
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on 3 February 2017
I like silly adventure stories.

Don't get me wrong. I love books of depth and passion, like the work of Guy Gabriel Kay. I like books of intelligence and extraordinary ideas, like those of China Miéville. But sometimes I just want a fun romp.

And as fun romps go, Triumff - Her Majesty's Hero by Dan Abnett is nicely bonkers.

It's 2010. The Unity, an imperial combination of England and Spain, rules a large chunk of the world. Thanks to the influence of magic, much about society is the same is it was in the 16th century. The whole nation is still ruled by a Queen Elizabeth - Elizabeth XXX in this case.

Swashbuckling adventurer Sir Rupert Triumff has just returned from a voyage to Australia. Ethical concerns are holding him back from sharing details of his discovery with the world. But as he mulls over the problem, a conspiracy is at work. Soon Triumff will be caught in its tangled web.

As the Book Smugglers pointed out in their review, this is a book where plot trumps character. There are a lot of fun characters here, but none are explored in great depth. Triumff himself is a classic swashbuckling rogue. His opponents are megalomaniacal ciphers. The people he works with all stand out from each other but develop little depth.

On the other hand, it's a lot of fun. The setting is a bonkers mash-up of details from different periods and pop culture jokes. Things keep moving at a good pace, with just enough breathing room for the reader to take it in. This... well, it's fun.

If you're looking for a light, exciting adventure to relax with then this is a good choice. It's a setting that's distinct from anything else I've encountered, and for all their shallowness the characters are fun. There's some weird stuff going on with the narrative voice, which for me added to the playfulness of it all.

If you want a fun read, you could do far worse.
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on 8 March 2013
This deserves a 3.5 rating, as its a struggle at first, has alot of niggles but then ends up being a really good story that I'm glad I stuck with

This is not Dan Annetts normal fair, and to be honest the first chapter is a struggle to read through. Five to ten pages basically just describing that its raining alot, but in numerous different and imaginative ways of saying it over and over. Had I not been confined with just this book (Work stuff), I have no doubt I would have disgarded it there. I'm glad I didn't. This is a book that gets better the further into the book you go, although the first third of the book feels like an arduous chore. The latter part of the book becomes a riveting story, with characters you can "finally" get behind, and some decent action.

Dan also tries to include some Pratchet-esque humour, asides of humourous irrelevance and foot notations. However these didn't work for me. But then I didn't like the humour in some of Pratchets books (Wyrd sisters, Colour of Magic)yet know others who loved it. So for some it will suck for others it'll be a delicious addition to the book, it all depends on your personal sense of humour. However it does feel a tad too forced in places with a Dirty Harry character "do you feel opportune punk" and a police pathologist "de'quincy", and of course a james Bond nod with "kew". Clever nods at 70's TV or trite additions that make you groan? Also the numerous reverences to Elizabethan dress types in detailed descriptions was like reading a foreign language, and quite annoying as no point of reference was included to supply even a basic idea of what he was going on about.

There are a lot of little niggles in this book, that are emphasised in that opening third of the book, and some will wonder if its worth the perseverance to finish the book at all. IT IS!. Though the final show down felt underplayed it was still a good read. And I have no doubt that now this book has done the ardulous task of setting the period, the scene and the back ground irrelevances that there is a potentential for a growing series that will just get better and better.

Too summise the first third of this book is a struggle, but it ends up being a good read if you stick it out. This is certainly not his best work, but it has an eventual pay off for the reader and sets the foundation for a possible new Abnett series. [ however if mr Abnett reads this, more Malus darkblade please!!]
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 6 January 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The year is 2009, and Elizabeth is on the throne - Elizabeth XXX that is. For this is England with magic, a magic controlled by the church, which has no need for technology, and thus no Industrial Revolution. In this world Sir Richard Triumff has just discovered Australia - or Beach, as its non-magical, technologically advanced civilisation calls itself - and now he has to stop others from doing the same.

But while Triumff is distracted with his Ploy, plenty of others are willing to use him as a distraction to hide their own plots of treason. Within days it seems everyone in London is out to kill him. Luckily, Triumff has his trusty manservant, Agnew, his Beach friend, Uptil, and actress, Doll, to help him. But it might take a miracle to keep Triumff and the rest of London alive.

Abnett's setting is very clever, if a little inconsistent on what developed past the magic, and what didn't (30 queens, yet fashion is still the same...? And the Protestant Elizabeth I allied with Catholic Spain?). Rupert is a typical ne'er-do-well, drunken oaf with a remarkable skill with swords whenever he happens to need it, and a wonderful naval career. In other words everything lines up when it needs to, regardless of logic. (Yes, I know this is fantasy, but still...)

I'm also not a big fan of chunks of unnecessary information crow-barred in at random, especially in the middle of a dramatic scene. The first chapter is all waffle, proving the author can write about London in the rain. Nice and impressive, perhaps, but it dragged on and on. Bit like the plot, which felt laboured, with patchy pacing and some heavy-handed wit. Rupert bumbled about like an idiot, while everyone else saved the day. There are moments where this worked and worked well, but they didn't last.

There are far better fantasy books out there.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 October 2012
I bought this because I wanted some undemanding, inconsequential fluff for a long train journey, and that's exactly what I got. It's a light, entertaining read that's enjoyable while it lasts and almost totally forgettable when it's over. I can't give any piece of undemanding, inconsequential fluff more than three stars on principle, but the world needs undemanding, inconsequential fluff from time to time and Triummff does what I wanted it to do extremely well.

An unlikely blend of Blackadder, Discworld and Keith Roberts' Pavane, with more than a dash of old-school swashbuckling and an inventive scenario, Triumff is strongest when dealing with plot and action and weakest when trying to be funny. Most of the humour is in the earlier part of the book, so at least it gets better as it moves along. A lot of the puns (of which there are many - if you don't like puns, the book will annoy you intensely) and jokes are pretty good, but too many of them are rather laboured, and although they're written in what appears to be closely modelled on Pratchett's style, they lack the subtlety and understatement that makes Pratchett's gags so effective. Thankfully, the plot and action really get up and running just as the humour is feeling forced and threatening to become tiresome.

And plot and action are Abnett's strengths. Abnett is that rarest of creatures, a writer who can create clear action and fight scenes where it's actually possible to tell what's happening at all times. His plotting is tight and his pacing is excellently judged.

At the end, there are no loose ends, but enough unexplored issues to make a sequel seem inevitable (the fact the sequel's opening chapter is included here as an extra kind of gives the game away, come to think of it). Should another long train journey beckon, I'd certainly give it a go, though for more regular reading, I'd probably opt for something more substantial.
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on 25 April 2010
Triumff: Her Majesty's Hero takes place in a goofy alternate reality, in which the merged British & Spanish Empires rule the world. Magic has precluded any use of technology, Elizabethan culture still prevails and Shakespeare (or pornographic updates thereof) is still on stage.

The book stars Sir Rupert Triumff. Triumff returned from discovering Australia about a year ago, and is doing his best to avoid the attention of court (mostly by drinking himself senseless). Unfortunately, he can't keep Australia to himself - too many of the court factions need him to essentially 'sign back in' so that the official, Imperially-blessed looting can begin.

To add to Triumff's woes, he's also caught in the middle of a dastardly plot. Under the leadership of a necromantic Bishop, a group of disgruntled noblemen are making a bid for power. Triumff, much to his chagrin, is set up as their bait/victim/fall-guy/pawn. With the help of his friends and (often-unexpected) allies, Triumff has to save the Queen, Britain, Australia and the whole rest of the Empire.

This is all, incidentally, completely irrelevant to the book.

Triumff is actually about comic footnotes, slapstick humor, dirty jokes and bad puns. The plot, as outlined above, is essentially a vehicle that allows all the characters to run around like "Carry On" out-takes - fighting amongst themselves, mistaking identities, putting on outrageous accents, kicking in the privates and wearing silly outfits.

And, believe it or not, it works.

For one, Dan Abnett - previously known for cranking out Warhammer fiction - has a fairly impeccable sense of comedic timing. From the wry footnotes to the surreal Swiss-army-sword, malapropisms and apples-on-strings, the book had me chuckling from start to finish in a way that Terry Pratchett hasn't succeeded in doing for a decade. There's a lot of obvious humor here, but if Abnett should be ashamed of his puns (and he should), he should also be proud of their delivery.

Triumff is an unexpectedly adept contribution to the subgenre of humorous fantasy, one that should find more than a few fans. It is also, by far, the best I've read from this publisher. Whether or not Triumff is her Majesty's hero, he will certainly be Angry Robot's...
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VINE VOICEon 15 March 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I really liked Abnett's 'Eisenhorn' and 'Gaunt's Ghosts' books, and I really like Terry Pratchett. So this sounded perfect!

It's 2010, Britain rules (most of) the world, after discovering magick ages ago. The guardians of magick squashed technology, so now we rely on 'cantrips' at the 'Battersea powerdrome' to provide our electricity. So long as you don't take it seriously, this is all mighty fine fare. After all, I'm perfectly happy to read books that take place on a pancake that's on top of some elephants which are on top of a turtle.

Unfortunately, Abnett's writing style doesn't lend itself too much to comedy. Most of the jokes (excepting the consequences of his Swiss Army Rapier) just didn't have the bite of Pratchett. And by placing it in England, it had a bit of a 'Good Omens' twang to it, just not as funny.

Abnett failed to make me interested in the world, failed the make the characters particularly interesting and uncharacteristically failed to make the action great. I had to keep putting it down.

So I thought it's not as funny as Pratchett, the action isn't as good as Abnett's usual, and he fails to build up a particularly interesting world. Disappointed.
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VINE VOICEon 24 December 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
For those entering the world of Triumff expecting the frivolity and light reading of the Terry Pratchett novels it has been likened to you may find yourself in troubled waters. This tale of her Majesty's Hero does have some of the wit of the Pratchett novels but is far harder to immerse yourself in, namely because Triumff, the hero is something of an unlikeable fop and the tone of the novel makes it clear that the author wasn't sure himself if he wanted a comic satire, swashbuckling actioneer or impressive steampunk fantasy as it reaches for all three and at best limps along between the genres.

Although set in the contemporary world, the reader is immersed into what can best be described as an Alternate Tudor nation where a Queen Elizabeth of one description or another has always ruled, Britain has an Empire built on Armada-esque pirate fighting adventures rather than Queen Victoria's industrial age and the well dressed man about town still wears a ruff. Although I enjoy a good steam punk as much as anyone I have to confess I struggled with this novel largely because the world building is so slip shod and hard to believe that so little would change and there is little exploration of what a continuous Tudor reign would mean for England - what happens to the Celtic nations that never come under the yoke of Great Britain for instance?

Ultimately the fact that I put this down often and had to cajole myself to pick it up again means that I can't in all honesty recommend this for all readers as it lacks cross over appeal; perhaps die hard fans of Dan Abnett are more the target market.
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