Ringil, the hero of the bloody slaughter at Gallows Gap, is a legend to all who don't know him and a twisted degenerate to those that do. A veteran of the wars against the lizards, he makes a living from telling credulous travellers of his exploits. Until one day he is pulled away from his life and into the depths of the Empire's slave trade. There, he will discover a secret infinitely more frightening than the trade in lives.
Archeth - pragmatist, cynic and engineer, the last of her race - is called from her work at the whim of the most powerful man in the Empire and sent to its farthest reaches to investigate a demonic incursion against the Empire's borders.
Egar Dragonbane, steppe-nomad and one-time fighter for the Empire, finds himself entangled in a small-town battle between common sense and religious fervour. But out in the wider world, there is something on the move far more alien than any of his tribe's petty gods.
Anti-social, anti-heroic, and decidedly irritated, all three of them are about to be sent unwillingly forth into a vicious, vigorous, and thoroughly unsuspecting fantasy world.
©2009 Richard Morgan (P)2011 Orion Publishing Group Limited
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By B on 12-01-13

Up there with Hoffman, Lynch and Rothfuss,

I loved this book, it has the same edgy feel that Name of the Wind, Left hand of God and the Gentleman Bastard books have. It could have been sharper and allowed the reader more use of their imagination by restricting the long descriptions he is so fond of. With that said im going to start into his next book immediately. One of the few new Sci Fantasy authors that entertain without harking back to Tolkien. As one of the main characters is gay, this book is definitely not for the homophobic. it was good to see something different tried in this genre. hope the next one is as good if not better.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 13-04-13

Entertaining story, fantastic narration,

Ringil Eskiath, wielder of The Raven’s Friend. Ask a half-dozen people to describe him and you'll get ten answers. Noble by birth; warrior by training; hero by accident; legend despite himself; perverted, degenerate, twisted abomination to many of his countrymen; outcaste and viciously proud of it; drunkard, because of all of the above. Every bit of it true, depending on who you ask. All HE asked was to be left alone. He’d done his bit. He’d saved his people... and then been rejected by them once the cheering died down. When his mother came to him for help, all of his instincts told him to run. He certainly didn’t want to go off on some stupid search for a missing cousin, sold into slavery and abandoned by her immediate family, simply because his mother felt guilty about it. He would have been even more vehement in his refusal if he had known exactly where the search would take him. But mothers always know what levers will move their recalcitrant children. And so begin his first steps into a world where myths and gods of ages past walk the streets.

I believe this is Richard Margan's first foray into fantasy and it is an excellent debut into the genre. I've read his SF for years, though I lean towards fantasy. Simon Vance's narration is perfect. There are a handful of audiobook narrators that can almost make me ignore the author & genre simply for the pleasure of listening to his narration. I lost hours listening to this and I suspect that reading the book would be one of those times when I start reading in the evening and realise that the sun is coming up just as I finish it. The sequel, The Cold Commands, is calling to me now.

So, to sum up... An entertaining story with excellent narration that kept drawing me into another world

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Kevin on 06-04-11

An enjoyable read, but not for the delicate

I have long been a fan of Richard Morgan. Altered Carbon, Broken Angels etc, excellent reads. Morgan has never been afraid to add gritty realism to his characters and stories, often displaying a dirty underside which adds spice and life to his creations. The Steel Remains is not cyber punk, it is set as a more traditional style fantasy world. His writing is as enjoyable as ever, and as ever he doesn't shy away from violence or sex if he feels it is called for in the narrative. In this particular novel, one of the main protagonists engages in several graphically represented same sex acts. This is isn't simply shock value, the sexual orientation of the character impacts very directly on the plot and motives.

However it may gall me, I do think some readers should be warned about the graphic homosexuality in the novel, as many of the fans of the fantasy genre (I was going to say hard core fantasy but decided against it) may not expect to find content of this nature.

That being said, please do not get the impression that the novel is rife with sex. It is an excellent read/listen, well written, great story and great narration. I recommend it to any mature fans of gritty fantasy writing. Any Joe Abercrombie fans should also enjoy this novel.

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 14-11-12

Good story, performance so-and-so

What did you like best about this story?

The plot is ok, pretty good gritty fantasy. It soon turns out to be a real page-turner. The world is well-built and original, with elements of science fiction. Characters are good, even if this novel feels like it is mainly setting the stage for what is to come.

What aspect of Simon Vance’s performance would you have changed?

At first, I was impressed by his performance. He has a good voice and it is always clear who is speaking. However, he does this by assigning any number of accents to the characters (except the two male protagonists, who - despite coming from very different backgrounds - get to speak without accent). He also portraits women by speaking in falsetto, which is not only demeaning, but also quite tiresome.
These mannerisms are bad in themselves, but they are even worse in this setting, where the female protagonist is tough as nails, but consistently performed as speaking in falsetto, with a rather forced accent. Also, this manner makes it clear who the performer considers to be foreign.
After a while I got so irritated that I bought the book and read the last third.

Any additional comments?

I have already started reading (not listening to) the next part (The Cold Commands). This far, it seems even better.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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