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on 21 December 2000
I should point out to potential readers of this book that it is not an examination of the human condition. It is the most thunderingly exciting fantasy novel you'll read in a very long time. The Swiss reviewer below has missed the point completely. I ask you, do you watch James Bond for insights into his feminine side? Didn't think so. So don't read action fantasy and look for the emotional complexities of barbarian warriors. Dawnthief may be rough around the edges but it's hard to beat as entertainment. The characters are tough and uncompromising and the story, while it won't win prizes for originality, is told with real style. It's a terrific first book. Don't worry about the Swiss, Mr Barclay, in good old blighty, you're tops.
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on 27 December 2012
Recommended this series of books by fans of David Gemmell. Really glad I took that advice. Great story, strong characters, great plot and several books in the series. Couldn't ask for more. Enjoy.
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on 12 March 2004
The Raven are a band of 7 mercenaries who have been together for 10 years. Led by Hirad, they get very well paid for what they do best; namely killing, maiming and drinking.
But Balaia is in trouble. The Wytch Lords have escaped from their magic generated prison cells and with the help of the Shaman and the Wesmen threaten to overrun Balaia. And very nearly succeed.
Tricked by Denser, a talented mage from Xetesk College, the Raven are put in the near impossible position of having to help Denser recover the knowledge and objects of Dawnthief, a three hundred year old spell that represents the only way to destroy the Wytch Lords. But in the casting may also destroy Balaia.
James Barclay manages to cast his own spell with this book. The beginning likens to the initial pull to the top on a roller coaster ride. A light, uneventful read where the reader can (and probably will) wonder if they turned the oven off before leaving the house. Then all of a sudden the car goes over the top and this book takes off. And just like you cannot get out of the car until the ride has finished, you will not be able to put this book down until the ride has finished. And as Dawnthief is the first of three books in The Chronicles of The Raven, you are in for a bloody long ride!
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on 9 December 2000
Apparently there are a lot of reviewers who compare this to a D&D game and comment favourably. I think this says more about D&D games than this book. I am not sure this is a book. Whenever a character has been built up enough to be recognisable (sort of) he gets killed. There is no real story line and no continuity. The only consistent element seems to be needless self sacrificial dying. Waste of time reading this.
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on 15 October 2014
No issues, a great book.
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on 6 December 2000
It was probably a good idea to have number of parallel storylines unfolding at a same time, but for me they hacked the the story and made it difficult to follow. Main characters are excellent, but because of those parallel "bits" I stuggled to remeber who was who (except The Raven - they are great) and more importantly what they looked like. Number of times I got so irritated that had to stop reading for few days. But .... Half way through the book it got SO exciting that I couldn't put it down and had to read through the night (8 hours in row!) until I couln't keep my eyes open any longer. So, all in all, not bad for a first book! Not bad at all. Can't wait to read the next one, and the next one, and the next one.
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on 29 April 2010
I was quite disappointed about this title.

I saw a review in a literary magazine and then I read the ones online, all praises for it. I really looked forward to read it!

I generally like every kind of fantasy, but I personally found 'Dawnthief' fragmented, the temporary line not clear and everything happens a little bit too logical, and I probably couldn't get over the fact that in the first 30 pages 3 of the Raven died. Why do you keep putting in the blurb that they are 7 strong warriors if at the end they are not so many? Moreover, I found the antefacts a little bit weak and not well explained, Yes, the Raven were an exceptional bunch of people, linked together by a strong friendship, but I found also that a little bit forced, as if it was the explanation for everything...

In conclusion, the book didn't hold my attention at all. Easy reading anyway.
Glad that other people liked it, I don't think I will try the second one in the series.
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on 18 August 2000
this was the first book by this author, and yes it was a good book with lots of characters that you could relate to, But unfortunately it all seemed to drag on and on without gripping me not even when i only had 50 pages left to read. ive read lots of other fantasy authors including robert jordan, terry goodkind,jane welch and maggie furey(whom is quoted to have said "this is the best new fantasy i've read in years") and im afraid that this book didnt match anything ive read before . When the next book is released i'll have to think hard before i consider trying it.
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on 3 December 2014
Great book. Thanks
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on 7 February 2008
I read a lot, a large part of may day is apent waiting for work so I fill my time with reading, papers novels whatever. The important thing for me is that a book hold my interest. My main interests are sci fi and fantasy so it stands to reason that I would give a book like this a go. I first read it shortly after its release because of a review in SFX magazine, the gave a fairly solid review three stars I think. I didnt expect to find anything on par with magician or Dune but I enjoyed it none the less, and I gave it a three star review myself. Now some years on I have read the whole Raven saga and have started reading them again. This is about the fourth time I have read dawntheif, more than I do many books. for example I have read the wheel of time books three or four times, the same with the riftwar books and the many sequels. However the like of Tad williams I have only managed to read through the once, great though his books are they are hard going. SO what does this say about dawnthief? it is easy to read and can be fairly undemanding, however the characters are what set it apart from the average fantasy, the raven are almost a superhero team bigger than life. however that doesn't make them shallow. Blockbuster entertainment.
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