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on 12 September 2011
What can i say this book is one of a triology the whole series is fantastic, great story, lots of page turning action first rate read.
Book was delivered very timeously could'nt put it down xxx
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on 19 July 2017
every bit as good as book 1
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on 14 July 2013
I love epic fantasy novels and this trilogy is an excellent read, half way through book 3 at moment and cant put it down.
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on 24 May 2016
Currently reading and as excellent as I expected.
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on 10 February 2015
The Godless World is changing; the events of "Winterbirth" have left their scars and the Black Road is growing ever stronger. Many of the True Bloods are in mourning for their lost friends and relatives, but the battle isn't even nearly over. Encouraged by previous successes, the Black Road are pushing for further gains and they are being assisted by the rogue na'kyrim, Aeglyss, who is growing in power since being left to die on the Breaking Stone by the White Owls.

This isn't entirely welcomed, even amongst the Black Road, as many of them see Aeglyss as a half-breed and not a true follower of their creed. Whilst Aeglyss has the power to turn many of them to his way of thinking, others are not so deeply under his power and so there is discord. The same is true of the True Bloods, as whilst Aewult is the commander, as befits his position of the Bloodheir to the Thane of Thanes, the head of the most important of the True Blood families, his position seems to have gone to his head and he is not popular with many of the other Thanes.

Meanwhile, assisted by some of the na'kyrim friendly to their cause, Thane Orisian has taken some of his men in an attempt to capture K'rina, who is very important to Aeglyss, in an attempt to lessen his influence. At the same time, Aeglyss has come to the attention of the Anain, who are amongst the original beings created when the Gods were still in the world and are supposedly the most powerful beings in existence. It seems that there are to be two battles to be had; one physical battle between the two armies and a battle of power and influence between a powerful being and a powerful race.

There is an awful lot going on within the novel and it frequently proves difficult to keep everything separate. Many of the people on both sides are human and are descendents from the same ancestors many centuries ago, so there are a lot of similarities between the two sides and I was occasionally unsure of which side of the battle I was following at any given time. In addition, on either side, many of the family names were quite similar, particularly on the True Blood side and I got a little mixed up between some of the characters on that side as well, especially early on in the story.

Once I started to get a little more into things, however, this became less of an issue. As events progress, Ruckley spends more time following the major characters and switches between them a lot less, meaning you get to fully explore the personalities of each of them and they become a lot more distinct. From this point, I found it a lot easier to become involved in their struggles, as you could follow a personality, rather than a nameless and faceless army.

The beauty of Ruckley's writing is in how well he draws his characters. Unlike in many such novels, there is no clear line between good and bad. There are heroes and villains on both sides and the fact that the leaders on both sides are despised by many in their own armies blurs this line further. No character is without their flaws and even the ones who seem about to be cast as the hero often fail to live up to your expectations.

This is the other aspect of "Bloodheir" I most enjoyed; you can never guess what might happen next. Just when you think you have come to know a character, the focus switches elsewhere and by the time you return to this character, events have caused them to act in a way you might not have expected. The good characters become more hard hearted and world weary and the impulsive and blood thirsty develop caution and restraint. Whilst this meant that there was no-one you could really cheer on, the psychology of Ruckley's characters was spot on and this was by far the most realistic drawing of fantasy characters I remember reading in some time.

This, for me, was the saving grace of the novel, as I did find that the story was quite slow paced. As is common with the middle book in a trilogy, the main focus here did seem to be about moving characters into position for future events. Whilst there was a lot of jostling for position on both sides and there were a few battles later on in the story, I did find things a little slowly paced and tough to get involved in for much of the book. Had Ruckley's characters not been as strong as they were, it would have been a real struggle for me to read, but he has managed to keep me interested all the way through and by the end, the intrigue in the plans that the Black Road in particular were hatching made me long to know what was next.

I have often decried books for having a great storyline, but not having believable characters. Ruckley has provided the opposite, with a slow paced story being acted out by characters that had all the flaws of the people you meet every day. Whilst this made for a slower paced and tougher read, in the end I find that I preferred Ruckley's way of doing things and finding out whether or not you prefer it as well is no great risk. This is a story that seems to get better as it goes and, given how captivated I was by the end, events yet to come promise to be incredible.

This review may also appear, in whole or in part, under my name at any or all of www.ciao.co.uk, www.thebookbag.co.uk, www.goodreads.com, www.amazon.co.uk and www.dooyoo.co.uk
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on 9 December 2012
Book two of the Godless World is crafted with passion, vehemence and blood which seeps through the pages with such potency as to bring the intense drama to life. It is a world of ice, a place that is bleak and so harsh that you feel physically frozen to the spot and which makes the hairs on your arms stand on end. Full of electric tension, bloodthirsty and very realistic, graphic (although not sickening) battle scenes the writing really does bring the author's vision to life - literally before your very eyes!

Continuing the compelling and dramatic saga you are plunged into a changed world, where the land has fallen from its former state and with the Great War between the two mighty clans of the black road & the true bloods has now spread further. Thane Orisian, of Lannis Blood has no time to greave for his great loss as the invading armies who brutally and mercilessly slaughtered his family, have now all but gone. As more blood is shed upon this tainted soil he comes to realize the significance of stopping the Black Road and how imperative his mission is, for it to succeed would not only be in his own interests but those of the free people of this arctic world. Each side of this unending and highly charged conflict is driven to into a dramatic frenzy by deeply ingrained feelings of internal dissent and disunity, as the divide between races expands with every passing year...Meanwhile the long dormant Anain begin to stir, and as the most potent race of this world makes its re-appearance once again and emerges into the forefront, one begins to wonder if the bloodletting and never-ending war will end.

Brian Ruckley gives this epic saga breath and his characters such strong emotions of hatred, revenge and determination as to even challenge the might of the `War of the Roses' or `the Templar Knights'. Bloodheir is the stunning sequel to Winterbirth (which has to be the greatest heroic fantasy novel I have EVER encountered), and similarly it blows you away with such authenticity, dramatic twists & turns as to freeze your inner soul so that you become indifferent to all other works within this genre - for a moment in time that I will re-live time and time again! The intriguing and imaginative story is so distinctive that you cannot compare it to any other work nor the writing style to any other author, for Brian Ruckley is so unique and a true master of his craft. Complete with detailed maps of the lands of Kilkry-Haig blood, the Glas valley and surrounds and the Haig bloods this really is a book that contains such depth and fantastic world-building that is unmatched.

The striking blood red cover complete with a fearsome Thane rider is just so eye-catching, hence this really is a book to treasure and one that stands out on the bookshelf as not only something atypical and different, but which puts the `epic' back into `epic fantasy'.

I give this trilogy a 4 ½ stars for the reason that it is extremely descriptive and so the `wordy-ness' is quite lengthy at times.
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on 18 April 2009
Bloodheir is Brian Ruckley's second volume in the Godless world trilogy and it takes off where the first book left. The story centres around Orisian oc Lannis-Haig, now thane of the ruined Lannis Blood Clan, who have been brutally slain by the invading Black Road Armies.

This book is very very good, the writing is much tighter, the characters are fleshed out more...my favourite being Taim Narran and Mordyn Jerain. The grim setting gives this book an air of realism, the battle scenes towards the end of the story are well written and pull you further into the story.

You begin to see the story and the world created open up more, and I was fascinated by the different cultures...some influence from Scottish Highland Clans and (David Gemmell's Rigante series) one reviewer already mentioned this and I have to agree...I was just swept away.

Towards the end of the book you get the feeling that no character good or bad is safe...and I especially liked Mordyn Jerain...I just wished he had a bigger part in this book.

As ever Ruckley leaves the ending on a cliff-hanger, at least I don't have to wait too long to find out what happens.
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on 11 November 2008
Like in the last book, Ruckley manages to finish this one with yet another totally shameless cliff-hanger-style ending. And that is cliff-hanger in the good way, not the bloody awful Sly movie.
That, however, is also pretty much the only bad thing about this book. Ruckley has managed to write yet another great book in his new series (I know it says trilogy on the cover, but you can always hope I guess).
The promise of Winterbirth has been fulfilled, and perhaps even exceeded, in Bloodheir. The characters continue their development and the story grows ever more intense. I'm not entirely sure how Ruckley manages to do it, but whenever our heroes are about to begin the inevitable (or is it?) march to the final triumph of good over the forces of evil, the baddies manage to win another victory and the nastiness gets even nastier. Never mind that the baddies don't exactly get along, the good guys aren't all that good at it either. Nor are they necessarily all that good, by the way.
The plot twists along the way ensure that you can never really expect anything in this book.
A word of advice though, read Winterbirth first!
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on 14 September 2009

I'll keep this short and sweet...

I admire the style of this writer, as he provides a lot of atmosphere that is lacking in some of the fantasy that I've read. The two first books have a very 'dark' style and make you wonder how a 'happy' ending will be possible, if at all!!!

That's why I've just ordered the last book! Can't wait to read it!
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VINE VOICEon 6 September 2008
Following from Winterbirth, and the na'kyrim Aeglyss' recovery from his crucifixion on a sacred Kyrinin stone, the disturbance in the Shared is now so large that even we plebbish humans (called the Huanin) can sense it, and, though this could be taken out of context, Ruckley really manages to create an air of inevitable death and destruction. Bloodheir, albeit definitely not the calm, is certainly awaiting the storm. As it becomes clear just how strong Aeglyss is in the Shared now, and with the squabbling and back-stabbing that is rife amongst his enemies, I finished Bloodheir thinking, for the first time in a while, I can't see how the bad guy can lose. This is, of course, how I'm meant to feel, but the danger is now, that with the Godless World series' gritty bent, and magic still largely in the background, short of deus ex machina, which I'm certain Ruckley won't stoop to, I'll be shocked at any other outcome. Excellently done. The only one powerful enough to harm Aeglyss is himself ... but enough of that.

Ruckley introduced a small, but interesting, group of non-human races in Winterbirth. Although, as the blurb says, the Anain are in this book, we see them from accounts of other people, rather than as actual characters which is a shame. In Bloodheir, though, we do learn more about them (whether from the Robin Hobb style entries at the beginning of every chapter or from Aeglyss) and, although they seem to be doing rather badly at restraining the mad na'kyrim, it will be interesting to see whether "the most potent race this world's ever seen" have anything else up their (probably metaphorical) sleeves. The Kyrinin, especially Ess'yr and Varryn, play a part in Bloodheir, but I was a bit disappointed that their characters weren't fleshed out more.

Bloodheir. The strange thing is, I'm not sure just which one that refers to. I suspect it's Orisian, who does a lot of travelling around in Bloodheir, but the High Thane's brutish son, Aewult, gets more page time, too.

After a slow start, Bloodheir quickly picked up speed, and a lot of different threads are starting to move together; it does suffer from some of the problems of a "middle book", and every character seems to be travelling somewhere (this is a world at war), but, nonetheless, Bloodheir is a good read, and Ruckley has definitely built upon the success of Winterbirth to produce a worthy sequel. Best scene? Five words: Highfast; Aeglyss; long distance possession.

There isn't one in the ARC, but I gather there is also going to be an extract from the concluding volume of the trilogy at the back of the book. There's also a rather useful "What Has Gone Before" section at the beginning! And damn those Orbit lying types: the book wasn't written in blood, at all...
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